I know it might be a bit late to write a QUT blog post considering I’ve almost graduated, but, better late than never right? As with everything else, anything that comes to an end also brings about great and valuable memories. Here are my tips to surviving university, based on my own personal experience.
Adapting – Boosting your confidence!
Studying abroad is fascinating and really appealing to a lot of people. But, at the same time, saying goodbye to your family and friends to start a new journey in another country is tough – it also made me feel nervous to the point where I lost confidence in myself. This also lead me to being shy, fearful and even negative. Getting use to all the new tangible things like buildings, campus, friends and people in general was easy. It was all the intangible things in this new journey, like mindset, language, lifestyle and culture that really reduced my confidence. The language barriers, culture shock and miscommunication had me feeling pretty lost at the start. But, don’t worry, it’s a common fear and you’re not alone, trust me.
So, how do you get your confidence back? You need to learn to accept change. Fortunately, there are courses to teach you about ‘change’, which I also studied, and found to be true throughout my own experience.
Thomas Jefferson stated that ‘if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done’. Thus, whenever you’re faced with these challenges and you’re losing confidence or doubting yourself, remind yourself that you’re in the progress of change and you will overcome your current struggles.
This study also teaches us that change helps us create alignment, maximize communication and spark motivation. Let’s take my experience as an example. After my initial shock, denial and even loneliness, I decided to participate in some uni activities such as volunteering at some festivals and events, as well as getting involved in projects with local companies. However, there were still things preventing me from expressing my ideas and opinions with other people. I limited myself with the idea that international students couldn’t have the same benefits and opportunities as local students, and I realised that this mindset was getting in the way of improving myself.
I decided to apply for a scholarship to join a short-term program in Hessen, Germany, where I could hopefully find a new way of thinking. Thankfully, I won the scholarship and joined the program as a student representing Australia. I also received $1000 from QUT Bursary support, which was so helpful. The one month studying at Kassel University in Germany helped me a lot in terms of identifying myself, my abilities and accepting change in my journey as an international student. I am now able to better accept that being an international student is my strength and that I am a mix of many beautiful things – a combination of Asian culture and Australian western lifestyle, which also supports my adaptivity, diversity, critical thinking and so much more.
Throughout this change process, dealing with stress is unavoidable, especially when trying to balance student activities and a part-time job. I honestly experienced a lot of stress along the way, but every time I was in a stressful situation I would ask myself, ‘how’ and ‘why’. I decided to read some self-development books and learnt that the key to managing stress was to evaluate your priorities. When you have so many things to do, create a list of all the tasks you need to do, then identify your top three most important things that are both urgent and required. Once you complete the top three urgent tasks rather than the full list, your sense of relief is almost instant. From here, you can continue working your way through your priorities, but make sure you give yourself enough time and space to focus on each task, keep everything on track and still give yourself time to take breaks and relax. With practice, I’m sure you’ll nail this routine in no time.
All the things I discussed is difficult to accomplish when you think negatively. It’s always good to try and be optimistic in everything you do. If you weren’t already aware, you now know how to overcome challenges you may face when you’re doubting yourself. If you’re feeling a little stressed, perhaps it’s time to reorganise a few things?
If you’re an international student like me, why not try consider a few of these tips for yourself if you haven’t already. Despite any initial doubts and nervousness, you’ll probably find that choosing to study abroad was the right decision. Make the most of your journey, be open to changes and differences, and enjoy life in your new home rather than just surviving each day. Being optimistic will help you strive to achieve more than you thought and be who you want to be.
3 Key Take-aways
Now that I’ve experienced being an international student at QUT Business School and in the process of graduating from my degree, the three key things I’ve learnt to make uni life exciting, valuable and memorable are:
Adapting – overcome your fear.
Surviving – learn how to better manage stress.
Flourishing – be optimistic.