OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Sunday, February 1


QUESTION: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a person entering university in September?


  1. ah young grasshopper. Things I wish I would have known in my undergraduate degree (currently a graduate student here at UW)

    - do not buy textbooks at the bookstore (unless absolutely necessary), there are much better and cheaper options amazon, etc

    - try to keep your grades up first year, I didn't really care about my marks first year and by the time I consistently started doing better later on, it was difficult to achieve a high CGPA. Once you take a fair amount of courses your CGPA goes up by a little (1%) when you have 5 + bad credits on your transcript, try to keep your grades up!

    - talk to your TAs and your Professors. One thing I wish I would have done more was to go talk to them about my grades / where I could have improved. If you ever are confused about a concept go talk to your professor or TA, this is a great way for them to get familiar with you as a person and helps in the future if you need references (if you do well in their class!)

    -don't procrastinate, lol still haven't learned to take the advice. It feels so great when you have time to work on something, just sit down and focus and hammer it out

    -try to get involved, its a great way to meet people, whether thats in sports or random clubs on campus its a good way to interact with others

    - ask around for what courses to take. I learned so much during my undergraduate from rate my professor / asking upper year students and my friends about which professors / classes to take, and which to avoid. Got a lot of easy A's through this
    good luck :)

  2. Everything that 1 said and:
    -Maintain what you eat, being near all this junk food can be so tempting. you just have to control what you are eating and how much. The weight ads on super quickly.

    - Get in the habit of getting up early, I try and get up around 8 or 9 everyday, its hard because I usually sleep late . But I want to make the most of the day.

    -Try and read the chapter before you go to class, it'll do wonders!

    -Participate in class, I still hesitate but I realize that no one cares and half the time people arent paying attention .

    - Most textbooks have a pdf version, dont waste money.

  3. Decide if this is actually what you want to do, not what your parents tell you or what society expects of you. It's a lot of money and chances are you won't leave qualified enough to make a lot of money. Is this your passion? Is this going to give your life meaning? There's no reason to live if you aren't alive. Find out what you want and go for it and if university is part of that then I wish you the best.

  4. no one important really cares what you wear
    Sweatpants and hoodies are your best friends

  5. Was just talking to my roommate about this last night, and one of the things I wish I'd realized is that if you live in residence, you owe it to yourself to get out and enjoy all the things we have on campus. Join clubs, take a rec class, do workshops, go to events in the SLC or sports games or interesting public lectures if that's your thing. It's so much more of an inconvenience when you're living off campus (though I still do it) and the convenience of living on campus is something most people take for granted.

  6. - Stop caring what other people think
    - Don't buy your textbooks (if at all) until the third week of class
    - Use your first/second year electives to explore things you're interested in
    - Minor in something that you can excel in and that genuinely interests you. If you ever decide to change programs, this will give you good footing in a program that you can do well in
    - At the start of every week, plan the week ahead. Incorporate the next 2 weeks worth of assignments into time planning, find time blocks dedicated to studying, and find ample time for leisure
    - Don't overdo assignments. There's a point where the marks gained from doing a question isn't worth the time spent. Finding where this point is for each question will save you a lot of stress
    - Learn from your mistakes. If you bomb a midterm, don't stress it; figure out why you failed, and use that knowledge to do better in the future. This is part of the process of learning.
    - If you don't already, read more books. They're easy, portable, entertaining, and can be enlightening.

    And in regards to relationships...

    - Women/men don't care if you're nice, they care if you're interesting. You can be the sweetest knight in shining armour, but if you don't have anything to talk about, you're longest dates will last all of 10 minutes
    - Guys, TREAT WOMEN LIKE PEOPLE. There isn't some sort of secret puzzle or key to unlocking the woman enigma to get them to like you, if you treat them like the human beings that they are, they'll either like your not like you, and if they don't like you, that's ok
    - Rejection is a lesson. Look at what you did, what you could have done better, and the next time you're in a similar situation, apply that knowledge to improve your chances
    - Cultivate a hobby or an interest. This not only gives you more things to talk about and a point in which you can become an expert, but it can open your social circle to meeting new people with similar interests.

  7. Don't waste time. Do you have 30 minutes between classes or before going for lunch with friends? Get out your notes from the classes that week and review them. If you do this throughout the term, you won't have to cancel plans to study closer to exams and you will retain more of the knowledge.

  8. Work somewhat hard, enough to be passing comfortably, unless you're not an engineer. (I think marks matter in that case?)

    Social skills matter more than grades when it comes to co-op.

    Make time to get drunk and meet girls/boys/whatever you're into.

    Waste time doing fun shit. You're going to waste time anyway, might as well maximize it.


