Jun 11, 2019

Your first year of college

You are not only going to find yourself new in class but in many other things, welcome to student life, welcome to college!

Say hi to college and bye to high school
You will probably be wondering if you made the right decision of coming to college during the first day of class, but please don’t panic because this is where the path to your future career starts.

Let’s begin by saying that college is NOT like high school; from now on you're going to be treated like an adult and therefore will have to act like one. You are going to have to stick to deadlines and manage your own time. You are going to learn how to work in groups and how to go through endless nights of study. You are going to step out of your comfort zone and experience a whole different life than the one you were used to. You are going to do it, and you will be fine.

Adventurous challenge
First year of college it’s actually an adventurous challenge for every student. Since you are now responsible of managing your time, it is important that you set a schedule for yourself in which, for instance, you won’t only write down your classes but also your study ones (at least what you plan). Now deadlines are going to become part of your life and it is really important that you stick to them from the very beginning. Please (double-time please) don’t leave work/homework/assignments until the week/night before the deadline, it just won’t work. Furthermore, not being a high schooler any more doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions during class or make comments. In fact, most teachers (really) will be more than happy to help you and set extra-class appointments if you need them. And what is even better, your study coach will be there to guide you during your first years. Moreover, lectures aren’t usually as boring as we are used to see in movies, they usually include PowerPoints, short movies, field trips, and group work. You will have to get used to group work. It is really common that classes include group projects or assignments as part of the evaluation of the course. There are really high chances that you’ll end up working with people you don’t like working with. But that’s how it is and you have to adapt to it. It will be actually fine once you have all gotten to the point where you share ideas, help each other and benefit from each other’s knowledge, because at the end this is preparing you for real life.

OK, don't drop out now
Another big difference you’ll find compare to high school will be exams. In college there are (generally) no more tests but big, important exams. There is usually a week per mid-term where you’ll find yourself willing to drop out your studies and that’s called exams week. It is really the moment where you can demonstrate yourself how responsible you’ve become and how good you can handle your stress and breakdown moments. It doesn’t need to be that stressful if you’ve been organized from the beginning, and again, not left everything until the end.

But is there any social life after all of this? Of course there is, and it’s the best! We’ve all been said to enjoy student life because we’ll never get one like it again. And it is, it really is. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and go out and meet new people. The Netherlands is characterized by its diversity of cultures and nationality so you will (rarely) never feel excluded; people will be willing to learn from you and most of the time willing to help you whenever you need it. Go out to parties, events, join associations and don’t get stuck at home or school during your free time; it is really the time to enjoy and try new things (always keeping your responsibilities in mind). You will also have the moments where you wish you had your old classes, friends and lifestyle, but these will help to make you realize that you have started a new chapter in your life and that you have to make the best out of it.

To put it in a nutshell, first year of college is a year of experimenting, learning, adapting, meeting, discovering, missing, but most important enjoying. And I tell you it is going to be hard at the beginning, but it’ll end up being great because you are about to start building your future in the best way possible.

Considering studying in the Netherlands? Download this infographic: 10 things you should know before studying in Holland

10 things you should know about studying in Holland