Dear first years, here’s some well-meant advice (aka 42 tips)

“When people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.” —Austin Kleon

Most of these I have learned the hard way. Some I have profited from for the last two years. All of them I wish I had known earlier. Take what works and leave what doesn’t, but be smart enough to at least give them a try.

  1. Befriend Rik and Hugo. These unsung heroes can always help you.

  2. Explore Groningen. There’s more than UCG and Frascati.

  3. Find your secret study spot. There’s a good one when you go yeah not gonna tell you that.

  4. Bring Your Own Tea. Don't get ripped off by that Pickwick dispenser.

  5. Pretend resits don’t exist. Get all your pints points at once. You don’t want to be catching up.

  6. Find a good group of friends. You need the fun and support. 

  7. Sleep, just enough. The number of hours differs from person to person, but find one that works for you and keep it consistent as best you can.

  8. Play April Fool’s Pranks. The best ones have the whole faculty talking.

  9. Make sure you know what courses to take and when. You can’t fully focus when you're worrying about your choices.

  10. Remember: first things first. Have tons of fun, but don’t let it get in the way of more important things.

  11. Don’t make a habit out of nearly passing your 60 credits each year. It will catch up with you.

  12. For your courses: find a balance between the pragmatic and the interesting. You do want to get a job but you don’t want to be bored out of your skull.

  13. Spend your money wisely. (You need to save money somewhere with UCG’s tuition.) Perhaps starting with your groceries

  14. Don’t do all your readings. You won’t have a life, and it’s really not necessary.

  15. Vary your clubbing. There’s more to the city than Kiwi and Sunny Beach.

  16. Vary your social events. Swap out some drinking for some board games. Or games for a movie night. Everything in moderation.

  17. Don’t ignore your email. Trust me, it will haunt you. Turn on student mail notifications on your phone, so you don't miss out on important shit.

  18. Always go to the first class. Ignorance isn’t always bliss.

  19. Don’t worry about your “worthless degree”. Make the most of it instead. You’ll get somewhere, someday.

  20. Get involved in UCG. Join a committee (*cough* /SLASH/ *cough*) or one of the bodies from the faculty. You will learn tons, and it’s fun.

  21. Don’t make UCG all you have, though. Find an escape. Have some balance.

  22. Pimp your room. Make it your own little home away from home.

  23. Study 6 days a week, if even for only 10 minutes a day. Build that muscle.

  24. Have a set day where you do nothing you don’t want to do. Getting out of the busyness regularly will do you good. Saturday generally works well.

  25. Stay in touch with your friends from home. It might seem like you will have too many friends in Groningen to also deal with your ones from back home, but you’ll love having them when you need them (and when you don’t).

  26. Meet with your mentor, before you need help. Same goes for the study advisor. One 10 minute meeting will help when you really need them.

  27. Keep making friends. (But don’t spread yourself too thin.)

  28. Compare yourself…with yourself. Not with other people, that doesn’t make sense anyway. Look at how you improved compared to yesterday. 

  29. Laugh.

  30. Seek out fun. It won’t automatically seek out you.

  31. Study effectively. (More is not always better, by the way.)

  32. Start early. (Deserves its own point.)

  33. Maximize your free time. You don’t want to default to watching Netflix and binge eating. 

  34. Keep moving towards the mountain. That is, where you want to be.

  35. Stay organized, just enough. You don’t have to go full-GTD, but a little organization goes a long way.

  36. Don’t pull all-nighters. It's not worth it. 

  37. Don’t drown in a negative spiral. When times get tough, make sure you take action.

  38. Insure yourself against academic disaster. Build a buffer during the block so you don’t have to save a course with one all-or-nothing-40 percent-exam.

  39. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Try first, sure, but never wait too long with asking.

  40. Tag your food. It will be gone if you don't. The good news: everything that isn’t tagged is yours. To the fridge!

  41. What do you get if you cross an insomniac with a dyslexic and an agnostic? Someone who stays up all night worrying about whether there really is a dog. If you didn’t laugh go back to #29. You humourless bastard.

  42. Find the meaning of life. 


PS Here’s how you connect to the WiFi: [yourstudentnumber]@student.rug.nl PW: [your Nestor password] (e.g. s420690@rug.nl Hunter2)

PPS Do you have something to say? We thought so. Join the Extended /SLASH/ group chat and become a contributor!

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