3 Best Pieces of Advice for new Master Students
Maximino gives you his three best pieces of advice that will make your first semester, and hopefully your whole Master’s degree, a smoother experience.
Written by: Maximino Avendaño Bernáldez
After my first semester at BI, I figured out some things that helped me while studying. I will give you the three best pieces of advice that in my experience will make your first semester, and hopefully your whole Master’s degree, a smoother experience.
Create a study routine
Sometimes, it is easy for us to just go to classes and then hang out with friends or do nothing at all related to school. Being a Master student implies giving an extra effort inside and outside the classroom. It is important to be prepared for all the lectures, so try to read the lecture material in advance. Then go to class; it is where you will get all the good insights from the professors. Later, after every class is over, try to go over you doubts or just make a review of everything covered in the lecture. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with this daily pace, but by creating a routine, everything will be easier.
In my case, I go to BI as if it was my full-time job. After all, it kind of is. I always try to be there as early as possible, no later that 08:00, and stay there until 17:00 or later if I have lecture. During these hours, when I am not in class, I use my time to study, go over doubts, do exercises, get together for teamwork, and do assignments and homework. You can also do this at home if you feel that you are more efficient there than at school.
Creating a routine will also help you to stay organized. There will be many activities that will demand time and attention and there’s no better way to address all of them than by keeping a rigorous and organized schedule.
Pay attention to the office hours
All the professors at BI offer office hours in which you can meet them and go over doubts, review certain topics, and be provided help or guidance in assignments and exercises. Use these office hours. Not all the class material or every single detail can be covered in depth in the lecture. This is why it's very important to clear you doubts and ask questions during this office hours. The professors are always very flexible to set up a time in which all students are able to go and reach out to them.
Something important to take into account is not to wait until the midterm or final exam period to go to the professors’ office to ask questions. Consider that during exam days, their schedule is tighter because all of your other classmates might be looking for them also. Being ahead gives you a head start and allows you to be better prepared to get an A.
Start from day 1
All of us students tend to procrastinate, some more than others, but everyone at least a little bit. In the first semester of your master’s degree the best thing is to start reviewing and trying to get ahead in all your courses before you have all the assignments on top of you. Don’t wait for the first lectures of each class; instead, start reading the material and topics that are included in the course description or syllabus.
Second of all, it is important that you clearly identify how you learn. Are you better studying alone or in a group? In a quiet environment or do you need some noise? Doing problems and examples or reading the theory in the book? Answering these questions might help you identify your study habits and patterns, and will allow you to be a better student from day 1.
Additionally, try to get into a student group, association or club that might match your interests. This will allow you to enhance your knowledge and will give you experience for your future career or job. Remember that employers take into account all the extracurricular activities and the role that you had in them.
Moreover, another good tip is to start thinking about your Master’s thesis from day 1. Some of your professors might start bringing it up early in the semester and throughout the lectures in the semester. They might make reference to some topics and examples that you can probable use for your master thesis. Also, if you define your topic of your thesis, you will be able to focus more in the courses and lectures that are more related to it.
Also, make as many friends as possible. Building a network of contacts at a master’s level will always be very enriching for your future career. Try to find people that are similar to you, but also get along with the ones that might seem very different. You will notice that you can grow as a person while spending time with people that have different backgrounds than you.
Finally and most important, enjoy your Master’s degree at BI from the first day of classes, and your life in Norway in from the first day you get here.
Do not miss your chance, GO NORTH!