YOUTH VOICE: Finding balance is key to university success

University or college can be an exciting yet daunting experience for many first-year students.

Along with the new environment, learning experience, class size and commuting time, many students decide to further overwhelm themselves by enrolling in five courses or more. While it is definitely possible to learn and excel in such a schedule, I would not recommend this for first-year students.

Making the transition from high school, students should keep in mind that first year is a time to explore your new campus and keep an eye out for other activities that are offered. As such, I would advise students to enrol in four courses. This allows one to get involved in on-campus volunteering and extracurricular activities, while concentrating fully on the four courses taken. By locking themselves into a five-course system, students may feel other activities are hindered.

This is not to say that students cannot balance a heavy course load with extracurricular activities, however, most first-year students already have enough on their plate. It is not a question of capability, but a time to allow a shift from a high school environment. One will feel a greater sense of gratification, if one can excel at the courses taken. This sense of achievement can become an impetus for continued success, and does not become a roadblock in your very first year.

Nevertheless, it is wise to consider that first year is a tumultuous time, regardless of the number of courses taken, and keeping a normal schedule will only help you overcome your weaknesses and discover your strengths.

For students who face peer pressure, the best advice is to consider the anecdote of the tortoise and the hare. Students who rush may feel overwhelmed.

The post-secondary experience should be focused on the pleasure for learning. By managing an effective course schedule and not overloading themselves, students will be able to truly enjoy their first year, while keeping at bay any fears of failure.

Needless to say, hard work and persistence are also included in the success equation.

Japreet Lehal writes monthly for Peace Arch News on youth issues.


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