I'm currently going into my third year of university, studying Math and Stats with a specialization in Origins research. Here are some of the things I wish I new/learned over the past two years/advice I have for anyone entering or in university. These are mostly social/academic based tips, I'll be publishing another post regarding battling mental illness while in University shortly.
1. Keep an Agenda. You are NEVER too old for an agenda. Get a little one that fits in your purse and carry it absolutely everywhere. You never know when someone is going to invite you out, and you need to check if that's the Friday night before or after your econ exam.
2. Don't worry about your notes being perfect. In fact, your notes should have pencil or a different colored pen notes scribbled all around the margin. When a prof mentions a concept is quite important, or clarifies something, or you ask a question, it's good to scribble down what he said that made you understand the lecture at the time.
3. Go to lecture. I think this is obvious, and you've probably all heard it a thousand times.
4. Don't be afraid of your professors. Nine out of ten times, your prof will want to help. If you are trying to get your practice problems done, and attending lecture, your prof will most likely be more than willing to help you out. Or if you miss a few lectures, because you're sick, go to them for help catching up.
5. Don't be afraid of the upper years. Who better to ask for help then the students who took the same course only a year ago?
6. Get involved. Whether your getting involved with a sports team, the alcohol awareness club, or are a regular at your local bar's Karaoke night. Try doing something, on a semi regular basis, with people who have similar interests.
7. Sleep. There is a myth that you can't have a social life, good grades, and a decent sleep schedule. It's a lie. University is very good at glamorizing the under slept, over caffeinated, all nighters being pulled a the library one night, followed by a drunken late night out the day after. You'll hear people saying that 'they'll sleep when they're dead' or 'no pain no gain' all around the school. It's a lie. They probably sleep more than you think. People don't brag about their regular 7-8hrs a night sleep schedules. They brag about the week they only slept for a total of 15 hours. Ignore it. Sleep.
8. Don't forget why you came. Did you come to university because you're a curious person who loves to learn? Or did you come because you want the training you need for a job? There's a reason your spending this much money on education. If you have a dream job, do your best to get summer internships. If you'r here for pure knowledge, go sit in public lectures. Always keep your goal in mind.