So, you have decided to accept NUS’ offer of admission and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your matriculation card in the post.
Congratulations and welcome to NUS!
In university, (almost) everything is planned for and decided by you. You get to choose the modules you will study, the kind of schedule you want to have and of course, the extracurricular activities you plan to join. We get that as an incoming freshman, this may seem extremely daunting, and hence, we here at AIESEC have put together a small guide of 6 things you should know before entering NUS.
1. Home? Hall? Residential College?
If you have always envied your foreign friends for the freedom they enjoy living on campus accommodation, this is the opportunity to experience it for yourself! At NUS, you have a wide variety of options when it comes to deciding where you would like to stay. The university has on offer 7 halls, 5 residential colleges and 2 student residences, each with their own unique culture and area of focus. For example, Eusoff Hall is regarded for its sports’ prowess, and the College of Alice and Peter Tan is known for its focus on caring for the community.
Residential life on campus is regarded by many as the highlight of their university life, and rightly so. Whether it’s spending late nights having HTHTs (Heart-to-Heart Talks) whilst enjoy supper from Ameen’s or taking part in the numerous activities your hostel has to offer, these are the memories and the people you will grow to cherish long after you have left the university.
To find out more about on-campus living options, do visit this site or talk to seniors who have been through the experience and can guide you on the application process.
2. Familiarize yourself with the environment
NUS is huge. It is much bigger than the campuses of your junior college or polytechnic, and for freshmen, navigating around can be challenging. Rather than leaving it to the first day to learn how to get to your tutorial room or lecture theatre, we recommend that you visit NUS before school begins. Take the time to walk about the campus and familiarize yourself with the routes of the various shuttle buses that ply the roads. This is especially so for students taking Arts or Engineering, as the buildings of these particular faculties are numerous and sometimes quite far from each other.
Apart from your lesson venues, find the time to explore the eating places that NUS has on offer. There are more than 10 canteens and numerous little cafes scattered through the campus which makes it easy for you to satisfy those hunger pangs wherever you may be. We especially recommend the Ayam Penyet from the Engineering canteen and the Laksa Yong Tau Foo at Arts’ Deck canteen. For more food recommendations, local food blog Miss Tam Chiak has created a handy guide here.
3. Join camps
Camps provide a great opportunity to make friends before school starts!
Unlike JC or Poly where you are likely to be part of a small class that allows you to interact with the same people day-in, day-out, in university, you are more likely to make many hi-bye friends. This is because no 2 individuals’ schedule will be the same; everyone will be taking different combinations of modules and have different tutorial slots, even if they are in the same degree programme as you. This is why it becomes important to join orientation camps, as these allow you to find friends you can go for classes together with or just people you can count on as lunch kakis.
Camps also allow you to meet with seniors who can give firsthand insight as to the faculty’s culture, best eating spots and module-planning advice. If you are lucky, your senior might also be able to share their notes/textbooks with you so that you are better prepared for the upcoming semester!
Typically, each faculty holds their own orientation camps, with a few that are university-wide in nature. To find out more, do visit your respective faculty’s website or social media platform, there typically will be information on camps posted.
4. Read up about your course and modules
This is Singapore, and your primary purpose in joining a university is to equip you with the skills, practice and knowledge needed to make a career in your chosen field, hence it is important to spend some time reading through your course info and the possible modules you can take. If lost, turn to your seniors who have been down the same path as you before and are more than willing to give advice.
Since you are responsible for your own timetable planning in university (yay to 3-day work weeks!), here is a nifty tool that almost every NUS student uses in planning their weekly schedules, designed by our very own Computing students.
5. Co-curricular activities
If you thought the days of participating in CCAs were over, think again.
While having a CCA in university is no longer compulsory, you will find that almost everyone has at least one anyway (with a good number juggling 2,3 or even more at a go). This is because being part of a CCA allows you to meet like-minded individuals who can become your support system in university while doing something you are passionate about as well.
If you feel unsure about what to choose from the more than 100 CCAs on offer, why not consider AIESEC in NUS? At AIESEC, we are all about developing youth leadership through experiential learning, volunteer experiences and professional internships. You can choose from 7 departments ranging from Finance and External Relations (FinER) to Outgoing Global Talent (OGT) as you work on real-life projects that seek to help you grow, both personally and professional, under the watchful mentorship of your team leaders.
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We hope you have found this guide useful and wish you all the best in your university endeavours!ours!