The beginning of the university career is also the beginning of one of the best stages for young people. A period in which studies are only part of the great offer that exists in the university environment. These are years that each student lives in a very different way, near or far from home, but sometimes they are far from everything that does not happen in their faculty. “University is freedom, students should enjoy these years, meet people, do all kinds of activities,” he begins by pointing out David Berna, social anthropologist, professor at the UCM and advisor to the Vice President for Students of the UCM. From the universities a great effort is being made to disseminate all kinds of activities because they consider that in addition to an enriching experience they are an important part of their curriculum for their future employment. Generally students are not aware of everything they have at their fingertips. «They live a little in faculties, in microworlds and they give too much importance, from the beginning, to their future. They live with anxiety ”, adds the teacher. There are several aspects to take into account to make the most of university life.
Learn to love what you study
After a year very worried about the notes, it is time to change the chip. «They have to think that what they are going to learn is part of their life and they must find a way to love what they study. The university is much more than a grade, ”recalls Berna. If the choice has not been correct, there is a possibility to change. It should not be viewed as a negative, as it provides valuable knowledge and a degree of experience that other students do not have.
Go far beyond the curriculum
Theater groups, band, choirs, sports teams, reading, debate, languages … The offer of activities is very large in the university and usually at good prices. “University is life, in general we come from wherever it is, you discover the world and you have to take advantage of it. They are of legal age and have that freedom to do a thousand things that appear to them, also enjoy leisure time, “says the social anthropologist.
Healthy men in healthy body
Universities have very good sports facilities such as swimming pools and gyms at affordable prices. In addition, there are university teams of different sports and modalities, individually and as a team, and even sports competitions.
Tear down all the borders
Throughout the course, students will have numerous opportunities to sign up for stays abroad. Not only the well-known Erasmus scholarships but also other programs that allow young people to leave in periods of different duration and that is also a great experience of life and learning.
Much better in company
The associative part is very important in the university, where there are associations of all kinds. “It is good for students to associate, they are spaces where they meet their peers and meet more people,” says David Berna.
The experience of the colleges
In addition to the possibility of accommodation, a residence hall is a form of active participation in university life. The Asociación de Colegios Mayores de Madrid brings together 40 colleges that bring together 7,000 university students and 1,000 workers, with an educational team made up of 120 people. “University is not just going to class, everything that is generated around it is a vital experience”, Gabriel Beltran, director of the association. “In the company what they are going to ask for is not the grade you have but what you have been trained in,” he adds.
Know how to defend your own ideas
It is not something exclusive to the residence halls but it is true that for nearly ten years a high level has been reached in the debate competition that takes place in these colleges. “The university must know how to defend their ideas and almost all schools do debate and also mediate,” says Beltrán. Already in universities, the most common is to find these groups in the faculties of Social and Human Sciences, and they even compete internationally.
Dialogue with teachers
The relationship between student and university professor has changed a lot, “it is more direct, there is more dialogue,” says the UCM professor. He believes that there is a great openness on the part of teachers, willing to do tutorials at any time and to explain everything that they do not understand in class. “They should take advantage of this accessibility, to exchange ideas and resolve doubts,” he adds.
An unknown defense
It is common for its existence to be unknown but the University Ombudsman is the figure in charge of ensuring respect for the rights and freedoms of teachers, research staff, students and administration and services personnel, in the face of the actions of the different university bodies and services . “If there is something they want to claim, the university ombudsman must attend to them. There are also offices for attention to diversity, ”says David Berna.