Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tips to Succeed at University and College

As students prepare to enter university, many are unsure of what to expect. For some students this is a scary transition while others are excited and ready for the change.

University is a great time to develop and improve academic, social, and life skills. This is students’ opportunity to meet new friends, network with future business partners, learn how to be organized and how to manage their time, and learn the significance of responsibility and the power of self-discipline.

Here are a few tips to help students in their transition from high school to post-secondary education.

Responsibility: For many students, university is a good opportunity to learn the significance of responsibility. Understanding responsibility means understanding that every outcome in your life is a result of your actions or lack of action. This means that if you are looking for specific outcomes, it us your responsibility to keep your actions in line with your goals. This means that if things don’t go right, you are not a victim of circumstance (e.g., wrong university, unreasonable professors, and too many social activities) but a victim of your poor decisions. Likewise, all great outcomes are a result of your right decisions and your right action.

Self-empowering beliefs: Do you believe you are capable of taking care of yourself and making the right decisions on your own? What you believe about yourself will have an impact on how things turn out. You can succeed, but it is a matter of believing in yourself and following up with what needs to be done. University is an experience to be approached with enthusiasm and a positive outlook. Clean up any beliefs that make you doubt your abilities.

Time Management and Organization: As you approach the beginning of your first year of university, it is a great time to brush up on your organizational and time management skills. The workload gets heavier and life can get more complicated with assignments, labs, readings, social events, family, etc. How organized you are and how well you manage or plan your time will influence how well you perform. It is important to have all assignments, readings, and events scheduled. Even more important is to stick to the schedule you have made for yourself as closely as possible.

Self-discipline: Many students are moving out on their own for the first time. The sudden freedom from parents can be exciting and liberating. Unfortunately, this may leave some students struggling with certain areas such as academic performance or organization. It is up to you to create the type of life you want while at university. As much as freedom is fun, it also comes with responsibility and responsibility can be achieved through self-discipline. Remember that only your behaviour produces your outcomes so make choices that are in line with your goals.

Motivation: Always keep your eyes focused on the big picture. There will be times when things get tough, you’ll get tired, and you’ll be confused wondering if you are on the right path. If you concentrate on your long-term goals, it will make it easier to get through the tough times. A social support group can also help you stick to what matters. Be part of a group that has similar values as you with similar ambition. In the meantime, keep yourself interested by creating new academic and social challenges and always celebrate your successes.

Balance your life: University is a great time to learn how to live a balanced life. It offers various social, sports, cultural, and academic clubs and organizations. Here you can learn how much time you want to dedicate to various activities, yet still giving yourself a little of every experience. While it is impossible to be perfectly balanced in all areas (some things require more time and effort), it is important to expose yourself to a little of everything. A balanced life will give you inspiration and even increase your motivation to stay on track.

Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto

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