Leading up to their latest comeback, Sticker, NCT 127 appeared on social media as a group of college students by day and hackers by night. In all the excitement of “reuniting” at the fictional Neo Culture Institute of Technology (NCIT), the group released an array of content on social media, documenting their “university life.” 

While NCIT seems to be a place of pure happiness and talent, in real life, stepping into university for the first time can be daunting. How do I stay on top of my studies? Will I be able to make friends? What if I don’t like what I’m studying? If these sound like questions you’ve asked yourself, then scroll down to find some tried-and-true tips from Team EnVi and make a smooth transition into university life!

Settling Down

Having a comfortable living space is essential for mental wellness, and can help you focus better on your studies. Taking time to create a home away from home (if you are staying in dorms) or creating a healthy study space at home can make all the difference. 

When selecting a residence, it’s important to consider your individual needs. For example, do you need a place that’s within walking distance from campus, or do you not mind commuting to school? Checking reviews or viewing the accommodation in person are good ways to assess if it’s the right place for you. 

If you need accommodations, get the paperwork in as soon as possible.

– Dee, Contributing Writer

Be honest on your roommate survey, so you can be placed with people who actually share habits with you.

– Valerie, Senior Writer

Your dorm doesn’t need to be just a place to sleep during term time. Instead, make it into a homey space for yourself! Bring something that reminds you of home—anything from your comfort items, to your wardrobe must-haves, to your K-pop collection. Don’t forget to check what is or isn’t provided by the residence hall, so that you can list down what you’ll need to prepare beforehand. 

Keeping your area (your room) organized can help keep things in line, but also keeps your mind at ease. It’s your home, so do make it a positive space.

– Taylor, Beauty Writer

NEVER do your homework in bed or your bedroom (if you’re in an apartment). Work-life separation is important.

– Dee, Contributing Writer

If you are living with friends or roommates, it’s natural they might have different habits. Even though it can be a bit of a hassle, communication is the key. Come up with a chore list or roster, so that everyone takes part in cleaning shared areas.   

Set boundaries with flatmates and definitely have a “clean up after yourself” rule, so everyone is responsible for their own messes.

– D, Photo Team

If you can’t resolve any conflicts on your own, remember that there are always people in your building that can help you–Resident Advisors (RAs), the maintenance team, and the receptionists. A top tip: make sure to keep their contact info on hand!

Starting Your Journey

Navigating the campus, getting used to the neighborhood, and attending classes can be an added source of stress at the start of the semester. To keep yourself from feeling paralyzed by stress, staying organized and planning your schedule is the way to go. Take note of important dates and arrange your tasks according to priority. Break down your learning into smaller, more manageable portions rather than cramming all the information at once. Finally, don’t forget to take regular short breaks in between, to help keep your mind fresh.  

Organization, from your room all the way to your classes. Know your degree path. Be on top of things that way.

– Yimika, Advertising team

Do not leave things until the last minute. But if you do, make sure you take care of your other responsibilities (chores, etc.) before you get started. You will feel better having things done.

– Dee, Contributing Writer

If campus still feels like a maze to you, take some time to get to know your way around. Know where your classes are to avoid running late, as it might cost you your attendance, or worse, your entry into exams. Check the dress code as well, because it can vary depending on the university. Certain degree programs or specific venues, like labs, might also have stricter dress codes.

University is a place to start cultivating your ability to take initiative. Unlike in high school where most things would be provided to you, in university you might have to discover things on your own. But don’t feel like you’re alone in all this–universities often offer extensive support services. You just need to know where to access them. Make good use of resources and people like the university’s help desk, students’ support office, your lecturers, and even your classmates. Even if they can’t solve your problems, they’ll be able to direct you to people who can. 

Know your resources on campus. Any mental health centers, career advisors, RAs know who to talk to when you have a question. Never be afraid to ask questions.

– Dean, Fashion Writer 

Don’t be scared to ask for help in any setting. Office hours can be really helpful, but with some professors, you need to really prepare for it.

– Courtney, Advertising Team

Most importantly, entering a degree is not a one-way, no-turning-back path to your future. What you learn along the way is what’s going to open up more options and possibilities for you. With that said, it’s totally fine to take a U-turn and switch your courses or major, or even take a class outside of your major. Allow yourself to try new things and be comfortable making mistakes – take them as lessons you learned rather than failure. 

