You are on the verge of starting a new chapter of your life.
The idea of starting college can be overwhelming especially if you’re not used to facing lifechanging decisions.
At times like this, all you wanted to do is for everything to be perfect and seamless.
Newsflash! There’s no manual that will help you on your college journey.
But, with the right mindset, you will survive, maybe even thrive.
We reached out to three recent graduates and asked them about their experiences in Colleges.
Undergraduate major: Business Economics
Now pursuing graduate studies in the US, major in Applied Analytics
Do you have plans to join extracurricular activities during your college? You too can be like Ruiying who had a productive extracurricular life that helped her hone different skills.
From joining student associations such as CityU Choir and CityU Chine Orchestra and going to Canada for a summer programme organized by the College of Business.
She also underwent a three months internship in Germany, during her sophomore year which she also went backpacking alone—an experience that she cherishes a lot even till today.
“It was four years of surprises, regrets, and encounters.”
Through these, she was able to experience a lot of surprises and encounters. There is this one thing that Ruiying regretted throughout the whole thing. This is something that applies to you.
“The biggest regret was my GPA, which varied a lot. When I was applying for and participating in different activities or programmes, I did learn a lot throughout the process but at the same time my academic study was actually affected in some way.”
As much as helpful extracurriculars are in expanding your network to find career opportunities. Don’t forget to stay focused, work hard, and remember the importance of your academic growth as well. Always balance your tasks and weigh in the pros and cons.
Ruiying has this to say if you’re the type of person to cram and procrastinate,
“Don’t avoid or delay anything, since it will just put you at a disadvantage. Instead, try to prepare as early as possible, so that you are calmer and in a better state of mind. In addition to academics, whether it is English enhancement programmes or cultural exchange activities, you should take every opportunity to explore and broaden your horizons.”
Undergraduate major: Civil and Structural Engineering
Now working as a Graduate Engineer
Are you more of an introvert? Zihao could be like you. Adjusting to a new environment was a bit challenging for him, and at times he felt a bit separated in social contexts.
“I used to feel very lonely, and I felt that there was no one around to make friends. I don’t like noisy parties, and I never felt the need to force myself to meet people.”
His first year in college was a big challenge, but everything changed in sophomore year. He started getting engaged in residential life.
“I took part in various activities with other international students in the hall, and thus made many friends.”
This is something that you should remember. Learn the importance of learning and growing as you undergo this life-changing journey. Zihao believes in the importance of being productive in college years.
“I have seen some of my peers who are satisfied with the status quo and who don’t seek to progress. In terms of habits, as I said before, you should have a unique flash point. Whether you sing, dance, or keep fit, it will make a difference if you just keep doing it and enjoy yourself.”
As Zihao looks back on his college life, he has this to say,
“If I could attend college all over again, I would force myself to read more books. Personally, I believe that a person’s knowledge determines what type of person they will eventually become. I am eager to become more outstanding by reading.”
One thing to keep in mind though is that you don’t have to force yourself out there. You should believe in why what you’re doing is important to you, and how it benefits your future.
Zihao left us with this final message, “Throughout my four years at college, my mindset really twisted and turned a lot. I went from being shy and introverted at the beginning to forcing myself to socialize and integrate myself into the society. However, I eventually felt that it was okay to enjoy loneliness, as long as I was being true to myself.”
Undergraduate major: Civil and Structural Engineering
Now pursuing graduate studies in the UK
Do you have your college life all planned out? Then you might be more like Tingkai. Here’s how he did in college.
“When I started my freshman year, I already had a preliminary plan for my four-year study career. I set goals and analyzed the challenges I would face. Most importantly, I made a plan to allocate the exchange, internship, and scientific research reasonably within four years.”
You could do like he did by joining student associations as early as your first year. This will improve your interpersonal relationships and start building your confidence.
One thing that Tingkai during his stay is that he held competitions, organized outings, and went to dinner parties with his roommates.
“Two years of residence and volunteer experience made me become less utilitarian, and I developed a deeper understanding of society, too.”
In Tingkai’s junior year, he went on an overseas exchange program to University College London and also did a summer internship, which gave him more academic improvement and a clearer plan after Graduation.
After all that, you’re set for senior year which would be your busiest.
During Tingkai’s senior year, he completed the exams of two professional certificates, along with a good balance of residence work, graduation design, and study application.
“By planning your time in advance, you can make choices without hesitation and avoid wasting precious time at college.”
And if it gets overwhelming, ask for help!
“It is also a good habit to communicate with professors in the department. Many students will get it wrong by thinking that professors are serious and distant. Instead, the professors are very willing to communicate and provide suggestions for improvement.”
Also, take advantage of university facilities and resources. Learn more about professional courses and software applications related to your chosen field.
“We can go to the library to consult materials and books. We go to the Student Residence Office for accommodation problems, and the Global Engagement Office for study abroad and exchange issues. Student Development Services is a good place for us to solve employment and psychological problems. The Chan Feng Men-ling Chan Shuk-lin English Language Centre provides many resources for us to improve our language skills.”
“Only by constantly trying can I make breakthroughs. Entering college means going into society. This requires us to have a more profound understanding and emphasis on learning.”
Final words to All College Freshmen:
As you transition from this new chapter in life, remember to believe in yourself and instilled in your minds that this college experience is your own. Set your priorities and you will be fine! You can always ask for help when you cannot do anything and learn to say NO! Take advantage of your resources. Enjoy your college years and learn as you grow to be a professional and competent adult!