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Opinion

Find a community

Column — The next five years will be hard. But if you get involved in your study programme, whether in terms of the academic council or the Friday bar, they will also be amazing. This is the columnist's advice to new students.

LAST WEEK 6.973 new students started at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). In 2015, I was one of them. One of the ‘new ones’ I had butterflies in my stomach and was full of expectations and ideas. I am sure that all the new students are just as full of expectations and preconceptions about their new life as I was. When I started, I was sure that it would be really hard work to study medicine, and I was afraid that I could not handle it. So I decided that it was the books and the reading room, that should take up most of my daily life.

AT HIGH SCHOOL, I was involved in the student council, organised the Operation Day’s Work solidarity program for students, and participated in a junior researchers’ project at the University of Copenhagen. This resulted in a packed – perhaps a bit too packed – schedule. The start of my study programme at university was to be a new beginning. Now I had to pull myself together and stop signing up for all these other things. I just had to study.

FORTUNATELY , THINGS CHANGED. Despite my decision to not sign up for all kinds of voluntary associations, I decided after one and a half year of studies to attend one academic council meeting. I just needed to see what they were doing. But I got caught up in it. So I signed up as a representative on the Student Council’s Board, where I now have a seat in the executive committee and take an active part in daily student-political work. It is the best decision I have made in my student life.

The best thing that new students can do for themselves and for their student lives, is not to use 50 hours a week in the reading room. It is to be a part of a community.
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BEING a part of a community is something that is inestimable. It has given me a network, a lot of good friends across different subjects, and it gives me the energy to be good at my studying. Becoming a part of the Student Council has helped to get me through my bachelor’s degree. It may well be that it takes a lot of my time, and for many it may seem like hard work, but it’s worth it.

THE KEY WORD IS COMMUNITY. The University of Copenhagen is packed with different communities and associations, and I have no doubts that there is one for everyone. The best thing you can do for yourself, and for your student life as a new student, is not to use 50 hours a week in the reading room. It is to be a part of a community. Of course, you should do the readings too. But it’s all just easier if you have someone to do it with. At the university, they have far fewer lessons of instruction and often much larger classes than you are accustomed to in secondary school. At the university, you do not find your communities served to you on a silver platter – you need to look for it yourself. But of you find a cool community, then everything just gets a bit cooler.

DEAR NEW STUDENTS, I have some good advice for you: Find a community that suits you. The years ahead will be hard. There is no way around it. But if you get involved in your study programme, whether in terms of the academic council or the Friday bar, then I am sure that they will also be amazing.

Welcome to the club!

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