There are always some things you wish you knew ahead of time. The times I wished I was a fortune teller and could predict my own future were numerous.
This is how I feel about poly. The amount of information and advice you get from Reddit is never enough for the next three years of your poly journey. I wished I knew more; I wished I knew beforehand so I don’t make the same mistakes.
Here are five things I wished I knew before starting poly.
The infamous Grade Point Average (GPA). Every time you ask for advice on poly life, this is the first thing that comes up.
Yes, it’s that important, because it is what you use to get into universities. But that’s not why it’s here.
Keep your GPA high
The point is to keep your GPA as high as possible from day one. Year 1 semester 1 is one of the easier semesters (scratch that, it is the easiest).
But that doesn’t mean you can slack off, thinking you can pull your GPA up in subsequent semesters.
So work hard, take notes, and always attend lectures and tutorials.
The importance of weightage
One thing you’re going to realise is that every assignment, quiz, or project that you submit is going to contribute to your final grade. And each of them comes with a certain weightage. Some might carry only 10%, others, a whopping 40%.
This also applies to your modules. Some modules are pass/fail, while others are graded.
In my first year, I treated all my assignments with the same importance. I wished I knew this earlier, then I could place greater priority and spend more time on those with higher weightage.
Start Work Early
Procrastination. My old enemy. I was a huge procrastinator in secondary school. I got away with studying at the last minute or finishing my homework five minutes before class. I lived life on the edge then, continuing this behaviour while in poly.
Sadly, this point wouldn’t be here if it worked out.
I found myself overwhelmed by my work and it was frustrating. This is because in poly, expect to have an assignment due every week.
Make sure to manage your time well, plan ahead and start your assignments early.
Be Civil and Kind to Everyone
I’m sure you have heard of the dreaded group projects in poly. Everyone is telling you to pick good group mates and stick with people who are hard workers.
However, there are times when you have little choice in the matter. Most of the time, your tutor would just key your names into a generator and spin the wheel. This is why you need to be friendly with everyone around you.
That doesn’t mean that you need to be their best friend. Just be civil with them. You don’t know when you might end up working with them.
When you’re in a media course like me, you soon realise that connections are essential (especially when a pandemic hits). You need interviewees, people to film, as well as people who have the resources you need.
I am an introvert and have a limited group of friends. During my time in my course, I found it challenging to find people from different walks of life.
So my advice to you:
1. Join interest groups and CCAs
2. Make friends
3. Grow your social network and connections.
4. Try to meet people of different backgrounds.
Your Teachers are Your Best Friends
Who is the one person you can rely on while in poly? Your teachers! Teachers in poly are who you go to for help, a chat, and sometimes, even a listening ear! They treat you like adults and are always there for you.
At first, I was hesitant to go up to my tutors for help because I thought that they wouldn’t be willing to help me. But after my first semester, I started becoming more comfortable interacting with them. I started consulting them for help, and it amazed me how many of them were willing to clear my doubts.
So befriend your lecturer! Get to know them! And a tip: they might agree to be your referral for your future endeavours.
I might have some regrets about some of my decisions in poly. Still, my time there has been a fruitful and eye-opening experience.
I genuinely enjoy learning new things and gaining more experience. I have also become more independent and have learned time management.
If you are starting poly soon, I wish you all the best. Go in open-minded, and I hope this article gives you more insight into poly life. Good luck!
Want more advice on poly life? check out some of our other articles:
Ultimate Internship Guide for Poly Students
Polytechnic Survival Guide: What to Know as a Freshie