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Seven Tips for Success at University

Thriving at university involves using a range of skills and attitudes that we know are necessary to wellbeing, life satisfaction, and competence.

1. Engage your mind

Success comes from hard work and an open mind. University demands are different from high school and the expectations are higher. Learn from your mistakes and gradually bounce back. Putting in the effort up front makes all the difference. Talk to your instructors to better understand what they expect from you.

2. Manage your energy, not your time

Direct your attention and focus your energy when assignment deadlines and exams are due. Sitting at your computer or in the library isn’t enough; you need to direct your energy to tasks at hand. Your FOMO (fear of missing out – on fun) has to take a back seat to academic and career aspirations, at strategic times.

3. Make connections

Building community is important. Get curious and involved in campus life through student organizations and volunteer opportunities (both on and off campus). Get to know your instructors and ask for help if you need it. Discover which resources and services are available to you on campus and reach out for support.

4. Start a meaningful journey

This is a great opportunity to learn about many things of interest to you. University should provide a worthwhile, engaging and exciting learning process leading to a satisfying career. Enjoy the journey. If you aren’t engaged in your studies or your community, it may be time to ask for help.

5. Persevere

Being gritty means sticking to your long term goals and being passionate about them despite small setbacks or challenges along the way. But if you change your mind it is OK; be gritty about the next thing. Accept that setbacks are part of the process and keep going anyway.

6. Manage your Stress

Develop your muscles of working well under pressure, making the choice to study for your mid-term exam, or completing that assignment instead of going to a party, and engaging in self-care. Live a balanced life: healthy eating, restorative sleep, regular exercise and pleasurable activities (e.g. socializing, yoga, meditation, music, hobbies).

7. Doing the balancing act

If you notice that you are at either end of the continuum, you should slide towards the middle to get back in balance:.

Working too hard <---------------------------- Working hard enough ---------------------------> Avoiding work

Not sleeping enough <------------------------ Sleeping enough --------------------------------> Sleeping too much

Not eating <----------------------------------- Healthy eating ----------------------------------> Eating too much

Over anxious <--------------------------------- Motivated to do your work ---------------------> Too relaxed

Irritable & avoiding friends <------------------- Calm, somewhat social -------------------------> Too social

Checking work over & over <----------------- Careful work ------------------------------------> Sloppy, missing details

Unable to let go of ideas <--------------------- Focused on tasks -------------------------------> Can’t concentrate

Exercising to exhaustion <--------------------- Energized ---------------------------------------> No exercise


It takes time to find your balance. Trust yourself and you will.