10 Must-Do Ways to Prepare for the UniversityOctober 04, 2017

Summer is not far away, and you can't wait for another sun-kissed moment. Then again, you've been doing this routine for the last few years. You will turn a new chapter (in your young life), as you'll pursue an undergraduate degree. Literature would excite you, having lost count of the number of classics you have read during your spare time. (And you enumerated it in your personal statement. The admissions tutor seemed impressed at it or you may not have received an unconditional offer.) There would be something else. How about getting ready for your first year in the university?

Your passion in literature assured you that it wouldn't be a bumpy ride during your few years in the English Department. Furthermore, you believe in your so-called scholarly abilities. (You tend to compare certain highlights of the book to current events, if not a momentous occasion during the author's lifetime.) The tutor thought you were a work in progress, as certain areas in your paper writing would need improvement. You didn't fret over it, but there are other aspects that you have little knowledge of. Then again, you might be clueless about it. Making a resolution could be the best thing you have done during the year, as it would give you a head start over the other students.

You don't need to ask older students, members of the faculty, and even doctors about it. All you have to do is count to ten.

The Secret of Your Academic Success

You'll do a research on your modules during your first year. Your lengthy admissions essay should give you a hint that you'll write more essays during your first year (in the university). And expect an increase in number during your second year (and the next). It doesn't matter if it's Singles Honours or Joint. (Don't tease your Joint Honours coursemates for writing twice as many essays as you would do.) Expect to study Modern literature during your first semester. You have shown little interest in Virginia Woolf in the past, which wouldn't work this time. Read her short stories, if not her famous novel. (Nothing will be deducted from you if you can't decide if it's "To the Lighthouse" or "Orlando".) You'll also study Phonetics and other aspects of the English language, so try to be aware of your prowess (or limitations). It also pays to do an early study on archaic words (or terms), which could help you during your study of poetry.

Make an early visit to the university. If you have done it before, then this is the perfect time to familiarise yourself with the university grounds. Get to know the secretary of the English Department, who could help you when you miss your deadline to your assignments. Your tutor might mention the other members of the faculty, whom you'll get to know more during your few years. Don't forget to pay a visit to the Guidance Office, even the individual who deals with mental health issues. You shouldn't be ashamed to seek help, as the pressure of the coursework could have a severe effect on some students. Studying literature is not a walk in a park, which Victor Hugo would manage to pull it off. You're not expected to reach his heights, but your professors should be impressed if you manage to do so.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle. This is a tall order among teenagers, and social life could be detrimental at times. It should test your patience (once you do it), even put you in an uncomfortable position at times. If you can stick to the routine for a month or two, then expect a long list of rewards. A fit body would enable you to handle the stress that comes with the demands of the coursework. Lots of sleep should make you think better. (And you need it when you must compose a long essay.) And the right food prevents indigestion. (You don't want to deal with it after a few hours of sleep.)

Organise yourself. Some students thrive on an untidy room, and you're hoping that your flatmate (or roommate) won't be like one. The sight of books scattered in your drawer (or on the corner of your room) may not disturb you, but a messy surrounding could affect your concentration. The same thing applies to time management, where your routine revolves around lectures and paper writing. You might end up wallowing in self pity, but think of the long run. You have a bright future ahead of you.

Learning to overcome homesickness. No one will be spared from it, not even someone who likes to make new friends. Your family will be a call away while you can get in touch with your old mates through social media. (Don't abuse your time on Facebook or Instagram, though.) You might not get over it during your second year, but it will be fine. Think of your new mates (in the English Department) as your support system. Your tutor can provide encouragement when you need it most.

The Don'ts to Avoid During Your First Year

Don't expect to come on top of your class during your first few months. All great novelists have gone through a period of self doubt after finding out that some aspects of their writing need improvement. They managed to do something about it or find a way to turn it into a positive aspect of their writing skill. You don't need to go that part, as you must excel in literary criticism.

There's no need to compare yourself to other students. Creativity requires your genuine thoughts. You'll have all the time to turn it into your own. (Keep in mind that there's a thin line between getting the abstract from the book and rephrasing what you have read from Cliff's Notes.)

Never take remarks personally. Otherwise, you might think about changing courses.

Don't resist the urge to attend parties. You'll be missing a great deal if you wouldn't do something about your social life. You need to have a small circle of friends when you leave the university.

Never doubt yourself. You can do it for a few seconds, if not several minutes.

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