A survival guide for your first few weeks of studying

How do you make a good start on the academic part of your student life, and how can you get to know Delft? Three students share their tips.

A new city, a new study and maybe even a new place to live. You will go through a lot in the next few weeks. (Photo: Dalia Madi)

A new city, a new study and maybe even a new place to live. You will go through a lot in the next few weeks. Students Iris, Maurits and Jort have just finished their first year. They talk about how they started their studies and how they got to know the city.

‘Move to Delft’
The new second year student Iris has her first-year diploma in the pocket. “Finally a holiday. Chill,” she sighs. For her Industrial Design Engineering study, she exchanged her home town of The Hague for Delft. And she can recommend it to everyone. “I met a lot of new people, through my housemates for example.” And sharing a house with housemates got her through the completely digital first academic year, she had told Delta previously. “If you spend so much time on Zoom, it’s good to see a real face in the house.”
It is a big transition from secondary school to university. What is her top study tip for the first few weeks? Make sure you do what works for you. “There are suddenly far fewer rules. There are just a couple of things that you have to do and for the rest you are very free. So make sure you keep up with the course, whether you do it using a strict study regime or through sticking thousands of post-its on the wall. How you do it does not matter as long as you do it.” 
When she started the academic year, Iris compiled detailed study schedules. She put a lot of time and effort into them, but in the end she did not stick to them. A waste of time, she concluded. So what does work for her? “Just doing what comes up. I start working on an assignment on an impulse and if that goes well, I see what I want to do next.”
She did not join any clubs in her first year. This year she does want to join a club though, preferably Outsite. “It’s a really relaxed club where you can get to know new people in a friendly atmosphere.” Given the almost completely digital OWee of 2020, is she jealous of the first years this year? Not really. “I actually really enjoyed my digital OWee. You could see that everyone put so much effort into making the programme as enjoyable as possible. This goes for this year too and I wish all the first years a fabulous week.”

Iris moved from The Hague to Delft. (Photo: Iris)

Maurits studies IDE. (Photo: Maurits).

‘Make a schedule’
Forthcoming second year Industrial Design Engineering student Maurits got to know a lot of new people during his first year, despite the fact that the lessons were completely online and student life was largely stymied. “After the OWee I met up with my mentor group a couple of times. Through them I met new people and the group kept growing. App that study mate who you only see online once in a while. A short online chat can be enough to create a strong click.”

He obtained his first-year diploma this year and worked mostly with study schedules and to-do lists. Lectures were usually recorded in advance so that he could decide when he would do what. But this could have a definite downside. “If you do everything at the last minute, you do not have the time to really absorb the material. So I put together a schedule of when I would watch what and stuck to it reasonably well.” To-do lists also work for him. “It helps to keep the umbrella view over the study day or week. And it feels great when you tick something off.”

His most important tip? Do not make things too difficult for yourself. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist and can get very disappointed if something doesn’t work. But what I found out is that it is you yourself that stands in the way. So if something doesn’t work out, don’t let it get to you and just get on with things that will work out.”   

‘Find a club that matches your interests’
During the OWee, Computer Sciences and Engineering student Jort joined one of the associations and he recommends everyone to do the same. He joined Sint Jansbrug where, despite all the corona restrictions, he found a fraternity. “I made most of my contacts there,” he says. Last year both his lectures and most of the club life were online. “Even though most of it was online, it was good to have a group to talk to. During the first and second lockdowns, the associations could partly reopen in line with the Covid guidelines. It was really good fun to finally be able to meet up at the association.”
During his OWee he had one physical day, the other days were completely digital. He chose Sint Jansbrug mostly on the basis of the association’s forum and a tour of the club building lasting 7.5 minutes. “Almost all the associations have their own OWee page containing information about the first weeks of membership, initiation, work weeks and so on. This helps you single out a few associations that you may be interested in. And if you are still in doubt, drop by the club or chat with older students.”

Jort joined the students association Sint Jansbrug. (Photo: Jort)

News editor Annebelle de Bruijn

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