A Word From the Wise: Seniors’ Advice to Freshmen

09 April 2018 Comments Off on A Word From the Wise: Seniors’ Advice to Freshmen


For most of us, a new role in life presents a variety of challenges and some surprises, too. Advice from someone who’s already been there can help get us through the rough spots. In the case of university students, who better than seniors to offer the benefit of their experience?

This week, Ş. Furkan Öztürk, a fourth-year Physics student, gives advice as to how this year’s freshmen can make their university lives a bit easier and less complicated.

During my undergraduate years, I have learned how to study effectively and manage my time, which has brought me success. Bilkent has a difficult curriculum and expects a lot from you in different ways. You have to take quizzes and midterms, write research papers and make presentations. To handle all of these tasks on time, you have to start studying from the very beginning of the semester, as the workload piles up quickly. You should also attend your classes regularly and take notes. In this way, you will be able keep up with your classwork. In addition, I recommend that you meet with your instructors during their office hours even if you don’t have a specific question. These slots are reserved for you and enable you to acquire knowledge directly from your instructor, which is a very fast and effective way to learn.  Moreover, try to go to the library and skim through books (besides your textbooks) related to your classwork. This will expand your knowledge and expose you to other approaches.

Also, start working on your graduate school applications as early as possible – before your senior year if you can – so you will have time to compensate for any mistakes you might make. Most importantly, take your classes and your work seriously! Don’t simply try to assemble bits and pieces just before the deadline. Interrogate, ask questions, make mistakes, redo, and try to understand and learn. This comprehension, rather than the finished assignments per se, is what will remain with you forever. Bilkent can sometimes be wearying. You will face challenging situations and will fail. However, be resilient and try to learn from your failures. Remember that each failure is a unique chance for you to improve yourself. On the other hand, don’t forget to participate in social activities, play an instrument if you wish, and exercise. Exercising releases stress, increases motivation and refreshes your mind. Try to keep yourself motivated whatever the circumstances are. Motivation is the fuel for patience, which makes possible hard work and eventually success. I wish you all a wonderful undergraduate life.