Hello all first years!!
Welcome to the your go to section of The Stork for any advice about uni life as well as living in Spain. As many of you are starting your ‘academic journeys’ at IE in a few short weeks, the Lifestyle team of The Stork wanted to help you all out a bit by imparting our wisdom and providing you all with some advice that we would have loved to have had in our first years. We are even going to be starting a little series as part of the lifestyle section called “Journey to IE.” And while you might have watched each and every freshman advice video on youtube or read every article you could find online, we promise that no one will be able to give you specific IE advice like we can 😉
Ask For Help!
If you are confused, ask your professor. And if you’re still confused, ask them again. I think a common mistake is walking out of class and not understanding feedback from a professor but it’s easily avoidable. Rather bite the bullet and ask them one more time than leave feeling confused and end up crying at 3am because you don’t know what you’re supposed to do (totally not speaking from experience). And also the professors are there to help you!! They would rather that you asked them again than feel lost and confused because they truly do want to help you and support you. If you feel too intimidated to ask a professor then ask someone in your class! People are often more than happy to help you out and a lot of times this is the easiest way to make friends in your class.
Get yourself friends that are NOT in your degree
Having friends in your degree is great and at times they can start to feel like family! And while having friends that feel like family can be important, even your favorite family members can be a bit much on some days ahahah. Our university is extremely diverse and stepping outside of your normal circle and hanging out with people from other degrees can allow you to gain different perspectives and find friends who share common interests that you might not have met otherwise.
I know, right now you must be thinking:” it’s easy to say relax, when you’re a third year student and you’re not going through the same things as I am”. I agree, but I assure you that when you will start your first days of uni, you will realise that everyone is in your same situation: no one knows anyone, no one knows where their class is, nor how their courses are going to be. So, take a deep breath, relax, and feel free to share your thoughts with the people you meet, because for how much you might think you’re going through this alone, you are really not, and help is always needed in these situations.
Learn (At Least A Little Bit) How To Cook and Do Laundry
I don’t know about you, but when I first moved to Spain I had never used a washing machine before. I remember seeing it the first day in my residence and looking at it scared it would have eaten my clothes and never given them back. Eventually it all got sorted out, but at the beginning it might be useful to have practiced a few times before you get here. Especially if you are going to live in an apartment, make sure you know how to cook something to be able to survive and not order MacDonald’s everyday (might seem basic but I assure you I have seen people not being able to make boiled rice and eating nuggets everyday of the week). You don’t necessarily need to be a chef, but just practice a little bit to make sure you won’t starve or poison yourself in your first semester.
Take Advantage of IE Extracurriculars
I highly recommend taking advantage of all the great clubs that IE has to offer along with participating in different seminars and labs. Trust me you’ll regret not doing it your first year. IE has a variety of different clubs that target multiple different interests. There is a theatre club, Model UN, Social Awareness club, and so many more. IE also has a pretty good Athletics program that is worth considering. Joining clubs and participating in different activities is not only a great way to meet new people, but will also broaden your horizons and interests.
Don’t Be Scared To Reach Out!
Remember, everyone is in the same position as you. It’s their first time living away from home, in a completely new environment, surrounded by people they’ve never met. It’s important to remember this to remind yourself that you’re not alone, everything you feel, others are feeling too! So, be open, talk to people, it’s the best way to meet everyone. Don’t be shy or feel embarrassed, just like you, all incoming freshmen are eager to meet new people and make new friends ! It can be as easy as going up to a stranger and saying “Hi, my name is ….Where are you from?”. Trust me, that’s what I did my first week and I met so many incredible people and didn’t have a single awkward encounter.
Hope these few pieces of advice are able to settle your nerves at least a little bit! Make sure to keep a lookout for new articles in the “Journey to IE” series that will be published soon 🙂