Ben: 3 things I learned in my first year at university

Ben Yong - 3 things I learned in my first year of University
Ben studies a Bachelor of Business (Management and Leadership) at USQ. He’s passionate about community and leadership and is working hard toward becoming a leader of the future.

After coming straight to university as a freshly graduated high school student, life definitely changed a lot for me in my first year of uni. After some thought, I can say it’s mostly for the better because let’s face it, who doesn’t love lying in bed at home watching Netflix all day?!

Just kidding. In all seriousness, my life changed quite a bit and I’ve learnt so much about myself since starting university.

Looking back, here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt along the way (and wish I’d known beforehand!):

1. University is harder than school 

Now I know I may be disregarding that crazy student who is actually on top of everything (there’s always one…), but for all the normal students out there procrastinating an assignment that is due tomorrow and you still haven’t started, this one’s for you!

University is harder than school because everything is self-directed. If you’re anything like me and you live by the saying ‘due tomorrow, do tomorrow’, self-directed learning can actually be quite dangerous. In school, whether you liked it or not, you were forced to listen to your teacher lecture about various topics and almost subconsciously, you absorbed the information. However, at university you can decide not to attend a lecture one day. But if you’re not careful, that one day can turn into weeks, then into months and before you know it, somehow you ended up going a whole semester having learned nothing.

My tip for successful self-directed learning is to create and manage your study space.

2. You need a designated study space

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the comfort of my own home, in my warm bed surrounded by soft pillows and blankets, I’m sorry but there is no productivity coming out of me. Yet another reason to yourself into gear and actually go to classes!

A good study space is an essential for online or external students, but it’s just as important for those who study on-campus. You’ll have plenty of work to do after lectures and tutorials, so create a space that’s just for study. Keep Netflix, social media scrolling, TV, gaming and anything else fun away from this area. It’s your study zone. Your serious space. Your go-there-to-get-it-done space. You’ll spend a lot of time there!

3. Have a strong support network 

I know you hear this all the time, but surrounding yourself with people who want to see you learn, grow and succeed is probably one of the biggest advantages you can have as a uni student.

The people you surround yourself with you become, so if you’re not surrounded by people who are there to support you, let me tell you now, you’re not going anywhere. I am so blessed to have a strong support network who genuinely love and care for me. If you think you don’t have anybody, your Student Relationship Officer is more than willing to help with pretty much anything uni related. I seriously cannot stress this lesson enough, HAVE A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK.

Academically, you’ll learn heaps in your first year, but I was surprised by just how many personal lessons I picked up too. I think the key to nailing your first year is having an idea of what to expect and being as prepared as possible.

There might be highs and lows as you adjust to being a student, but if you can learn to direct your own study, designate a workspace for yourself and build a strong support network, you’ll have everything you need to ride that first year rollercoaster!


Kim: A letter to first year students from a recent graduate

Zac: My advice for transitioning from high school to uni

The first year rollercoaster