The transition from junior college or polytechnic to university is a period of
significant change for many undergraduate students; easy enough for some, but
more difficult for others. As students entering into a new culture of learning, figuring
out how to cope with various aspects of life as an undergraduate student will
require some adjustments. This volume is designed with the new student in mind
and aims primarily to help to make this transition a little easier. It introduces
the new student to the NUS learning culture (e.g. Chapter 3.3.1 on 'Academic
Integrity') and provides brief introductions to relevant resources available on
campus (e.g. Chapter 2.5 for information on libraries and student support services)
that may be activated by all students when needed. In addition, it offers various
strategies (e.g. Chapters 4.2.3 and 5.2 on effective note taking and use of IVLE respectively) to enhance student learning.
To begin, the five points below are worth noting:
- Claim Ownership. A critical part of being a university student is to exercise
ownership over one's own learning. Ownership requires us to take responsibility
for our own development, and this means we strive to make well informed
decisions and we live with the choices we make.
- Make a Good Start. This means, 'have a plan' and get yourself organised from
the start. Think about your goal(s)-both short term and long term ones-and
devise a feasible and flexible plan for yourself, working out your priorities
in planning your curriculum path and a manageable work plan that will
accommodate all the demands on your time and energy.
- Follow Through. It is good to have a plan; it is even better to follow through
with what we plan! We need to discipline ourselves and do what we planned as
much as possible and make sensible adjustments, when needed.
- Be Proactive. Many students wait for things to happen and then wonder why
nothing happened. Claiming ownership also means being proactive-find
out about things you need, ask questions when you encounter something you
do not understand, search for information where needed. What we make of our
experience here at the university depends on what we choose to do ourselves,
more than on what others offer to us.
- Strive for Work-life Balance: University life is not about study alone-
it is about studying and playing hard. A holistic, meaningful and memorable
university experience is about defining your own academic and social goals and
realising as many of them as you can. Balance is key-aim for excellence AND
maintain your happiness index.
Though the above is certainly not an exhaustive list of 'must-do', they should serve
well as critical points of departure and may well be the essential ingredients that
enable your success at university, and in life.