By the Flying Dutchman
August 27nd, 2017
[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off”]At this very moment, Firsties around the globe are settling in to their new homes at United World Colleges. Many challenges now lie ahead. The IB is demanding, home appears very far away, and in the beginning, everyone is a stranger to you. Fortunately, what seems challenging now, is, in fact, an opportunity for self-inquiry. Indeed, to study on at United World College is a dive into self-discovery. For you to overcome this daunting experience, we have created a few universal tips.
If you have an interest in something, now is the time to explore it.
There is much to thank UWC for, but perhaps most important to campus life is the opportunities presented. Here you can explore exactly what you like. There are so many activities to join – or to start – and the only constraint you have is time. Go explore.
Join what challenges you.
As you arrive, there will be much uncertainty as to which activities to join. Know that no activity is better than the other, and as long as you are passionate about what you’re doing; you are doing what’s right. If you do not know what your passion is yet, don’t worry, try something new and challenging and surely you will find what lights your fire.
The Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns applies to your IB score, too.
Of course, you should remain a respectable IB score, but know that endlessly poring over a textbook instead of spending valuable time with friends or working on extracurricular activities might not always be the right choice.
Take advantage of this time to become the most amazing version of yourself.
Think of UWC as an incubation period, where you develop your skills and character. You are never going to have as many resources, like-minded peers, and opportunities as you do at UWC again – use them wisely. Some say UWC is “life-changing”, but that does not mean UWC in itself is a form of enlightenment. UWC is “life-changing” because it is your chance to decide who you are.
[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off”]Leave your door open on the floors.
It’s one of the best ways to spontaneously meet people and show you are open to new friendships. Better yet, walk into open doors you see on your floor. Everyone is just as scared as you are and will be excited to make new friends.
Recognize that it’s OK to be sad.
With all the pressure of UWC becoming the best two years of your life, it’s hard to admit when you’re not happy. However, UWC is also a major time of transition. For some people, it’s the first time they are away from their friends and family and have to find themselves in a completely new environment. You will probably be lonely at times, and sometimes feel overwhelmed, but it doesn’t mean your UWC experience is any worse than anyone else’s. In fact, these are growing experiences that will probably be most valuable to you later on.
Build yourself, not your CommonApp.
Many students will do CAS or gain leadership positions just because they want to impress universities. However, if you focus on developing yourself as a strong, well-rounded person, you will be far more memorable in interviews and in essays. Also, you will much happier doing what you love. Cliché but true.
Spend some time learning how to communicate.
You’re better off learning how to speak and write clearly and concisely than you are in learning a bit more about your subject by studying an extra hour. Learning how to think critically, apply sound logic, and develop conclusions is the most valuable skill of all.
Ask not what UWC can do for you – Ask what you can do for UWC.
This might sound like certain president’s inaugural address, but going the extra mile to support our community is most valuable. Make an impact.