7 Things University Freshmen Must Know about General CoursesAugust 26, 2019

You look forward to your first year at the university, as you'll likely to meet students from other departments. You're aware that you'll enroll in general courses, which would denote fields of study that students are required to take (and pass). It won’t be specialised courses, which won't be a big deal at first. It’s not the case, though.

You recall your younger sibling who has his first lessons in philosophy at the age of five. It would surprise you until your best mate told you about the novels by Jostein Gaarder. You're curious about the author's works (and Google it). You even find a copy of "Sophie's World", which is his most popular book to date. You never imagine that a young girl would attempt to understand the thoughts of the famous Greek philosophers, even visualise what Acropolis like without visiting Athens (or the British Museum for that matter). And it's hard to come to terms of a young girl who learn to become calm about the afterlife. You figure out that you're still young to comprehend such things, which is a wrong thing to assume. You're about to enter the university, so some conceived notions must be thrown out of the window.

Are you ready for your first lesson?

How I Learn to Love the Coursework

Your brain can process the information faster than Google. You wonder about your capabilities, and you have doubts about what a human brain can do. This organ can do a better job than Google, which you can't live without it. You would learn to trust on your line of thoughts after you get a good night's sleep. There are certain days that you must lose a few hours (of sleep), so you can finish your homework. There's another one coming, and you must review for an upcoming examination. This is the reason that you need to get a lot of rest, as loafing would be the only way to keep your mental faculties. James Norman Hall would think of it, but it should be foolish to go to the beach and stare at the sea for hours.

You must get used to solitude, if not relish it. Indulging in social media won't be the reason for your looking forward to your solitary moments. It should help you set aside other thoughts, which aren't related to the coursework. It won't be easy to master it, and it should be difficult to keep it up. Paper writing requires your attention, and you won't do well in research if there are distractions. Reward yourself with weekend(s) with your friends.

Anyone can study a foreign language. Studying a foreign language would be a good investment. You have an opportunity to go to a foreign land during your third year, and a change in environment should help you rediscover your zest in learning. And you would have new mates. Introverts might not fancy it, but you're not old (to resist change). You should be open to possibilities, which could help you enhance your skills and learn more. It would enable you to handle the pressure of your final year with less difficulty. Don’t study French if you want to cultivate your snotty side.

Critical thinking can be taught. If five-year-olds are familiar with Gaarder's philosophical novels, it would not be impossible to learn how to argue like Socrates (or Aristotle). This is the gist of paper writing, and Literature students are expected to do more. You don't have to worry about a passing mark on your first paper. You have many chances of doing better, and you won’t know (that you finally got it) until your professor told you so. In this regard, you would learn to be selective about the information that supports your arguments (on your essays). You also learn to figure out how to present your ideas, yet there would be a danger. Don't worry about the word count. It's best to start right after your professor gives you the green light (to write your assignment), so you won't be pressed to think hard and fast.

Memorizing may work, it may not. You're required to remember certain concepts, if not memorize theories and laws. It won't get you anywhere if you don't try to understand the concept behind it. Ask your professor(s) if you're having trouble. It helps if you get to know your coursemates. One or two would stand out during lectures, and there's nothing wrong in wanting to be a part of their study group. You can create your own (and invite them).

Writing requires awareness. If you haven't paid attention to grammar, your first year should be the right time to know more about it. The same thing applies to what you see, as well as what you have experienced so far. Think twice about including it in your assignments, as some would confuse your professors. And make an effort to write better. One way of doing it is to have a dictionary on your tab.

You can't keep your partying habits from your family (and mates). There's no moral lesson behind Miley Cyrus's split from Liam Hemsworth, and it would be a waste of time to pry into his partying. You could do such a thing, and you won't tell your parents (or your best mates) about it. They would find out, so this is your chance to learn to be responsible for your actions. You don't want to get into trouble early on.

H is for Happiness

Finding the right place to study could be an issue at certain times, as your mood would play a part. You don’t want to discount your finances, where problems could lose your focus on the coursework. It comes to the details, and how you approach the coursework isn’t different at all. It’s a matter of trial and error, so don’t give up easily. Frustration won’t help you finish a task on time. Your coursemates are likely to feel the same way, so hang out with them. It would help you feel better. The rest would follow.

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