Hi everyone, my name is Jeremy Zein and I’m currently a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying Computer Science & Mathematics. One of the challenges in transitioning from high school to university is the change in course difficulty. Depending on what you choose to study, university can be a lot harder than high school. Since classes are generally a lot larger in size, it can also be difficult to ask for help. Therefore, I think it’s important to make sure you have good time management because you’ll likely need to spend a lot more time on each individual class.
The greatest experience in my first year has been having a lot more flexibility and freedom to do things I want. This ranges from the classes I take, the clubs I join and the events I participate in throughout university. Additionally, spending time with friends who have the same drive and hobbies as me is also very enjoyable. The biggest challenge so far has been adapting to a new environment. This includes the difference in culture, as well as things like remembering to do your laundry. It’s also a lot colder here than in Hong Kong, so getting used to that can be a challenge!
My tip would be to make sure you do thorough research on the universities you apply to. I’ve heard of many people who have applied to schools based on rankings and end up not enjoying their time. Make sure you enjoy the degree requirements, location, and overall culture of the university (online forums can help!) rather than purely focusing on prestige and ranking.