By Dana Bou Fakhereddine
You are now officially a student at American University of Sharjah, famously known as AUS. Welcome aboard!
As a freshman, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information you will receive from your friends, siblings and the AUS orientation week. However, don’t stress about it; embrace it instead. It is all part of the university’s experience.
My first day at AUS was nerve-wracking. I had to figure out my way around campus because I could not attend the orientation week. I thought that my brother Firas, an AUS student, will assist me, but I was completely wrong.
“Firas, where is the New Academic Building?” I asked him.
“It is the building that faces the Student Center,” he replied.
I went to that building and noticed that the room numbers started with “ARTS” instead of “NAB.” I realized then that I had been tricked by my own brother! I did not think about it too much because I needed to get to my class. I asked a couple of students and decided if I got three similar directions then that meant the students were telling the truth and not tricking me. I reached the NAB building and I was late to my class. The professor did not ask me why I was late, he just looked at me and said, “You asked a student for the directions, didn’t you?”
When I returned home, Firas asked me, “Did you find the NAB building?”
“Yes, after asking for help,” I replied.
He said, “You need to rely on yourself and figure out your own way around the university. Plus, if I did not do that, another student would have done the same thing; therefore, it is better you got lost because of me.”
To help you find your way and avoid getting lost on campus, here are a few tips:
- Go to banner-> registration menu-> concise student schedule and screenshot the schedule. This will help you know the location of your classes as well as their number.
- Download the AUS campus map.
- Ask students for help and if they give you the wrong directions, don’t fret about it too much. You will laugh at it later!
- Roam around the campus to familiarize yourself with it.
- Remember that the Chemistry Building and the New Academic Building are the same building split in two.
- Understand the following:
Besides struggling with directions on my first day, I was afraid of the number of assignments I had to submit for each course. Like every student, I registered for five courses. At first it was hectic, overwhelming and tiring, but I had to accept that I wasn’t in school anymore.
I attended sessions that AUS provided about managing time, handling submissions, and many more. Even though the sessions were very helpful, I had to figure out things on my own. Therefore, I did the following:
- I took notes during the class and studied them at the AUS library or at home.
- I moved forward each submission’s date to finish everything ahead of time.
- I tried my best to manage my time by having a day-to-day schedule.
- I learnt from other students’ mistakes, such as disrespecting professors, or cheating in exams or submitting assignments late.
- I read the university’s policy that is followed strictly on campus.
Additionally, I kept motivating myself throughout the semester. Fortunately, one of my friends mentioned that if you are taking five or six courses (15+ credit hours) and get a GPA of 3.5 or above, you are eligible for the dean’s list scholarship -- a 10 percent discount on your overall fees. This news motivated me even more. I wrote on a sticky note “dean’s list,” and placed it on my desk. Therefore, whenever I felt I was on the verge of giving up, there was a goal in front of me that I had to achieve… and I did achieve it!
The journey of achieving it was not easy at all because I had to take tough decisions, such as ending seven years of friendship. Some of my school friends thought that I will be able to hang out with them on a daily basis at the Student Center. They were careless about their studies and just wanted to enjoy life. They made fun of me for being a dedicated student and attending university events. Even though I was very close to them, I had to limit and reduce some of my friendships because they were coming in the way of my studies and goals.
As a freshman, you will face similar situations where you must be assertive and confident of your decisions. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Believe in yourself and your capabilities.
Remember the reason you are at American University of Sharjah. It is not for your parents, or friends or anyone. It is for yourself, your own future, and your life!
To learn more, get your Free Ebook on “How to Survive Your First Year at an American University in the MENA Region.”
Dana Bou Fakhereddine is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah.