My Experience At University And How You Can Get The Most Out Of It

My Experience At University

My experience at university was pretty awesome and I can still remember my first day there in October 2010. I had just moved to Munich, met new people and I was so pumped for something new and exciting. And yes my time in university was exciting, but in the beginning, I had no idea what ‘student life’ was about and how things worked at university.

My first day wasn’t particularly interesting. Actually, it was pretty boring. We got our student ID’s done, and there was a talk from the dean of our faculty. That was my first day in university. But listening to that talk I felt that something new was about to start, and I was really excited about that.

Now almost seven years later I look back and I can confidently say that university is worth it. You will learn a lot, and not just in your study program but also about yourself.  I made some mistakes, and in this post I want to share my experience at university and how you can get the most out of yours. Otto von Bismarck once said:

My 10 tips for making the most out of your university experience

1. Don’t focus too much on grades. Do what you like and join clubs to get more experience in your field

2. Projects, projects, projects. Work on projects and release them open source. If you are a mechanical engineer, design stuff, build it and post pictures on a blog or similar platforms. If you are a software engineer, write code and publish it on Github. Or if you are an art student, create your art and post it on Instagram, Facebook, etc.. This has more value than anything else you may do in university. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until the end of my studies. Don’t make the same mistake.

3. Don’t be afraid to fail. Man, this is a classic and a bit cheesy but it’s the truth. Especially when you’ve just started university, and you have no clue about how things work. Trust me, you will figure it out. This brings me back to point 2: projects. Just try some out! Buy a microcontroller for 20 bucks and start with a blinky led example. If you enjoy it, continue, if not move on and try something else. But never ever think you can’t do it!

4. Hang out with the best students in your class. This has two benefits: First, you will get a better grade. Second, and more importantly, you will learn way more than when you work/study alone.

5. This may sound obvious, but pay attention in class. I was always stunned by how many people came to class and did something like work on a different project, or surf the web or even watch YouTube videos. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s hard sometimes, but by doing two things at once you miss out on half of the information and in the end, you lose.

6. Go to professors open office hours even if you don’t have a problem. This is something I should have done more often. Why? Generally, professors like to help interested students. By showing that you are genuinely interested in the subject, they will notice you and will want to help you. The word to remember there is ‘genuinely’. Don’t fake it. Ask questions and learn from them. They are the experts in their fields. Furthermore, they have a lot of connections, and they are happy to help you out if they have the feeling you’re a good student.

7. Don’t be shy, be loud. I always thought that if you were a good student, people would notice your talent and you would get the credit that you deserved. But the truth is that NO ONE cares about you, and NO ONE will notice you when you are the quiet, nerdy guy in the corner.

8. Go abroad for at least one semester. I’m telling you, do it no matter what. It is so valuable, I wished I would have known that earlier. Why? Because this is the perfect time to travel, you are young, and you probably don’t have any responsibilities (wife, kids, mortgages, etc.). Please, just think about the adventure, the new people you’ll meet, the new language you’ll learn and the culture. It’s going to be expensive, for sure, but trust me on this, it’s worth it, and you will learn so much!

9. If you get homework, just do it. There is a reason why it’s called homework and not copy-and-paste-work. In the long run, you will benefit from it.

10. Most importantly, enjoy your time in university. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and you won’t get it a second time. You don’t want to have any feelings of regret after you are done university, trust me. Enjoy, be ambitious, but don’t take it too seriously!

In conclusion…

I by no means regret or am unhappy with my university experience. However, my experience could have been that much better had I taken advantage of opportunities which I didn’t even know existed. Hopefully, these tips open your eyes to what is possible.

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