The main goal of this guide is to ease a little bit of that heavy burden of stress that our new batch of freshmen are carrying on their shoulders. I'm writing this thing mainly because I feel like I have to: I think I'm somewhat indebted to SUB and the whole community of English Philology for making my own freshman year the best year of my life. So believe me, I've definitely been there and done that. Also keep in mind that I'm probably the most pessimistic little troll you ever come across, so none of this praise is sugarcoated at all. Don't stress yourself to death and Don't hesitate to ask for help The single most important piece of advice anyone can give you. If you need help, just ask for it and you will get it. If you didn't take a course you were supposed to take or you drop your fork in Unicafe, it's not the end of the world. You have a hell of a student community around you, ready to help you with anything you need, and also a bunch of great teachers and other university staff to provide you with any information your fellow students can't.
Do give the weird new people around you a chance During the first meeting of our tutor group, people were exchanging awkward looks in a tiny classroom and almost everyone was thinking something along the lines of ”oh God, I'm surrounded by jerks”. Well, don't let first impressions fool you. Try to get to know the new people around you, as they might end up being your best friends after the first week of partying. That's what happened to me, atleast. Another thing to remember is that the scary, older students of the department are actually really easy to approach and getting to know them is really worth the effort. The only thing separating a freshman from a third year student is their sense of humour, as it takes about a month or two for every new student to develop their sense of humour to a whole new level of quirkyness.
Do have the courage to take part in as much activities as you simply canThe best part of being a student is being able to partake in a truckload of awesome activities. Some of the activities might sound like weird or lame, but trust me, with the right attitude and a bunch of awesome people around you, you will have a blast every single time. Don't stay home just because you don't know anyone or because you have a lecture in the morning. Everyone else has once been through what you are going through now, and everyone else has attended a lecture with a hangover in the morning aswell. If you don't want to be out late because you live outside of Helsinki and have to take a train or something, do not worry. Without a shadow of a doubt I can promise you will find a fellow student ready to offer you a sofa, a mattress or a bed to sleep in.
Don't worry about having too much spare time This might sound funny at first, but when I was a freshman, several people including myself were worried because we had so few lectures and so much spare time. It made me feel like I should have taken more courses, but midway through the courses I realized there's actually quite a bit of work to be done at home and studying for several exams at the same time isn't exactly a walk in the park. Take the courses you are adviced to get, if you feel like it's nothing after the first period, take something else. Whatever you do, do not drive yourself to exhaustion and remember to take time off every once in a while to join an epic student party.
Don't drink yourself to death Well, this is an obvious one. Even though the parties are great, the people around you are awesome and the booze might taste good, don't overdo it. If you happen to pass out somewhere, people will take care of you and even clean up after you have puked all over the dancefloor. But the thing is, there's a pretty high chance you will have someone reminding you about the vomit and the passing out the next day or perhaps even the next week. So please, for your own good, whenever you're drunk, try to act like the adult your parents tell their friends you are. Also keep in mind that you are by no means encouraged to drink alcohol at all: my friend is a teetotaler, and she seems to be having the best time out of us all every time we're out to party.
Do take advantage of the libraries and Unicafes around the campus These should be nobrainers, but to many, they are not. First of all, the libraries obviously provide great material for writing essays and secondly, you might even get a course book from them every once in a while. Use them. You can reserve books online and they will send you an email when the book you reserved is ready for you. Easy and simple.
The Unicafe is one of the most overlooked benefits of being a student. For only 2,50 you can get a decent, healthy meal every day of the week. There are Unicafes spread all around the campus, and you can check online for their daily changing menus to see where you would like to eat.
HOWEVER: Don't act like an idiot in the library or in a Unicafe This is a major problem for many freshmen especially. I'm just going to list things you should hopefully realize yourself you should or should not do in a library or in a unicafe:
Do shut up in the library. Don't reserve books you don't need. Do take your books back when you are supposed to: it's really annoying when you are supposed to read for an exam and some jackass forgot to return the single copy of the book you want. Do remember that you will have to pay 1 € per reserved book, and you will receive a penalty up to 10 euros when you don't return your books in time.
Don't waste other people's time in the Unicafe; therefore don't butter your bread in the queue or start counting your change at the cash register. Don't start going through your massive new purse at the cash register to find your wallet. Do think ahead and also keep in mind that extra servings of food actually cost money.
Too long, I know, but I still hope some of you had the endurance to read it all the way through. May your freshman year be even a bigger blast than mine was, and remember, whatever you do in life, never butter that bread in the queue.