If there is a psychological term to explain the constant process of getting familiarised and saying goodbye to the people and the things we just got familiar with, it is indeed a term to grasp IBCoM. Being a student at a research university requires us to work extra hard in a limited amount of time. In 8 weeks, students not only have to familiarize themselves with a whole new way of studying for specific courses, but also new teachers, friends and group mates. Studying has never been more challenging, especially for some of my introverted friends who would work better with less amount of stress coming from socialization.
Each course has specific sets of instructing styles and therefore requires students to adjust their study plans accordingly. For example, there are courses that focus mainly on lectures whilst the others prioritize literature. Getting used to all of these differences takes time, and right at the moment we begin to understand them, term 2 arrives. First, it’s time for a farewell. We have to say goodbye to teachers that have just begun to remember our names along with twenty other ones per class. We also have to say goodbye to a large number of classmates as they might not be in the same class next term. Au revoir is also delivered to the old styles of studying and course materials to welcome new ones. For most people, as such changes are inevitable, they get used to it and move on quickly. However, for students who would be more comfortable in a familiarized environment, moving onto a whole new term with the unforeseen would give them a fright.
My go-to advice, as a second-year IBCoM student is: be prepared. Being prepared doesn’t necessarily mean purchasing all those expensive books, but rather letting your true emotions sink in so that you’re both mentally and physically prepared. When entering a new term, it’s natural for us to feel anxious when our peers seem to have everything figured out already. Our job is not to obscure those feelings but rather accept that we, as humans, do possess such negative thoughts and will find out ways that work for our own situation.
What I usually do at the very beginning of the first week is to read the different course guides carefully. Reading and highlighting the things that I am still not sure about (e.g deadlines, study topics), gives me an overview of what the course would look like in the second term and thus gradually develop my understanding on how to adapt to it. Next, another important step is to fill out our monthly calendar immediately with upcoming deadlines as soon as we read the course guide. Many of my peers expressed gratitude as this step had helped them refrain from forgetting any important deadlines and plan out their schedules more efficiently. With necessary information now in our control, I can sense a feeling of relief as well as accomplishment running through my veins, motivating me to complete all the next steps. Finally, I would bring all of my questions to the first lecture or tutorial and have them answered by the teachers. As my lecturer said: “The only silly questions are those that are never asked.”, don’t be afraid to let them know your concern. Your questions are by no means “silly”, instead, they help show the teachers how you care about the course and actually want to understand it in an in-depth manner.
Moving onto a new term can be terrifying. However, as life is ever-changing, such a challenge at school would help equip us with skills compatible for more important transitions or changes in life. You got this! Take baby steps and keep moving forward. “One day, you’ll realise you’re at the top already!”.
Author: Ellie Duong Dao
Editor: Phoebe Elliott
Visuals by: Jülide Aytuğ