Making the transition from high school to university can be one of the most significant experiences for a student. As an international student, things can be very different since the transition from school can be exciting, but it also poses several challenges that can be overwhelming. In this blog, I talk about what it is like to transition from school to university, the hardships I faced, and how the university helped me each step of the way.
Adapting to new challenges
I will begin by highlighting academic differences. I did my schooling in India and was used to being provided with a very structured curriculum and being guided every step of the way for every subject I took up. I was tested on subjects and topics mentioned in textbooks and my learning was limited to them. In contrast, at university, I was given more flexibility. I was required to read more complex texts (like journals and articles), actively took part in seminar discussions, and completed research assignments independently or in groups. Additionally, the size of classes is more significant in a university, and lecturers have less interaction with individual students compared to high school teachers. Class sizes usually depend on the module, but my classes range from about a hundred to a hundred and fifty students.
Coming to the challenges you might face as a student, the first to mention is time management. In school, we had long hours of learning subjects one after the other but at university, a typical module in my first year consisted of a two-hour lecture in the week alongside an additional seminar for an hour where students were put in much smaller groups to use what we learn in lectures in real-life cases/problems. Due to the flexibility the university offers, time management might be difficult when attending university. It means that we can finish our individual study whenever we want, yet it can be simple to fall behind and fail to catch up. Most of the time, lecturers give us reading assignments for the week—both necessary and optional—and it is up to us to make sure we do them in time for the lecture the following week.
How to make your transition easier
Here are some helpful tips to make your transition as smooth as possible.
1. Ask for help: The University of Bath provides us a multitude of resources to help us academically. Lecturers have office hours and are always ready to solve queries after the lecture, via email or in person. At the beginning of our term, we are also allocated a Personal Tutor who helps us with any difficulties we face during term time. Furthermore, to make students more at ease, we have Academic Representatives that act as a bridge between the cohort and the university and raise academic concerns, if any. I have been one myself for two years now!
2. Manage your time well: To prevent getting behind, use a planner to plan out your schedule, make reminders, and organise your workload. It can be easy to get caught up with lots of things since you are trying to manage your academics, society socials, and events, social life and it gets hard sometimes. So, plan your days and be efficient!
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Make sure to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat healthily. It reduces stress and anxiety! Balance your lifestyle and make sure you are on top of things, especially in the beginning since once you miss a lecture or a seminar, it gets harder to catch up on everything you have missed and becomes overwhelming during exams.
4. Join clubs and societies: Joining clubs and societies is an excellent way to meet new people, discover your interests further, and make the most out of your university experience. The university has over 150 clubs and societies and there is so much you can get involved with! If you do not find something you like, you can even start one by yourself! I founded the Bath Indian Dance Society just last year and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I found a community and it helped me transition a lot better!
Get the most out of university experience
For students, the transition from high school to college is both exhilarating and difficult. Students may find the adjustment difficult due to academic differences, financial obligations, time management, academic pressure, and homesickness. Students may overcome these obstacles and get the most out of their university experience by asking for guidance, leading a healthy lifestyle, and participating in new activities. The university has so many forms of student support available! You can also click here to see the different clubs and societies on offer here!
The University of Bath is extremely helpful and supportive! Hope this helped and made you feel more at ease!