JM | Aug 16, 2022

Graduates, what’s one thing you would say to a first-year matriculant had you the chance?

Tatyana Bromfield

Tatyana Bromfield / Our Today

The University of Technology.

It’s not always easy leaving behind what you know and embracing a new environment, new friends, and new challenges.

With summer ending and September quickly rolling in, it’s natural for undergraduate students to be nervous about their first year of university.

Our Today got in touch with several university graduates and asked them: “What’s one thing you would say to a first-year university student had you the chance?”

Whether you’re a first-year undergrad, or know someone who is, we hope this bit of advice helps you this school year!


“Make friends that make sense, build a strong network. Spend the time early on learning time management. Understand the importance of taking breaks and watching your health.”

– Shemar-Leslie Louisy, 26, Journalism

“Be around people who make you laugh because the work will almost certainly make you want to cry.”

-Danelle Matthews, Language and Linguistics, 22

“I’d say make sure is not company you following and do a course you actually like, even if people judge you for it, it’s your future and you will have more success doing something you like than doing something your friends like.”

– Ducaran Bonick, 27, Engineering

“Don’t party out first year. Study hard but don’t lose your sanity for a first-class honours. Learn to make money before you get your degree.”

– Anonymous, Actuarial Science, 31

“Throughout first year, remain close to your programme coordinator and ask as many questions you possibly can, especially if you have any doubts about your major. Seek clarification and get as much information throughout first year so that, if you decide to switch majors, you can do so without the expense of time and money.”

– Anonymous

“Make sure that you choose something that you actually want to do and not what others believe you should do. Remain true to self and do not get distracted by what is happening around you.”

– Mikala Johnson, Journalism, 30

“Make sure it is something you can earn from… through entrepreneurship… something you will enjoy doing everyday.”

– Anonymous, Experimental Biology

“University is your space to make a name for yourself. What you put in is what you’ll get out. You choose what your legacy will be.”

– Danielle Mullings, Software Engineering

“Do what you love, not what you feel makes you money! University can be so much fun if you study what you love and love what you study. You’re not alone, you can always ask family and friends for help.”

– Anonymous, Writing and Publishing

“I would say they should ensure that they go to all the classes. When you’re at University there is no one to chapperone so your education is your responsibility. It is very easy to fall into the trap of skipping classes which can lead to you falling behind in your studies. Yes you can always read over the notes but when you are in the classes discussions will take place that can help you get a better understanding of a topic.”

– Tamoy Ashman, Journalism

“University is nothing like high school. Total culture shock. From doing 5 different courses every semester, to doing midcourse and final exams in a 3 months period. You have to learn to manage your time well.”

– Anonymous, Linguistics

“University is not just about juggling academics, but juggling your social life and independence as well. While doing well in school is important, it is equally important to make friends and figure out who you are. Keeping to yourself and not being social will in no way help you. Your friends or the people you meet, will no doubt be the same ones who you will need in the real world – to help you get a job, to support you, to help with networking, etc (AND IF YOU CAN HELP SOMEONE DO IT – THEY WILL NOT

“You are gonna meet a lot of people, and if you an extrovert or ambivert, you will want to go to a lot of places and you will want to sit and have those late night conversations with friends – and these are all things you SHOULD do, but in the process do not get lost and do not forget what is your primary reason is for attending school. It is easy to lose your way at UNI especially in your first year.

“If one thing is for sure, no one ever tells you about the emotional turmoil you will face living amongst other people – living on hall, or off-campus in a shared space. You will go through an emotional roller-coaster of anxiety, fear, depression, you might have those nights where you cry yourself to sleep, and you’ll develop certain insecurities but after the first two years, you will be stronger because of it. Be mindful of romantic relationships – cuz these especially can put you in a dark place. Do not let anyone fool you and be careful who you trust. Savour your UNI experience. Before you know it, three to five years will just fly by and you will wonder where it all went. Be as active as you can, be your most true self, have loads of fun and work very hard, and keep in touch with your parents/guardian as often as you can. They will help you to say grounded. Money runs out fast! So it is important to keep abreast with your expenses and regularly check your account. Because in two days you can spend $10,000, and, as a student, that is not ideal. Cook as often as you can, and buy food sometimes.”

– Ategie Edwards, Integrated Marketing Communication

“Don’t waste your first year, take it seriously because it does add up in your final GPA. If you’re wondering if you should choose SciTech. Don’t, run away, it’s a trap. Other faculties have free days. Don’t do labs and stay till 6/8. If you do choose Sci Tech, do Computer Science or nothing at all. No job no out ya.”

– Michel’le Hayles, Environmental Biology

“Always get to know the deans and your rights as a student. This way power tripping administrators won’t be that much of an issue if you get caught in an unfortunate situation.”

– Anonymous

“Don’t take advice from students and also university goes by quickly, take it seriously but don’t miss out on making great memories and friends/connections.”

– Quwayne Rose, Psychology, 25

“Join clubs and societies. Do not leave university without making meaningful connections and linkages. Don’t just be a dead weight member either; participate in club activities and try to take up a leadership role.”

– Oksana, Tourism Management and Management student, 22


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