In the last week or so, I have met numerous students who are new to the university environment in which large classes, lots of reading, and long lectures are the norm. Several of these students have told me that they are feeling “overwhelmed”, “in over their head”, or simply “a little lost”. I’d like to make a few suggestions if you are feeling the same way.
First, go to your lectures and keep going to your lectures. With the new freedom university allows, it’s easy to skip when very few profs check to see if you’re there or not. However, even if the textbook and the lecture are similar, consider the time in lecture as study time or time spent learning the material.
Second, go beyond simply marking the due dates or deadlines in your day planner. Make appointments with yourself to study or establish regular study/reading times. While high school or work environments sometimes allow for slow times that are interrupted by cramming or hectic days, in university most new students find it less stressful and more effective steadily working on something for each course.
Finally, if you are struggling, get help immediately. If you ignore the problem it will only get worse. Write out a specific list of questions and take those questions to your prof’s office hours. Alternatively, you could exchange or photocopy notes and ideas with a classmate.
The adjustment to university life does get easier…just make sure that you are constantly moving in the direction of your goals.