Transition Series: Transitioning from High School to University – Part 1

Hello fellow readers – a little intro about myself before I dive into this series. I’m lrhemtecks, the newest addition to the amazing team here at hemtecks! You can find more about me in the Meet the tecks section and are welcome to shoot a message whenever you have any questions, thoughts or feelings. Looking forward to creating content for the blog and imparting my knowledge to the wider audience!

Onto my first (and hopefully insightful) blog post series about – you guessed it from the title – transitioning from high school to university. Some of you readers may just be settling into your second semester of first year of university, or may even be in high school preparing for the transition. Whatever situation you find yourself in at the moment, I assure you these tips will be applicable whatever direction you are heading in.

I myself am in third year and I am very familiar with the challenges of this transition, alongside all the hemtecks authors. It’s a time of excitement, nervousness and your life truly does change. My personal first year experience was very tough for me – both academically and emotionally. Here I lay out some helpful tips for progressing through your transition with tidbits of personal experiences of mine that I hope you will learn from.

1. Take it One Step at a Time
If I could give one piece of advice to a high school, first year or really any student, I would tell them to take it one step at  a time. I myself was a hard-working individual in high school, where I would receive marks in the high 80s and 90s and nothing ever less. I believed that the same studying techniques and same level of motivation would easily allow me to maintain these grades. However, many of you will find out, like I did, that this is not the case. You will fail, you may receive that first 50 after studying harder than you have ever studied, and you may feel defeated and disheartened. Don’t. Every step you take is a part of your ongoing learning process. Don’t believe that this is the end all be all and fixate on your one goal of achieving that perfect GPA. One bad mark does not mean you are a terrible student or that you will never achieve your post-grad goals. It instead means that maybe your studying just needs a bit of adjusting, or maybe you need to work on learning how to manage your coursework. This is not an overnight process, and you will ‘learn how to learn’ as you go along.

2. Balance is Key
When I was in first year, I only fixated on getting good grades and actually missed out on social activities that could have benefited me in so many ways! I regret not partaking in extracurricular activities, or even just getting more involved in campus events that are many times free to all students. Work hard for your grades but don’t neglect the rich social experiences that will help you keep a healthy mindset and create new friendships. Assess what types of activities and clubs interest you at your university’s club festival, go with friends or alone and attend these events. A few hours each week to de-stress will really help to refresh your mind, meet new people, learn more about yourself and your interests, and really help you to immerse yourself in the university experience. Just remember – everything in moderation!

3. Organization and Time Management
If you find yourself struggling academically like I did, luckily there are several things you can do to tackle the issues you are dealing with. As a start, organize yourself whether this means buying an agenda or posting up a big wall calendar with all key dates and deadlines. I cannot stress the usefulness of actually physically writing out what you have to do. Having a to-do list in front of you gives you a visual picture of what is coming ahead. Organize this list according to priority and importance. On this post is an image of a handy priority matrix to help you. If I could sum up succeeding in university or even life – it would be with these two words: time management.  Manage your time by understanding what tasks you need to do, schedule out chunks of time where you will commit to get the task done and also schedule in necessary de-stressing or socializing time. By doing these things you will get a better sense on how to go around managing your classes, workload and leaving time to partake in the activities you enjoy.

To Do List Priority Matrix courtesy of Matrix Education

To Do List Priority Matrix
courtesy of Matrix Education

4. Use Your Resources
I wish I utilized more of the resources that university freely offered during first year. Whether you are having trouble with finding out how to study, have questions regarding your program or finances, or even need to talk to someone about your mental health or the way you are feeling – I can guarantee that there are resources on your campus to help you. All universities offer services such as academic help workshops, career guidance workshops and mental health services that are many times free and open to all students. You may be stubborn or you may be shy, but the people who work in these areas are experts who host a wealth of knowledge. They are familiar with students in the same situations as you and have all the necessary tools to help you with your transition. In first year I felt that I was somehow ‘weak’ if I used these sources. These thoughts actually hold no truth and if I had the chance to go back, I would use these resources to learn how to deal with the different challenges I was faced with. Seek out help – these services are there for a reason!

This sums up the first part to this series. I hope that you find these tips helpful – many of which are still applicable beyond your first year. Stay tuned for the follow-up parts to this series!


One thought on “Transition Series: Transitioning from High School to University – Part 1

  1. rchemtecks says:

    Hey Irhemtecks, welcome to the team! Glad to have you on board. I definitely agree with this spiffy list you wrote here.

    First year was difficult (and horrible) for me. I struggled with my courses, and produced shoddy grades as a result. I was also getting used to the environment, so I also struggled (somewhat) with making new friends and joining extracurriculars.

    On that note, I’d also like to say that when you manage to pass first year, your subsequent (typically) get better! You grasp the university workload and expectations, and you manage to befriend a couple of acquaintances and find your niche at university.

    Great read Irhemtecks, I look forward to reading more of your pieces!


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