With SPM done and dusted, you might find yourself trembling with excitement at the thought of starting college this year. A brand new environment, more freedom and most importantly — no lame secondary school rules! What could possibly go wrong?
But if you thought leaving secondary school meant the end of your #firstworldproblems, you’re in for the ride of your life. Here are some sticky situations you’ll likely face in your new phase of life.
#1. Trying to stay awake in class after a late night out
After very little convincing, you give in to a night out to party despite having an 8am lecture the following day. Lo and behold, you wake up the next morning with a splitting headache, taunting you for your poor choices.
While there is no cure for a hangover except to abstain or drink in moderation, there are some ways to mitigate the damage. Make sure to dig into a healthy breakfast, such as oats or eggs and wholegrain toast to replace the lost vitamins and minerals used to process the alcohol in your body. Stay hydrated with coconut water, isotonic drinks or plain ‘ol H2O to get rid of that incessant pounding in your head.
#2. Waking up to a dead phone battery
You’re all packed for a hectic day of classes, but realise too late that your phone battery is at an abysmal 10% at the start of the day.
A quick workaround this is to pack your phone charger and head to class early to secure that elusive plug point to charge your phone. Alternatively, you could connect your phone to your laptop or a desktop at campus for a quick charge. If you’re stuck in campus without your charger as this debacle unfolds, prolong your phone’s battery life with these power-saving tips instead.
#3. A rumbling tummy in class
The luxury of constructing your desired timetable and carefully choosing your classes to avoid any tutorials before 10am may mean a packed schedule throughout the rest of the day.
To avoid feeling hangry (read: hungry and angry) in the midst of a full day of classes, pop by your campus cafeteria and grab a snack at the start of your day before you get too busy, or muster the motivation to wake up early and whip up a quick snack for the day.
If you can’t function in the kitchen before 9am, meal prep for the week over the weekend to avoid cooking on a busy weekday. You could also make some no-bake energy bars to keep you energised in the mornings if you’re pressed for time. You’ll not only save yourself a few minutes, but also money in the long run.
If you consider yourself allergic to the kitchen but are craving something special, get your grub delivered to your doorstep at the click of a button instead!
#4. Netflix-fuelled procrastination
Amidst the chaos of college, you make the spontaneous decision to catch up with all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones before the end of the week, getting sucked into the vortex that is binge-watching.
While the idiot box is a great tool to help you de-stress, it can facilitate a habit that is addictive and time-consuming. If you find that the TV is keeping you from completing your assignments, work it into your schedule by rewarding yourself with an episode only after you’ve studied a chapter, made notes or finished your tutorials for the night.
Although binge-watching has become the new extreme sport of choice, studies show that pacing yourself whilst watching a TV show enhances the experience.
#5. Being broke at the end of the month
It’s that time of the month when your pocket money starts to dwindle along with all the motivation you started the semester with.
If you find it difficult to make ends meet, spend only on essentials such as food, toiletries and study expenses (e.g. textbooks, printing out your assignments, etc.). You can also try cooking with your housemates to share the costs of groceries. You’ll find that you get more bang for your buck when you’re buying them in bulk instead of eating out for every meal.
And if you’re serious about rectifying this constant cash conundrum, identify where you’re spending the most money. Whether it’s having one too many frappuccinos or making an outrageous number of Zalora purchases, it’s time to be honest about how you’re emptying your pockets and make a budget (and follow through!).
#6. The agony of weekend classes
You’ve lost the mad rush to sign up for all the good classes early (which is an ordeal in itself) and you’re stuck with a weekend class, resigned to the fact that you’ll be dragging yourself to a tutorial every Saturday morning — time far better spent sleeping in.
Make the most out of an otherwise dreadful situation by making brunch plans with your friends as something to look forward to after class. If you usually go home over the weekend, you can use this time to network with your uni mates or get involved in some extracurricular activities. The best part? It can boost your CV too!
There’s no other way to sugarcoat it — weekend classes suck. But behind every cloud is a silver lining!
#7. Low coursework marks
It’s that time of the semester where you’re shaking in your boots because your coursework marks look dismal and all hopes to salvage your final grade are looking pretty dim.
But all hope isn’t lost! If you find that you’ve fared poorly in an assignment or midterm exam, make an appointment with your lecturer to find out where you went wrong and how you can avoid the same mistakes. Check if there are any opportunities to re-do your assignment and find out how you can improve your grade moving forward.
#8. Pulling an all-nighter before an exam
It’s the night before an important exam and you’re cramming a semester’s worth of information into your already overloaded brain whilst vowing to never study at the last minute again.
If you have to burn the midnight oil, try to keep it caffeine-free. You could try studying with friends to help you learn at a deeper level, eliminate distractions while studying and pace yourself for a long night ahead. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and alert too.
#9. Engaging in car wars
Any student who drives to college will likely agree that wrangling for parking spots with their fellow students or receiving a fine for illegally parking their car is a rite of passage for many.
If finding a parking spot before class is a recurring nightmare, consider arriving to campus early (yes, even if it means napping in your car for a few hours before your lecture) to call dibs on convenient parking spots.
“But I can’t even be on time for class!” we hear you say.
If you don’t foresee yourself waking up early enough to avoid these daily parking battles, carpool with some friends to save time, energy and the environment. You could also park at a safe distance and Grab/Uber to campus. Alternatively, ditch driving altogether and opt for public transport instead!
#10. Uncooperative group mates
We all know that one person who only shows up to sign their name on the front cover of an already completed assignment.
If you’re having trouble with a group member, be sure to communicate your grievances to them or help identify any problems they might be having with the subject matter. If you find it difficult to communicate with them face-to-face, consider texting them instead. If you can’t get through to them, approach your lecturer to see if they can intervene or if you can switch members.
If all else fails, you will have no choice but to complete the work on your own. While group assignments can be a pain, they’re also a fantastic opportunity to boost your marks, so you can’t afford to let one group member ruin your grade.
While college may bring a host of new problems into your life, the experience can also build your character, maturity and independence as you learn to problem-solve on your own. So savour your college experience and take it one day at a time. Soon enough, you’ll be a pro!