So, it’s the last day of summer, you’ve got everything packed, and you’re ready to hit it off to university. Whether abroad or somewhere close to home, the first day is never easy. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be fun. With a bit of courage and an open mind, you will make the most out of the next years. And with these seven, simple tricks, you’ll do it with flying colours:
1. Initiate a Dine with Me party
We get it. You are new in your dorm, and you want to make friends, and fast. So why not invite your roommates over to binge a Sunday afternoon with a come and dine with me party? You can either show off your MasterChef skills or make a complete fool out of yourself and earn a laughter or two; either way, it’s a win-win situation. People love joining for dinner, where they bring their foods, or simply improvise crazy online cooking hacks. And before you know it, the day you almost burned the kitchen to the ground can become the first best memory for your bachelor’s yearbook.
And no worries, there are plenty of take-away options when things go south. With apps like Foodora or Mjam, you will always get that fresh Viennese Schnitzel in no time. And for long-term prospects, it might be useful investing in the ISIC student card to keep a close eye on all the relevant discounts.
2. Win a jailbreak
No, seriously! Jailbreaks are the newest form of entertainment slash charity work in Europe, where students spread in teams and survive for 36 hours without any money; and the best part of it is staying as far as possible form university, a.k.a., the jail. Jailbreak events are gaining ground as students get sponsored to stay away from campuses while collaborating and spending zero money. The potential of such adventures is endless; they help avoiding social hibernation and allow students to give back to society without actually spending anything. Told you, it’s a win-win situation.
3. Be proactive
This tip might seem a bit obvious, but it is instrumental for the success of your university and post-university life. During your bachelors, your schedule might become a bit chaotic. But this is just another chance to test different courses, to learn from experts in their fields, and to explore new interests and passions, formative for your career path.
There will always be students who spend their entire bachelor years locked away in the library, while others attend every campus event and have fun within societies. To make sure you’ll always have time for both, start being proactive. Keep track of your academic duties, attend classes regularly, and take an ardent role in your education. To makes matters easier, use of websites such as Evernote to organise the information neatly, RescueTime to measure your productivity, or Written? Kitten! to keep the motivation going forward.
As for going the extra mile, university is the best fitting cluster to get in contact with speakers and lecturers. Check the event calendar in ample time and take advantage of the opportunities to learn something new and expand your networking. After all, university is not only about working hard, but also about working smart, and consistently. If you want to make the most out of the years ahead, you need to broaden your knowledge base.
4. Learn how to learn
With many talented, determined students graduating at the same time, entering the job market has become increasingly competitive. This is why instead of working hard, you must push yourself to work smart and to embrace learning; and university is the best place to learn how to learn. If you can master how to do something effectively, you will have a smooth transition in whatever field of work you decide to pursue.
A good place to start with is an engaging study space. Your dorm or apartment might not be the best environment for learning. Those are the places where you relax, sleep, and get social, so you might feel underproductive. Try seeking a seat in the library or the study rooms, and gradually build your ideal working space. Most campuses have quiet areas, student lounges, and department-specific rooms. Use them to get creative and disciplined, and you’ll discover it will be easier to complete tasks and retain information. As such, Google Scholar will be your best friend, helping you find top academic journals, while EasyBib will create citations and check your work for plagiarism and grammar errors. As for inspiration bits, websites like Thesaurus and Simplish or Rewordify can come to the rescue when the ideas get entangled.
5. Get out and explore
Struggling to find an affordable holiday with your student budget? Then why not try a camping trip or a soothing hike around the city? Tag along with some friends for a weekend in the Alps, in the outskirts of Vienna, or nearby the lakes (where you can get lost in some of the most picturesque places in Austria). Camping is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing activities, especially in a country that stands out for its top wildlife. You can enjoy campfire foods and stories, get away from the high-tech distractions, and get close to people and the wilderness. And if that is too much of a challenge, you can always take advantage of the Wiener Wanderwege. Vienna is notorious for its 240 km of city hiking trails, with popular destinations including the Heurigen (wine taverns), the Vienna Woods, and various vineyards and recreational areas. Everything is well signed and easy to reach by public transport. What is more, there are plenty of attractive viewpoints, resting spots, restaurants, and service areas to make your trip all the more delightful.
6. Enjoy the small things
If outdoors exploring is still too much, there are plenty of one-hour long options to keep your pulse going. Are you interested in a new sport? Do you have a quirky hobby that just became popular? Good. This is the moment to try new things and live more in the present. There aren’t enough perks attached to the high-pressure of performing well during your bachelor’s years; so, one thing you should always have is the freedom to enjoy the small things. Your time at university is yours and yours only; it’s up to you to shape it the way you like it. So, do become a social butterfly, pursue some new hobbies: take a dance course, a cooking session, a running challenge, anything that makes you happy.
And in between the adrenaline sessions, make sure you take some time off and embrace the local practices, such as the Viennese coffee culture. From the typical Wiener Melange to the endless types of espresso (kleiner schwarzer, kleiner brauner, verlängerter or einspänner), the cup o joe is the best friend of every bachelor’s student. And how could it not be when there are so many charming coffee houses spread across the 23 districts? From prestigious places such as Café Landtmann, Cafe Schwarzenberg or Café Central, all the way to places like the kaffemik set up by IT experts in the seventh district, there’s always a new place to try out.
7. Go abroad
University can be one of those rare times when you can wander in new environments and indulge in new practices. But going abroad isn’t just about going on holiday, you can use the opportunity to gain international experiences, learn languages, and explore diverse cultures (and sometimes, you even get paid for it). There is no better way to experience something bold while still being carefree. And, depending on your involvement, you can even use your time abroad for interviews, as it adds life experience, language aptitudes, and soft skills, something many employers seek in graduates. In the end, you will be more confident, with increased experience on your resume, and a glorifying portfolio that will make you look more professional when entering the global job market.
Last but not least, remember that your bachelor’s years represent far more than the deadlines, essays and other chaotical experiences associated with your student life – they are a moment of self-discovery, where you learn about the world, and about yourself. University is the perfect opportunity to explore the subjects that get you inspired, or where you can try new things altogether.