Aberrant Maia

One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Went To Uni

Hey there! Welcome to the first of my college series which is aimed at helping incoming freshmen settle into university. For this post, I was able to get nineteen people, schooling across seven countries (USA, UK, Canada, Cyprus, Holland, Hungary, and Ghana) to speak on one thing they wish they knew before they went to university. So, with no further words to be said, this college series has officially commenced!

Trevor

Boy wearing denim sitting outside and posing for a picture

 I wish I had known that it’s easy to authentically connect with people of different backgrounds and I didn’t need to modify my personality to assimilate. Also, I wish I knew how fast time goes by because then I would’ve engaged more with different organizations and groups of people instead of sticking with my comfortable group of friends. 

Course: Biological Sciences
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: Cornell University

Yadah

Yadah

One thing I wish I had known before uni is the fact that you should never be afraid to ask questions in class, irrespective of the lecture class size. Getting your questions answered early will always make you more prepared for tests and exams.

Course: Human Health with a Minor in Global Health, Culture and Society
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: Emory University

Naa Momoh

Naa momoh

I wish I had known the value of networking; not necessarily corporate events, career fairs, etc. although those are important.  I’m referring to networking with course mates and students in higher years on similar/relatable paths to the one you are on. This opens you up to a whole new resource pool rich with experience and advice that is specifically targeted at issues you may currently be facing or are imminent. I cannot explain enough how much stress and frustration you can avoid by doing this. Also, unless you really love hardcopy books, please don’t waste your money on buying textbooks 🙂 

Course: Chemical Engineering 
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: Northeastern University

Tsui

Tsui

Never procrastinate; always try to do your work/practice depending on your given course. Also, it’s tempting to get any and every thing you see whether clothes, gadgets or unnecessary expenses. Always think twice before you buy something. Maybe sleep over it a day or two to avoid yourself from spending money haphazardly only to regret your decision afterwards. I’ve experienced and witnessed such situations amongst my peers and it’s one of the worst! Finally, don’t over-rely on student discounts. They may be tempting but serve as tactics to drain you of your pocket money as a student so, BE WISE!

Course: Law
Year: Third Year
School: University of Kent (UK)

Samantha

Woman posing infront of a car

Living and going to school in Ghana for my whole life, most people I hang out with or called my friends were just like me and I thrived in that environment. When I got to uni, no one was like me. Very few people and I had things in common and that threw me off. Over the course of my first year, I saw my confidence and everything I loved about myself slowly fall. Eventually, in my second year, I started to pick myself back up. I wish I had prepared myself more for the change in environment.

Course: Economics and Business
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: Babson College (USA)

Anna-Maria

Anna-Maria

I wish I’d known to believe in my sauce always. Uni is tough and you might not always get the grades you expect but that doesn’t have a tell on your intelligence at all. I also wish I’d known more about what my course entailed because I might have picked differently otherwise. But really, I wish I’d known from the jump how important it is to put yourself out there and to chill and make as many memories as possible. You only get to do uni once.

Course: Law
Year: Third Year
Country: UK

Emmanuel

Man in winter clothes

Before 1st year, I wish I had known how to access textbooks for both free and at discounted prices on resell markets (helpful link). Also, plan ahead for ancillary costs like transportation, phone and data plan, weather-dependent clothing, etc. so that it doesn’t catch you by surprise when you start spending monthly on these things. Lastly, look out for opportunities on campus that can expand your experience and sometimes fill your pockets (students’ unions usually come in clutch and befriending upper years).

Course: Law and Society with double minor in Criminology and Human Rights & Human Diversity 
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: Waterloo (Canada)

Tyra

Woman taking a selfie

Going to uni was such a cultural shock for me, to say the least. Obviously, you’d expect to enjoy a new type of freedom, but that comes with the need to be incredibly independent. It didn’t occur to me that I would be responsible for keeping myself in check both academically and personally. My advice to any first year student would be to go in with an open mind, but most importantly, be realistic and stay true to yourself. 

Course: Medical Neuroscience
School: University of Sussex (UK)

Abena

Abena 2

First things first, never think in cedis (laughs) because you’ll end up buying nothing. Next, homesickness is real. Sometimes you miss fufu and goat light soup, so never take it for granted. You would also appreciate the Ghana weather because the weather there will show you ankasa…it’s so bipolar. Lastly, there are not that many people you can rely on like in your home country. 

