BY YAREN SAĞLIK (TRIN/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, Yaren Koca, a fourth-year Psychology student, has some words of wisdom for this year’s freshmen.
Q. What advice would you give freshmen about the Bilkent experience?
You might be scared at first with all the classes and a whole new environment academically, since it’s very different from high school. But it will all be fine and you’ll get used to it. If you aren’t satisfied with your GPA the first couple of semesters, don’t let it get you down; as you get used to the classes and the general concept of what’s going on with your department, studying will become a lot easier and you’ll see your grades go up over time. However, keep in mind that Bilkent is a tough school and you’ll need to study hard, but you’ll enjoy that a lot. Also, I would recommend that you participate in extracurricular activities if you can – not just socially but academically as well. Often your academic experience will be more valuable than your GPA; this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your GPA at all, but it’s not the most important thing all the time.
Q. What’s something students should keep in mind throughout their time at Bilkent?
Time passes really fast; I can remember my first year like it was yesterday. These have been the best years of my life, and most probably will be the best of yours too, so make the most of them. Although the schoolwork will be a struggle, don’t neglect your personal life: enjoy your time on the campus (it’s really pretty every season of the year!) both with your friends and by yourself. Also, one of the best opportunities that Bilkent provides is the ability to take courses from various departments and the curricula filled with electives, so try to take classes from other departments to broaden your perspective.
Q. Any tips or tricks to surviving life at Bilkent?
Try to attend classes, because I think it’s the most efficient way to learn: those 50 minutes you miss may turn into hours of studying really hard right before midterms. Don’t get caught up in an effort to get straight A’s, but rather focus on learning – which will eventually improve your grades anyway. Also, it’s okay to get your mind off schoolwork sometimes, so try to participate in activities, join student clubs, go to the gym, socialize and do whatever you’re interested in besides school. It will help you get rested and refreshed, so you won’t be exhausted when your schedule starts filling up with all the exams and assignments.
Q. One word about your experience at Bilkent so far?