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How to survive your first semester in polytechnic


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A quick guide to find your footing in school.

The freshmen year has just begun. A new chapter of your life is being written and you might feel lost. If you're very much like me, you might have been physically lost too.

How do you cope with this new, weird place where everyone can wear whatever they please? What do you do if you get a 'C' on an assignment?

It's normal to feel overwhelmed. But don't let that stop it from enjoying your first semester in polytechnic.

Here are some tips to help you survive your first semester!

1. Don't be a slacker

You will also lose friends if you slack off in group projects. 

It is school after all. Do your best, and don't slack off. Your future self will thank you. It is easier to keep the momentum going after one good semester as opposed to trying to pick up a poor GPA.

Besides maintaining your GPA, your reputation is important too.

First impressions count. If you get known as a slacker, you'll be hard pressed to find reliable group mates in future semesters. The last thing you want is a poor GPA and ending up with untrustworthy team members to work with.

2. Be brave to make new friends

There's a ridiculous stigma that polytechnic friends err on the shallow side but that's simply untrue.

Fortune favors the brave. Don't be shy! Just approach someone, smile, and introduce yourself.

In fact, some of my closest friends are ones I made in polytechnic. Having friends in the same course can help you with topics you don't quite understand as well.

3. Keep trying even when you fail or make mistakes

Unless you're a scholar or a really smart student (not me), you probably will rack up some 'B's and 'C's. You may even get a 'D', or have to retake a subject you failed. But keep trying.

Everyone fails once in a while, but you have to keep your head up and keep moving on. Move onto the next assignment and ace that instead.

4. Join a CCA you enjoy

CCAs are a good way to destress too.

From beefing up your resume to making new friends, joining a co-curricular activity (CCA) is a fulfilling experience that could round off your polytechnic experience.

However, it requires time and commitment to truly excel, so do manage your time well.

Here's a personal tip: sports CCAs in polytechnics are incredibly competitive, so selection trials may be harsh. But if you do get into a CCA that you really enjoy and have a passion for, it could be one of the best choices you make.

5. Give yourself some time to relax once in a while

Relax and take a breather to recharge once in a while.

There have been many instances of people burning too bright, too fast. You don't want to burn out and ending up hating your time in polytechnic.

So, live while you're young. Play some Fortnite, watch a K-Drama, or go out there and go night cycling with your friends.

Find some time to do something you love.

6. Don't forget your old friends

Okay, I admit I was guilty of this one. It's easy to get carried away with this new stage of your life and forget your other friends. At one point, I was too busy to make time for my old friends – those who have been through thick and thin with me.

It was incredibly selfish and I soon realised what I had left behind: years of friendship and trust.

Go on and make new friends, but don't forget about your other friends as well.

Of course, it is natural to grow apart from people as you embark on this new journey, but do invest some time to stay connected to your closest friends, even if they are not in the same course or school.

Polytechnic life will be a journey full of up and downs, but do enjoy it! It could just be the best years of your lives.


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