Some people say university life is one of the best times in their lives.
True enough, the delicate balance of freedom (or some see it as calculated risk) to choose the modules you want and the cushioned environment in which you’re still pretty much sheltered and guided induces much excitement. Lurking behind that intriguing first impression, however, uncertainty and confusion looms over…
Help! There are so many things to do and I don’t know where to start!
Feeling better? Now keep calm and read on.
There are tons of resources out there waiting for students like you to use. And the best thing is, most of these resources are either free or extremely low-cost. From catching up with lessons to career planning, these valuable gems will maximize the time you spent in university and turn it into an awesome experience. These tips below are some suggestions you can start following from your first day in university to make the most out of your university life.
1. Join a CCA
Being part of an interest group, club or society puts you in the company of people with a common interest or passion. Spending time around these committed individuals will give you inspiration to develop your own hobby or interest into your talent. By hanging out with the awesome group Electronic Music Lab in National University of Singapore (NUS), I’ve developed a strong interest and commitment to learning music production and composition, despite starting off with virtually zero experience in music.
Discovering and nurturing your unique interests is more important than it seems. Even though it may not land you a job in the next one or two years, it does present you as a unique individual in the eyes of your future employers. Moreover, new entrepreneurs often develop their business ideas through their insights in areas they are interested and well-versed in. Fine-tuning a skill also puts you in a better position when considering taking up a leadership post of the CCA.
Better still, some CCAs which enjoy generous funding or donations from past members offer rare resources either free of charge or at lower prices. The music lab in NUS, for instance, possesses a wide range of awesome hardware and software for music production, all for free!
2. Use the school library and e-resources
Don’t wait until your final exams are around the corner to borrow your textbooks from the library. That was precisely what I did for my first final year exam, and of course what my course-mates did around the same time as well. We ended up fighting for the books, of course.
If the library is not exactly conducive for you, looking for e-resources helps tremendously too. Most universities have their own electronic library with articles and e-books reserved for their students. Some automatically provide their students with access to prestigious research sites such as The Harvard Business Publishing, where research papers are not publicly accessible. Getting the right knowledge gives you insights into the industry you’re about to delve into, reveal employment opportunities and even help you review your major choice.
3. Know your faculty-specific benefits
NUS students in School of Computing (SoC) can print for free up to 50 A4 sides per month. Architecture students on the other hand get to use the exclusive 3D printers in their studio. Students also receive notifications of job opportunities within the faculty via their school email. These are just some examples of exclusive resources students can use to enrich their experience in the university. Not to mention the foosball table in the student lounge!
4. Sign up for overseas programmes
One important resource you’ll definitely want to utilize is opportunities to go overseas. Not only does it add a refreshing component to your university life, getting a glimpse of the education system or interning in another country exposes you to another culture and perspective. Being well-traveled and well-adapted to cultural diversity is becoming an important trait in a desirable employee nowadays. Read this article to find out more about the benefits of overseas programmes.
5. Look for internship or job opportunities
Most Singapore universities have industry partnerships to facilitate their students’ search for internships and job opportunities. Job listing sites such as gradsingapore.com and Singapore JOBSpedia have partnerships with universities like NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD. Some universities such as NUS include Work and Study Scheme in their Financial Assistance Package, providing their students with opportunities to work part-time to partially support their studies.