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Tips & Resources

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Polytechnic ‘Freshies’: 5 Ways to Start the Semester Right Orientation camps have just ended, and many of you might be experiencing what is commonly known as ‘Post-Camp Depression’ (or PCD). In a matter of days, you will be experiencing the jitters as you proceed towards your polytechnic gates, ready to triumph over your first day of school.

But before we get to that day, it will be good to know in advance some tips on how to cope with new friends, new surroundings and a whole new polytechnic experience. We’ve put together some things that all polytechnic ‘freshies’ must know and do, especially during the first couple of weeks.

1. Relax

You’re eager to make new friends and dive into the pool of social activities. At the same time, you might feel isolated and lonely because – let’s face it – it is difficult to acclimatise to a completely new environment and feel comfortable with unfamiliar people.

Our advice? Relax. Calm down. Remember that everyone else around you is on the same boat as you are in, so no one will be nitpicking your behaviour. Yes, go ahead and scratch your back to ease the itch. You are fine.

2. Download Useful Applications

We swear by the following applications that have made us feel way more productive and on top of things as students:

iStudiezPro: This all-in-one app includes a schedule planner, interactive calendar, overview of all your classes for the day, and even a GPA tracker. Need we say more?

Vocabology: This app teaches users new and interesting words on a daily basis. It provides sentence illustrations and even teaches you how to pronounce words correctly. Vocabology will definitely come in handy when you have to start writing reports and essays!

But while you might be proud of the new words deposited into your vocabulary bank, be careful not to inject too many big words in your first few conversations with new friends. You don’t want to come across as arrogant and standoffish!

Wally: As penniless tertiary students, Wally will be a great tool to help you take control of your finances. It allows you to balance your income and expenses, as well as set monthly financial goals. You don’t have to feel puzzled about where your money is disappearing to from now on!

Instapaper: This resource allows you to save and store articles for reading – offline, on-the-go, and across various devices! The articles will also be perfectly formatted for your viewing pleasure.

3. Find a Study Buddy

Once you’ve settled down after the first week and found people with whom you are comfortable, start picking out a few study buddies (or just one, if you prefer smaller study groups). This group or person should have a schedule that is similar to yours, and must be a serious source of motivation. Your study group or buddy need not be in the same course as you – you just need people who share a similar appetite for learning.

4. Discover the Best Places

By best places, we mean the best place to have lunch, the best place to purchase a refreshing drink, and the best place to study!

When it comes to finding a perfect study spot, find a place that breeds creativity and allows your ideas and thoughts to germinate and flourish. Whether it's a quiet spot in the school library or a cosy little-known cafeteria, ensure your study spot is where you can get your work done promptly and with minimal distractions.

5. Consider Scholarships

Yes, scholarships are not restricted to those who have graduated from their pre-university institution. Current diploma holders are eligible for some of them too! Some examples are The Degree Conversion Healthcare Scholarship awarded by MOH Holdings, and the Infocomm Polytechnic Scholarship (iPoly Scholarship) awarded by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.

If the scholarship you are interested in is only applicable to those who have graduated from a pre-university institution, take note of all its eligibility requirements anyway. That way, you can create good end-goals as you start your polytechnic education, and work towards achieving them. You can view the various scholarships and their pre-requisites on the BrightSparks scholarship portal.

We hope you've found this article useful. With good attitude and planning, your polytechnic journey would most definitely be filled with episodes that will form wonderful memories. Dare to challenge yourself, and remember that growth starts with a decision to move beyond your comfort zone. All the best at polytechnic!

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