BY DANIYAL ADMANY (CTIS/II)
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, Flora Mammadova, a fourth-year Chemistry student, gives advice as to how this year’s freshmen can make their university lives a bit easier and less complicated.
Q. What advice would you give freshmen about the Bilkent experience?
Most people think that newcomers are lucky, because they have easy courses, or because they’re filled with excitement about being at university, etc. But in my opinion, being a freshman isn’t all that easy, since most freshmen have no idea about the courses they’re going to be taking – their difficulty level, the instructors’ teaching methods, and so on. My first advice would be, “Learn about your department.” Being familiar with the curriculum and therefore the prerequisite courses and elective course options can be a lifesaver. In addition, I would recommend getting to know everyone in the department, especially second- and third-year students who can give advice about what’s required in a course to get your targeted grade, the instructor’s expectations, and so on. This will definitely help new students survive and continue their academic life successfully.
Q. What’s something one should keep in mind throughout their time at Bilkent?
“Be social, but don’t forget assignment deadlines, and remember that midterms are coming up.” This sentence should be kept in mind for the entire year. We’re lucky, because Bilkent gives us plenty of chances to socialize, have fun, find new hobbies and discover new and interesting activities. Yet at the same time, doing all these kinds of things might cause problematic situations, like missing the deadline of an assignment that makes up, say, five percent of the total grade for the course (this might not look like much, but it’s a lot, believe me). So, to come to the point, I would advise freshmen to take their bachelor’s degree seriously and to remember that studying is the main reason that they’re here. Other activities are also vital to being a well-rounded student, but don’t put them at center of your life.
Q. Any tips or tricks to surviving life at Bilkent?
With regard to the academic side of things, the Bilkent Library has many types of sources – books, CDs, DVDs, and also online sources – that are available for everyone to use. I highly recommend that freshmen go and check them out. Also, seminars and lectures given by instructors from other universities allow you to expand your horizons concerning your field. Of course there will be times when you’re tired, and for those times, Bilkent provides students with many ways to relax and renew their energy. For example, the Sports Center offers a great variety of sports to participate in, facilities for working out and some interesting dance classes. In addition, there are a large number of student clubs at Bilkent that freshmen can revel in. The university also has scheduled buses that go different areas of the city to make life easier. And for international students, Bilkent International House arranges one- or two-day trips to popular destinations in Turkey, allowing them to learn about the traditions, and most importantly the tasty foods, of different provinces.
Q. One word about your experience at Bilkent so far?