4 Things Every High School Student Should Know About University

Most high school students are anxious about attending university.  You’re supposed to figure out exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, while becoming an adult. As the end of my third year quickly approaches, I have learned some things that I would like to share, in hopes of preparing high school students for university.

  1. Your major does not necessarily determine what you do for the rest of your life. 

Your degree can lead you to unexpected places, especially if you are an arts student.  I  know people who have changed from sociology to business and vice versa. I also know people who received a law degree and are in business. Even if you are pursuing an engineering degree,  you may end up conducting research. Your undergraduate degree is really the beginning.

Although certain majors are perceived to be more prestigious, be cautious of pursuing one for the money or the approval of family and friends. If you can, select a major that you truly enjoy.

For aspiring arts students, don’t let anyone tell you that your degree is useless! You can never be overeducated! Later in life, employers will only care about what skills you have and what you can learn, not your precise degree.

  1. Plan your semesters.

Every year, I realize just how important this is. If you sit down for an hour at the beginning of each new semester and write down every midterm, assignment and exam you have, you will thank yourself later! This allows you to look at each month and plan exactly when you will finish assignments or study for midterms. When you follow through with this plan, you should have fewer all-nighters. Your assignment and studying will be completed well in advance. You can even stay stress-free if you hang out with friends the night before an assignment or midterm.

  1. Be smart about opportunities that arise.

If you know someone in a field or business that you’re interested in, set up an information interview with them! Talk to them about their work; perhaps they can provide you with insights about their career and give you tips on job searching when you graduate. Best case scenario: they may have a contact who is hiring for a position and you might be able to land a cool summer internship after your first year!

  1. Be spontaneous.

Many people can get into a slump and try to remedy that by focusing exclusively on their school work. However, some spontaneity can keep you sane. University offers a plethora of opportunities to join new clubs, or take weekend trips with your friends. Meeting new people because you were spontaneous about joining a club may be the best thing you’ll say you have ever done. The friends you make in post-secondary can be lifelong!

Hopefully, knowing these four things will help make university less intimidating. Good luck!

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As one of our mentors in our National Young Leader Mentorship Program, Ava would be happy to answer your questions about her experience at Carleton University, her studies in communications and business, and budgeting for student life. Learn about how our free mentorship program works and connect with Ava!

Photo Credit: Leeroy

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