5 Ethics Every Student Should Practice At University
With the current positive development of Malaysia’s fight against our not-so-friendly friend, COVID-19. We’re seeing more and more industries reopen including universities. Finally, students are able to enjoy an actual college life albeit the safety measures that would still need to comply.
Unfortunately, my uni-days have been over for almost 2 years now. So I guess as a big sister to you guys who are about to return to the grind, I’m sharing 5 easy but really important tips to stay at the top of your game. Not to mention, just be the best student while you’re in school.
1. Be Organised & Prioritise That Deadline
I am a HUGE advocate for setting up your own planner system. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer having a physical planner to jot down your day-to-day tasks or rely on the convenience of a calendar app on your smartphone; create a habit of planning out your days to keep yourself in check.
Unfortunately, as humans, we have a very cluttered mind. Studies have shown that humans generally have an average of 6,000 thoughts running through their minds per day and adding up to this statistic, we also make around 35,000 decisions whether we realise it or not. It is impossible for you to keep track of everything mentally and frankly, it is exhausting to rely on your brain for everything.
A planner will help you set aside time. This includes class, leisure, assignments, and extracurricular activities and ensures that you’d have control over your time. University goes by so fast and it’s easy to lose track of your deadlines. Trust me you do NOT want to pull constant all-nighters just to pass your classes. So do yourself (and your brain) a favour by jotting down tasks and deadlines in advance. Exercise some self-discipline and you’ll be less likely to go through that infamous final week mental breakdown we all have experienced back in school. PS: It ain’t fun.
2. Networking Is Your Part-Time Job
One of the things you should expect when you step into your campus for the first time is the vast number of people you’ll meet in university. From your new classmates, lecturers, and professors to seniors and professionals from the industry, it is a whole new world filled with plenty of new possible connections who will help you in the long term.
I understand that some of us might not necessarily be the most extroverted of people and that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to go all gung ho on your first day but just keep in mind to be nice to everyone you meet. You may never know how far that one connection will get you once you start your career later.
Rapport is a word I like to remind myself of whenever I start a new semester or class. Establishing rapport is not just about putting up a nice smile in front of everyone. It is about building good relationships with people in a professional setting. They may not necessarily be your buddies but it is a connection that is based on agreement, strong mutual understanding, and empathy.
Remember, sometimes it’s not all about WHAT you know…it’s WHO you know.
3. Don’t Be Shy To Ask For Help
Let’s get real here…NOBODY expects you to know what you’re supposed to do during the first few weeks in university. Your job is to learn as much as possible and to do that, you must know how to seek knowledge and more importantly, seek help when you need it.
There will always be a moment when you’re stuck and don’t know how to move forward. Whether it be with an assignment or maybe a subject that’s causing you quite the headache just by trying to catch up. When you find yourself in this position, stop and assess the situation before finding help.
Primarily, you should always lean on your educators for the best and most efficient solutions. Their jobs are not only to give you hours and hours of the lecture but they are there in the office to guide you through your coursework. Visit their office hours and go through the problems you’re facing. Be open and accepting of whatever feedback comes your way. Remember, it’s not your job to know everything…you are there to learn.
At the same time, maybe help is not always in the office. Through a couple of connections (subtle throwback to point 2), you can seek guidance from your fellow seniors. They have most likely gone through the exact same coursework so don’t hesitate to ask them for tips and tricks. Also, you’re not alone in your class so make it a point to work together with your classmates. They probably need your help in other areas too.
4. NEVER. PLAGIARISE. Don’t Even Think About It.
Oh dear… how do I even try to emphasize this point other than JUST DON’T. It’s not an exaggeration really. Plagiarization is one of the most common yet vile evils of the university. As it feels so easy to just copy off of others’ works and pass a class.
In university, you are expected to constantly read and write. You’ll have papers to submit and most majors would require you to complete academic theses for several subjects. It is supposed to be the embodiment of everything you’ve studied through your years in university… So what would that say about you if you’re just going to CTRL-C + CTRL-V someone else’s writing? Truly it is the most unethical thing you could do as a student so it’s a big nope in my book and I want you to remember this.
Trust me, it may seem overwhelming but with proper guidance from your professors and seniors, writing a thesis is just another stepping stone that every student must overcome. If a tiny voice in your head is telling you to take the easy route by plagiarizing, just hit SHIFT-DELETE on that idea immediately.
5. Let’s Not Overdo Healthy Competition
Finally, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself at university. Your strengths and weaknesses will be put to the test almost every semester. Although it can be scary, it’s also a great motivator for you to push yourself and achieve more. Especially when you are surrounded by highly driven students. As it’s an environment filled to the brim with competition and it can be good for you.
However, it’s very important to always assess yourself before you take things a little too far. Healthy competition is great and all but you don’t want to overdo it. I’ve seen many classmates grow distant and even hostile against one another purely because of envy. By the end of the semester, all they’re trying to do is race for the best scores and perfect that GPA. Even if it meant they had to bully their way up.
Center yourself and find people you trust. Not everyone is going to try to bring you down but be mindful of your peers. If you sense some toxicity flooding the group then just find your own pace with others who share your values and goals. Don’t participate in an excessive competition against your classmates because your true opponent in university is only yourself.
Being a university student is all about improving your knowledge, skills, and preparation for the whole new world once you kickstart your career. It’s a great opportunity to find your passion, build your network with great people, and achieve independence. Personally, I found my best friends in university who are still the most driven yet humble people I’ve ever met in my life. They continue to push me forward whenever I stall. I’ve met professors who I can still call today for some much-needed guidance in my work and for a possible post-grad adventure soon.
But most importantly, I found myself in university. I grew more confident and secure about my identity. Now, I am unafraid to live my life fully despite the challenges I face in my current career. I also realize my love of knowledge and I still find ways to learn by subscribing to Skillshare and enrolling in online classes.
To all students, ultimately, I hope that you will find your spark and stride in your own university life. Yes, it can feel super daunting and sometimes scary but I’d say it’s just another rollercoaster ride. It’s up to you whether you want to shut your eyes through it all or scream and enjoy the whole ride.
For further reading, check out these articles on Things You Can Do In University To Set Yourself Up For Success and How to Maximize your Student Life Experience While Studying from Home to help you navigate your university life!