Moving away from our friends, family and homes, we enter a new and exciting phase in our lives: university! Everyone told me it would be the “best years of my life”, which I don’t deny, but no one told me what to expect. So far, I’ve had the most amazing 2 years, but there are a few tips I’d give my freshman self.
- Its okay to be homesick. Everyone gets home sick, and the more time you get to settle in and make friends, the more comfortable you’ll get with your independent life.
- Call your friends and family more often. I was good at this, but I still wish I kept in touch with more of my family members on a regular basis.
- Don’t take your home cooked meals for granted. At home, I never had to cook my own meals and it was honestly a challenge coming to university and figuring out how to feed myself 5 times a day, because I eat a lot.
- There’s a whole world off campus. Don’t just spend all your free time on campus since there’s so much to explore in the Netherlands and even Rotterdam itself.
- Don’t be shy. Go up and talk to random people; it’s not weird. Everyone is in the same position as you and is looking to make friends.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to act like someone you’re not to fit in. You’ll find friends who love you for who you are, and those friendships will last a lifetime.
- Don’t be surprised if your world view changes. You might go home for Christmas break a whole new person. Being independent does that to you. Also being exposed to so many cultures makes you more open-minded and that’s great honestly!
- Try to get involved in as many activities as you can. In my first year, I didn’t really join any organizations or sports and I actually really regretted it. It’s also a great way to make friends and meet new people.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Your main group of people will have a big impact on your personality, so make sure you hang out with the right group of friends.
- Don’t give into peer pressure to prove a point. Do as you like. No one can tell you otherwise.
- Take care of your health. Being sick away from home is the worst. So make sure you eat well and keep up a healthy routine.
- Also, prepare snacks for gaps between your classes. That way you’ll actually save a lot of money since you won’t be constantly buying snacks from SPAR.
- Don’t miss out on social activities. If you have lots of work, try to get it done ahead of time. In a few years you won’t remember what paper you submitted, you’ll remember what amazing memories you made with your friends.
- Try to get a bicycle as soon as you can. It’s so easy to get around the city with it.
- An extra tip related to bikes: buy a second hand bicycle from facebook groups like commodity market rotterdam. If you get it from bike stores, they’ll most likely rip you off even if they’re second hand.
- Don’t let your roommates walk all over you. If you’re having problems, stand up for yourself or tell them how you’re feeling. People will honestly respect you more if you portray your feelings the right way.
- A bad grade isn’t the end of the world. You’re human. It happens.
- Don’t miss lectures. I know they are not mandatory but they honestly help a lot. People who don’t attend lectures have to study SO much more than those who do. Trust me, you’ll only benefiting from this.
- Find your true passion, and explore deeper!
- Don’t wait till your end goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself every step of the way towards your goal.
- Most importantly, have fun! You’ll never get your university days back so you should make the most of your time.
Don’t hold yourself back and never regret anything. If it’s good, that’s great. If it’s bad, it’s experience!
Written by: Sana Sardar