Universiti Malaya – Wales

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By Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

Starting university is an exciting time in life. It’s a new phase, a chance to start anew or to continue pursuing your goals and ideas. Many first-years wonder how to make their first year of university the best it can possibly be. Start right with 6 great things to keep in mind to make the most of your first year in academics, athletics, social life and spiritual development.

1. Get involved with university clubs and societies

Clubs are a great way to not only improve your social skills but also build new friendships. From sports clubs like Futsal and Taekwondo to eSports and Chess Clubs to non-sports activities like Interact and Movie Clubs, clubs at IUMW can provide various ways that help you engage with more people beyond activities. IUMW sports clubs like the Killer Whales not only help you make friends but also help you improve yourself physically as well. Involvement with clubs will also help build your reputation and gain respect and self-esteem – that will be worth it by the end of the year.

2.Volunteer for university events.

Even during the current MCO, events don’t stop at IUMW. Just a few examples of some of the events happening this year include the International Academic Conference 2021, the ASEAN Future Sustainable Leaders Competition and the annual TimeToTalk conference. These events are safe spaces that attract people from a number of different groups, giving you a chance to volunteer, participate and meet even more people, and thus helping you with future aspirations in your education and career. Got an idea for your own event? Why not put the idea out there and give it a shot? Now is the time to try new things!

3. Build healthy relationships

It’s not just clubs that help build friendships among members of similar interests, regular classes can help you discover friendships on a day-to-day basis. Doing group assignments, group-based classwork and student-to-student mentorship can help build healthy relationships between you and your peers. Spaces like the #CommSquad space is a great spot to collaborate with fellow students and colleagues. The more effort gets pulled in your group assignments, the better!

4. Find a teaching mentor

A good professor and/or counsellor can help you guide the next three years of your life. It is important to build, maintain and cherish your relationship with your professors and counsellors as your mentors as they’re key to improving your grades and reputation among the faculty. IUMW also has a professional counsellor ready to accommodate you during your toughest times, so if you are struggling, you don’t have to go through it alone. You’re probably feeling older and more independent now, but this is the precise time to rely on your mentors from time to time because some aspects of university can definitely get overwhelming.

5. Find time for yourself

It’s good to find something new that can help you in your college studies. Be sure you set aside some time for activities that help you relax and destress. Whether it’s yoga, playing video games, jogging, or watching movies, television and anime, be good to yourself. You can join movie nights by the Student Council, or listen to a nice episode of Kaypoh Cafe from the #COMMSquad crew. Give your brain a break.

6. Outline your goals

Plan your goals and grades for the next three years. Try creating a journal, an event planner, and building a portfolio and so on. This is very important within the university and after university. Your work in the university as a first-year can help influence your future as a jobseeker down the line, and thus assignments and grades should be a priority from your first year onwards, especially as you enter practical training in your final semester. If you feel overwhelmed at times – that’s normal! Be prepared to feel completely unprepared. In the end, it will be all worth it!

7. Have fun!

Enjoy your university years! It is a huge part of the experience and just by making the best out of your situation you can have a stellar year. Being in the first year can be especially exciting because for most people this is their first real-time being independent. Most students will not already know each other and half the fun is finding a group to call your squad.