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5 things I wish I knew before I started University

Updated on January 23, 2013

This year I entered the University of Auckland. It feels like a whole new world. It's big, exciting, new and at times, chaotic. Are you already a student? Thinking of starting University next year? Hang in there, it's going to be one wild rollercoaster.

Take Notes

The amount of text you’re expected to read is more than enough to burry you in it. You need to read effectively. In other words, read while taking notes.

Your notes should be short and very precise…and for your own benefit – preferably readable. For this reason I tend to take notes on my laptop rather than writing them down. Also if you type faster than you write, I recommend this method.

Talk to People

Life at University can be socially difficult. It helps to have someone to talk to, study together and work together on assignments.

When I started University, I set myself a goal to meet one new person in each lecture. The more friends you have, the easier you’ll find life at University.


Don't be a book worm

Words from the vice –chancellor of Auckland University. And from someone who is one of the highly paid business men in the world today, I’ll happily take his advice.

Try something new today. Meet someone you didn’t know before. Join the gym. Be part of a club. Attend a presentation. Not only will this benefit your social life, but in the real world when you’re out there looking for a job after you graduate, excellent grades are no longer enough. You need to show you have interests & skills outside of your degree.

Plan Ahead

Probably the most important skill you must have in University is being able to plan ahead. Most people I’ve met claim to do it all the time. The problem is, only a handful of these people write these plans down.

If you don’t have a student diary, I recommend you get one. Writing down your plans is the key to completing them. Your brain is pretty amazing in terms of remembering things and salvaging old memories from the past, but it has limits. Trying to memorize your entire timetable for the next day, week, or month is pushing those limits. The most successful students are often not the brightest, but the ones that are well organized.

Write your plans down and refer to them daily. Remember to update your diary for any important events such as exam timetables, assignment due dates, class changes and the little things such as meeting a friend for lunch or returning a borrowed book.


Learn to Live on a Budget

You don’t have to look further than one’s student debt to realise, tertiary education doesn’t come cheap. Many students face financial hardship during their times at University. Here are some tips how you can loosen that burden.

Avoid buying textbooks if you can. Instead, you may be able to borrow the textbooks for a short period of time; enough time for you to take notes and return the book. On the other hand, depending on your course, this option can become more inconvenient than cheap and you may need to buy a textbook instead. Before you do however, consider sharing the cost with a friend if you’re both studying the same course.

Learn to cook your own food. If you haven’t cooked anything before, now is a great time to get started, especially if you plan to live by yourself during your studies at University. After all, how long do you expect to survive on 2minute noodles?

Hang in there!

Life is what you make it. Remember to take notes while reading. Talk to people when you can’t do it by yourself. Be active, don’t be a book worm. Learn to live on a budget and most importantly – stay organized and plan ahead.


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    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes I definitely know what you mean. It's usually either 1 or the other lol

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      All good advice! Its hard to strike that balance between socializing and studying at uni!

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Felina,

      I'm glad you got a giggle or 2 outta this. I did when I wrote it :)

    • Felina Margetty profile image

      Felina Margetty 5 years ago from New York, New York

      yer so funny!

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi everyone, and thank you for stopping by and reading this hub and leaving your feedback.

      It's the one thing I look forward to every morning is checking my hubpages page and reading and replying to comments others have left on my hubs!

      Hi Prairie - Yes, I think if I was given this to read, I'd feel a lot more confident about what am I supposed to do at University haha.

      At Auckland, they did have a uni-guide program however, which allowed to meet a dozen new people and get used to the life on campus.

      WD Curry 111 - definitely, yes. That's essentially what I'm trying to say in this article, is to hang in there. University is the real world.

      Carlon - great to hear you're going to University in a year's time. It's a time you won't soon forget. I wish you all the best in your studies.

      Rajan Jolly - Universities would have changed significantly, technology wise, over 45 years but all these basic principles are of course still there ;)

      Kathleen - That's exactly what university is about :D. Learning new things, meeting new people. Thanks for dropping by, taking a read and leaving your positive feedback. It really makes my day.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Getting a university education is all about learning new things. This hub is a great start.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This advice would have been as relevant when I joined university 45 years back as it is today.

      Great job. Voted up, useful.

    • Carlon Michelle profile image

      Carlon Michelle 5 years ago from USA

      I loved this article and it came at a great time. I am in my first year of jr. college and will be going to a University in a year. These tips are very useful to me and I will use them. Thank you.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      The best advice was, "Hang in there." It can be a grind. Welcome to the real world!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      This is great advice! I wish I had known these things before I had gone to university, too. I think this should be required reading for university students. Great hub!

      I am going to share this with my followers! :)

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Sure thing Peach, thanks for your comments and recommendations ;)

    • peachwithasmile profile image

      peachwithasmile 5 years ago from Wilmington, Ohio

      For you next hub you might want to talk about places to meet new friends other than classes. When I went I just had my roommates and then a girl that was in two of my classes. I am shy person so I didn't have new friends for the quarter I was there.

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hah, thank you Jay.

      I hope these tips will help her during her studies!

    • r jayanthi profile image

      r jayanthi 5 years ago from india

      Good hub,i have a daughter who will be off to university, i'll tell to read this !