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, Sılanur Şahin, a fourth-year Law 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?
First of all, even though the first year involves the mental burden of getting adapted to university life, the exam system, etc., I have to say that overall it’s the easiest because the lectures are introductory at the 101 level. So, you’d better enjoy every opportunity that Bilkent offers. From seminars with the top people in their fields, to the trips and outings, there’s a wide range of activities for every taste and interest.
Also, I would recommend joining several student clubs. Over time, you’ll probably drop some of them, but you’ll still be able to remain active in at least one if you like.
Last but not least, I have to say that the first year, and especially the first semester, is the most fragile period academically. Students struggle to get used to the style of the exams, and the demands of the university on a student may seem complicated at first. My advice is to never give up and never think that it’s done and you can’t ever fix it. When you first come from high school, where the system of education is totally different from what you find at university, it’s absolutely natural for you to get low grades until you learn what’s required in the new system. So don’t panic, and don’t be frustrated. Just keep on trying to understand what’s what, and in a couple of months, everything will have settled down and you’ll see that you’ve coped with this!
Q.What’s something students should keep in mind throughout their time at Bilkent?
Always keep in mind that nothing is the end of the world. First try your best, and if that doesn’t work, then it was never meant to be. And I’m saying this not only in regard to academic issues; I had to put this motto into practice all the time here, in areas from personal relations to school activities.
Q. Any tips or tricks to surviving life at Bilkent?
When you feel the most oppressed, just take a walk to the Spring Fest area (especially at night), and take a deep breath! It will really help. (This is well-tried and tested!)
Q. One word about your experience at Bilkent so far?