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Tips for transitioning from school to Uni

Read Jade's tips on how to get off to a great start at uni.

1600x575 transitioning from school to uni

1. Friends and classmates

It's likely that you've know your high school friends for 5 or more years. You'll be the same age and from a similar background. You'll have hung out after school every day and saw them grow and change over the years, physically and mentally.

However when you get to university, the people you meet might already have 1 or more degrees, they could be 5 or 10 years older than you but studying in the same year with you. Everyone has their unique background and character, which sometimes you will some time to adjust to. But don’t worry, everyone is just in the same situation as you, most people you meet in your fresher’s week don’t know anyone else at the University. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people. You might meet some life-long friends there!‌

2. Freedom and independence 

There are many rules and restrictions in high school, for example, if you hand in your homework late, your teacher will chase after you. Some parents will even have rules about what time you must be home by, and which foods you should and shouldn't be eating.

However, at university, you might have moved out and found yourself in dorms with a bunch of other students. You can buy any food you want, you can go back at any time and most importantly you can choose what you do without your parents constantly nagging you. I still remember I enjoyed my freedom a lot in the first semester, I bought a lot of instant noodles and stayed out late.‌

Of course, this won’t last long, I started to have really bad skin and could never focus in class due to lack of sleep. So enjoy your fresher year but also don’t forget to set your priorities straight!

3. Coursework

Before I came to Queen's I had a relative who told me that there was so little work to do at uni that I'd just be spending all my time hanging out with my friends. But the truth is far from that! Some courses will have less tutorial or lecture hours and some have less reading. For my course, dentistry, I felt the workload is greater than my high school years. Especially for my first year, I struggled to adapt to the environment and people in Belfast, I found it harder to balance my time between socialising and working. However thanks to personal tutors, I got through it. There are always people to support and listen to you. If you struggle on your coursework, you can ask your class tutors for opinions and guidance.

I totally understand how difficult and different the transitions between university and high school. Just don’t be afraid and remember there are always people there for you to support you. You are not alone. If things get really bad, don’t hesitate to contact student counselling in the student centre and nightline for further support.

Read next: 13 awesome things to do on the weekend when you are a student in Belfast

Find out more about studying Dentistry at Queen's.

Jade Yuen Kei Wong

BDS Dentistry| Hong Kong

Hi! I am an international student from Hong Kong. I came to Belfast to study Dentistry and I love discovering new and unique places around Northern Ireland. I am also passionate about meeting new people. Although Hong Kong and Belfast are two completely different places with different cultures and environment, Belfast always felt like home to me. I can't wait to share my journey of discovering Northern Ireland with all of you!

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Jade Yuen Kei Wong