It’s My First Year of Post-Secondary, What Should I Expect?
The first year of post-secondary can often feel very scary, and sometimes overwhelming for many students. Post-secondary is such a large leap from the comfort zone of high school, students often feel as though the pressure and work expectancy can be overbearing. This is why it is important to know what to expect before you enter post-secondary, and have a better understanding of how to prepare yourself for the journey ahead.
So, what does the first year of post-secondary have in store for you?
The first —and arguably most critical— expectation for post-secondary is; prepare yourself for a heavy course load. I’m sure it’s no surprise post-secondary is more academically challenging than high school. However, with the course load of each semester being much more condensed than that of a typical high school semester, the workload becomes intensified. This is often a big shock for most students, which is when the sense of being overwhelmed begins to come in. A full course load in high-school is not equivalent to that of a full course load in post-secondary, so be sure to prepare yourself for the next level and only accept as many classes as you can handle.
Although you’ve probably heard it many times before, the next thing you should expect in post-secondary is to study! While of course studying has always been an important aspect throughout your education, now more than ever you will need to study, and learn the proper techniques on how to do so effectively. Gone are the days of cramming for an exam the night before, say hello to learning proper study techniques in order to reach academic success! (You’ll find proper study techniques are a lot less stressful than cramming, anyway!) One of the most effective study tips is to review your notes from each class everyday. That way, when exam season rolls around you won’t have to re-teach yourself any of the material, you’ll already have all of the knowledge memorized and a quick refresher should be all you need!
Despite taking all the right steps for academic success, expect some amount of stress. With new surroundings, unfamiliar professors, and a new level of academic pressure, some stress is going to arise. However, there is no need to fear, just be prepare yourself and you’ll get through it! When you feel stress starting to take over, remember to make time for yourself to re-charge before you burn yourself out! Exercise is a key aspect to staying physically and mentally healthy in post-secondary. Remember to give yourself breaks while studying, and try to exercise as much as possible! Remember, if you’re ever feeling too overwhelmed, there are resources available to help guide you. Seek your institution’s counselling services if you find your stress levels unmanageable.
With classes, assignments, exams and any potential out of school obligations, expect to be busy in post-secondary! Time management is key to maintaining your stress levels, while still reaching academic success. Use a day planner, agenda, or calendar to keep track of important deadlines and exam dates, and plan your days accordingly. Ensure you are always giving yourself an adequate amount of time for studying and assignments, in order to avoid the “cramming the night before stress,” and are always handing in the best representation of your capabilities.
Expect to meet some awesome new people! While post-secondary might feel slightly intimidating at first, remember you are not alone! There are plenty of other first year students who feel exactly the same way as you do. Post-secondary institutions offer a variety of clubs, sports teams, and programs that reach out to a wide variety of different interests and talents. Get involved in different school activities that interest you, chances are you’ll meet some other great students who share similar interests. Remember, new friends can be found within the class room, too! While you may feel shy or intimidated at first, remember the students in your class are in the very same position as you. Reaching out to students in your classes helps you break the ice, find new study-buddies, and potential life long friends.
So, while post-secondary will undoubtedly be quite a change from anything you’re used to, remember you’re there for a reason! Just keep in mind what to expect when you walk through those doors, understand how prepare yourself, and before you know it you’ll be handling your first year of post-secondary like a pro.