  10. -health over grades, its really not worth it in the end
    -make time for your friends; i holed myself up in my room a lot to "study" but i wasn't actually doing anything productive, might as well get out and hang out
    -take electives in something you like or interests you
    -if university life isn't for you, leave and you'll probably be much happier
    -take care of your mental health; find time for yourself if you need that, go out with friends if you need to do that to de-stress
    -to go along with the above point, if you are hella tired then just sleep in, dont force yourself to go to class when you're just going to be zoning in and out anyway, might as well get a better rest in bed at home
    -despite what people say about it being best to be early risers, if you do your best work at night, then do it at night. its prob going to be rare in the future that you get to make your own schedule based on your most productive hours
    -dont be so quick to judge people, dont make someone's one trait into what they are all about.
    -be open minded
    -play to improve, dont play to win -- as in dont focus so much on your failures, think about how you can improve for next time and that's already a good lesson
    -don't think so much on your sad times, remember all the times you were happy too
    -don't bother yourself with what other people think; dr seuss: those who mind dont matter and those who matter dont mind

  11. Some general comments I gave to team members a few years ago:

    - believe in yourself. have confidence in your decisions and take responsibility for them if you succeed or fail.
    - avoid deadbeats, both financial and social
    - plan your career for when you graduate, look and try to predict economic trends for when you complete your degree rather than looking at the now. fields can change in a few years so always keep on top of where you want to go. remember that the fundamentals don't change but the atmosphere can so while you're studying keep up to date with anything currently happening that's relevant to your career path.
    - blaze your own path. sometimes doing your own thing is the most rewarding but it can be tougher than the norm. too many people fight over the crumbs on the floor when the whole pie is untouched on the table.
    - always always always do your research. whether it be what you feel like doing for a career, to how you will achieve it, or who you wish to have as a professor for your courses.

    Then some general advice:
    - have an idea of what you want to do and plan accordingly as soon as possible. don't just blindly enroll and expect to magically find a career before you graduate.
    - keep a rough schedule. nobody is going to wake you up after a night of partying. keep the college/university Hollywood cliches out of mind.
    - challenge yourself rather than feeling like you're being pushed into competing with other students. don't worry about the next guy, learn and improve yourself.
    - don't assume everyone else is out having the time of their lives while you sit and study. partying is fun when you're in university but so much better after when you have massive funds from a career.
    - remember to take the time to relax. meditate, read, exercise, whatever, keep some time for yourself whenever possible
    make friends when you can. avoid those who can't turn off the competition.

  12. if you start smoking weed, you're gonna have a bad time

    1. Or you could have a good time!

  13. Remember that no matter how good you are there's always someone better. Your success will depend on how well you can play the game not so much being the best.

  14. read The Last Lecture

  15. - learn to balance work and play. UW tends to put a huge focus on grades, but in many programs whether you have a 75 or a 95 average will make no difference to your job prospects. take the time to make friends and learn to socialize properly. companies will usually hire someone with average technical skills, but who is personable and friendly, who interviews well and has teamwork skills over someone who can't hold a conversation, is rude, and cannot maintain eye contact, but has good technical skills.

    - use the resources available to you. Campus is bursting with things to do, and services to take advantage of. The easiest one is taking advantage of living in residence. Get to know your don, their entire job is literally to make life easier and more fun for you. If your don likes you, they'll let you get away with things they might bust other students for, and they're an awesome resource for emotional support if you find that you need it. they also know lots about campus activities and stuff. join an intramural, join a club, meet people in your program, get out of your room! you know you're probably just watching netflix anyways.

    - don't go home on weekends. literally the worst idea ever. you shouldn't be going home more than once a month if you want to make friends. no matter how much your mom misses you, a home cooked meal isn't worth being sad and lonely because you missed the essential bonding done over the weekends. this is particularly important for the first semester, that's when people will be looking for new friends. by second semester they've already got an established group, and if you missed out on that early on, then it will be really hard to break into one.

    - accept that the first year is probably kinda gonna suck. you're in a new place, surrounded by strangers (can you reeeally be friends with someone after like 6 months of knowing them?) and you're being asked to work harder than you've probably every worked in your life. it's okay to be sad, or maybe even depressed. it's okay to decide that someone isn't the right friend for you after a semester of knowing them, or that you want to break up with a high school sweetheart. by the time you reach your final year of undergrad, you will look back and barely recognize the person you were in first year. and frankly, that's probably a good thing! you're going to grow up and change so much, and the person you become will be smarter, stronger and happier than before. take first year for what it is; a stressful, busy, fun, whirlwind of a year. embrace it!

  16. If you don't like your program then switch or do something else...don't waste 5 years.