Year: Sophomore (Second Year)
School: University of Groningen (Holland)

Selasi

Selasi Azumah

For those of us who are really keen on maintaining good grades, having fun can sometimes seem like a dispensable distraction. But the truth is, it’s okay to have fun, and it’s definitely possible to simultaneously get the grades you want and have the time of your life. So, make the most of the time you have and have a uni experience you won’t look back and regret.

Course: Business Administration
Year: Sophomore (Second Year)
School: Ashesi University (Ghana)

Queen-Anita

QueenAnita

My message is short and simple but true! Do not play with your first year of university when it comes to academics. Overall, have fun, but also make sure academically you are giving your all. 

Course: New Media and Journalism
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: European University of Lefke (Cyprus)

Maripearl

Woman taking a selfie in a floral shirt

There are many things I learned the hard way but the most significant one has to be standing firm in who you are. University can toss you in so many directions and have you pretending to be someone you are not. I wish I could tell first year Maripearl to stop trying to be perfect for the Christian community on campus while trying to impress the other side as well. Find out who you are, and unapologetically be yourself.

Course: Communication Design
Year: Junior (Third Year)
School: KNUST (Ghana)

Akua

Akua

Don’t think that you have to go to university with everything figured out. It’s okay to change your mind, because change comes with growth, but you should definitely take advantage of whatever is available to you to figure out what you want to do. Things like events, clubs, jobs, and leadership positions…whatever you can handle. There’s more to college than just learning and good grades. Also, just as important, be true to yourself and learn to take care of yourself. Go there and live your best life; only your thoughts and beliefs matter. Don’t do something you don’t want to do just because you think it will make you look cool or you will have more friends because of it. Take care of your mental health and be honest with yourself. SEEK HELP. It’s okay not to be okay.

Course: Finance and Business Analytics with a minor in Economics
Year: Third Year
School: Drexel University (USA)

Audrey

Audrey White Dress

I wish I had known a lot more about seasonal depression and how to handle it. Maybe, I would have been more prepared rather than sick to my stomach for seven days a week. 

Course: Law
Year: Third Year
School: Brunel University of London (UK)

Nuna

Nuna

I wish I knew how to properly manage a bank account before entering university. It may sound silly but being able to manage your finances in university is very important to know how to do. For many people, myself included, their primary mode for receiving money is through a bank account. Therefore, I wish I had known how to open a bank account and more importantly, how to manage one in order for me to spend wisely and responsibly. Now, I can successfully manage my allowance without going completely broke but for an incoming freshman, it is definitely something to learn how to do for your life in university, and also for the future. 

Course: Law
Year: Third Year
School: Lancaster University (Ghana)

Karen

Woman taking a selfie

I was underprepared for how mentally and physically draining medical school is. This is where your passion becomes imperative because a lot of the time it is all that you can hold onto. Be sure that you don’t mind dedicating majority of the rest of your life to Medicine, because it’s a long journey and you don’t want to regret your decision or be demotivated. And, nobody told me how much you need a sturdy support system: there are times you’ll break down and in those times, you’ll need other people more than ever. Moreover, it’s important to know the type of learner you are and cultivate a studying pattern that works for you. Also, serving on ‘gashit’ and Indomie for weeks on end was beyond depressing. I wish I had spent the summer before university learning how to cook. 

Course: Medicine
Year: Third Year
School: University of Debrecen Medical School (Hungary)

Kwesi

Man in red jacket and taking a mirror selfie

 I just wish I was a better cook before I came to university. I order so much and I tend to save less. But it’s all good and I’m getting better.

Year: Sophomore (Second Year)
School: University of Lethbridge (Canada)

Marie-Gabriella

Woman in pink polo shirt taking a selfie

One thing I wish someone had told me was not to underestimate my course material. First year was not challenging at all, maybe because of my IB qualification, so I had no problem writing 5000 worded essays. That being said, I completely underestimated the course because I excelled in first year. Little did I know, that attitude was my biggest flaw. I thought I could go through second year with the same ease and mindset. BOYY WAS I WRONG! Long story short; do not underestimate your course materials or overestimate your intelligence. E go do you like film (laughs)

Course: Law
Year: Third Year
School: University of Hull (UK)

And our final message is from a special anononymous person

“Find people who have positive similar traits as you; stick to them! Opposites don’t attract in university. It’s not the place for that. If you are generally good, stick with good girls and don’t chase the fast life. It’s unnecessary and you’d learn too much, too hard, and too soon.”

Course: Law
Year: Fourth Year
School: Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada)

*Views expressed here are solely that of the persons and do not reflect the views of the blogger, Ayeyi Ohene-Adu*

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