Don’t be afraid to change your mind! Take this opportunity to explore new paths and figure out what really makes you tick – remember this is for you and your future. Of course, make informed decisions, but don’t feel like you’re stuck in one place or on one path.

– Sabrina, Senior Managing Editor

Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace. Often, students will see their peers know exactly what they want to do in life, and it’s okay if you are still making the decision! Try not to compare yourself to other people. Whatever decision you make will help get you on the right path.

– Sumaiya, Lifestyle Writer

Find a good balance between how much effort you put into your classes and the effort you put into building your career. It is important to remember we are a lot more than just grades.

– May, Fashion Writer

Building Connections  

Aside from your degree, one of the biggest assets you’ll walk out of university with is the network you’ve built. University can be a giant melting pot of different nationalities and cultures, making it a perfect place for you to experience and learn things outside of what you already know. Don’t hesitate to take this opportunity to grow through the people that you’ll meet.

Be mindful and respectful of cultural differences. But, don’t just interact with people of your own ethnic or cultural background because you are missing out on expanding your worldview and personal growth. Be sure to keep in contact with your class or club friends, and professors. You don’t have to be best friends, but an occasional coffee or message does a lot.

– Valerie, Senior Writer

Having a supportive circle of friends can make university so much more fun. Most universities have a welcome week or orientation week, with a ton of events where you can meet people. So many are going to be just like you, new to the place and eager to make friends. Spark a conversation with the coursemates sitting next to you! It doesn’t hurt to have another familiar face in class. Be sincere to the people you encounter, and you’ll go a long way.

Join clubs that you’re interested in! There are usually lots of cultural clubs that will help you make friends.

– Dean, Fashion Writer 

Always stay true to yourself, you don’t need to have 100,000 friends on campus as long as you find the people that make you feel good and help you succeed, that’s all you need.

– Courtney, Advertising Team

In a class of tens or even hundreds of students, it can be challenging for professors to put names to faces. So, take the initiative to make an impression! Asking a question or expressing interest in their research can make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. When approaching professors through email, make sure you understand the basic email etiquette – start by learning their title and choosing the proper closing!

Try to build that connection with your professor. It can make your class easier to understand/enjoyable and that professor will gladly give you a recommendation in the future or give your grade a bump at the end if necessary.

– Yimika, Advertising Team

Taking Care of Health and Mental Wellness

Studies and networking are essential, but nothing comes before a healthy mind and body. 

Try to eat some vegetables and drink water, college is stressful enough without you neglecting your physiological needs.

– Dee, Contributing Writer

Cooking can take up a lot of time, so having some healthy and straightforward recipes ready on hand can be helpful. In addition, meal preparation before a busy week can save time without compromising proper meal time and nutrition.

A balanced lifestyle in university is essential in keeping your mind and body on their top forms. Exercising for 30 minutes, four to five days a week, can effectively improve your physical health, attention, and mood and even helps you de-stress. 

Take breaks when needed. Listen to your body. Don’t get yourself burnt out on academics. On top of it all, your life is YOURS. Please don’t worry if you don’t graduate “on time.” Your time is the right time. A degree is a degree, no matter when you got it.

– Yimika, Advertising Team

It’s easy to lose touch with your feelings because of a busy schedule. Remember, it’s okay to step away from work and reconnect with yourself. Find suitable emotional outlets for yourself—drawing, writing, listening to music, or exercising.

Don’t be afraid to open up and talk to RAs, Counselors about how you’re feeling. If things are getting overwhelming, go to someone to get help instead of bottling up things. Also, make sure you aren’t putting too much on your plate. Your mental health is first before anything.

– Ellie, Beauty Writer

Don’t be afraid to be alone! Take time for yourself to reflect and figure things out.

– RJ, Video Team

Lastly, as silly as it seems, getting enough sleep (seven or more hours per night) is incredibly important. Sleep deprivation can cause a decline in memory and concentration, which is going to affect your learning in the long run. So instead of pulling all-nighters, try getting a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling recharged to finish up your work. 

University might be full of challenges, but hopefully, you will step out from it feeling more empowered and ready for the working world. If it gets overwhelming at times, here’s what Johnny would want you to remember:

For more from our Lifestyle team (and to add a few recipes to your arsenal this academic year), check out our recent NCT 127-inspired NCity Eats!

Thumbnail courtesy of SM Entertainment.