The time to start school has finally come! Are you ready for your first semester in polytechnic? 

If you’re taking the first steps into this new season, here are a few tips from a senior who is about to graduate after 3 fulfilling years. 

1. Do your research

Why not get wise by doing your homework before school starts (Proverbs 18:15)?

The more information you have, the more you’ll be prepared! And most of this will likely be just a few clicks away. 

Some good things to know would be what to buy, who your lecturers are, where your classes are, when your lessons begin and how to get to school.

Do a search on your polytechnic’s website to find out what items your diploma would need. For instance, some classes might require students to purchase a certain type of laptop or device.

Personally, I also looked up social media to find out more about what school life would be like. I even found guided virtual tours!

Having said that, don’t worry if you can’t locate everything. You’ll get the opportunity to ask your seniors questions during freshmen orientation. 

And even if you can’t make it to orientation, you can still text your new friends in your class group chat.  

2. Reach out and make friends

On the topic of classmates, they’re more important than you think!

There will be times when things in school overwhelm you. It is during such moments where you’ll see the truth of Ecclesiastes 4:10 come alive, as I did.

I am thankful that I had friends who not only supported me, but also became part of my fondest memories during class and after school.

They were the people whom I could sit and laugh with during lunch breaks, the ones who turned mundane projects into fun bonding sessions.

As a very introverted person, I thank God for giving me the courage to approach others in my first year.

Speaking of which, the majority of your polytechnic life will also involve group projects, so being intentional about getting to know your classmates will help you learn about their personalities and passions.

As a very introverted person, I thank God for giving me the courage to approach others in my first year, and I pray that He’ll do the same for you.

3. Seize the chance to try new things 

When I first joined polytechnic, many people in my life encouraged me to join a CCA.

I also had some interest in joining a Christian group, as it was a chance to meet fellow believers and get involved in spreading the Gospel in school

However, I delayed joining it in order to have more time for school work and socialising with new friends. 

Since the next two years became even more hectic, I regrettably never joined a CCA in the end. 

If you have plans to join a CCA, attend camps or start doing something God has called you to do in your school, just go for it!

These opportunities will only be present for a limited time — trust me, your first year is the most ideal period to act on them. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

4. Don’t wait till the end to work hard

One of the biggest changes I faced going from secondary school to polytechnic was the Grade Point Average (GPA) system. 

Gone were the days where nothing mattered except that final exam before you wrapped up your time in your school — instead, the tests and projects along the way affect the grade you’ll have when you graduate. 

Heed the advice of Colossians 3:23 by putting in the effort to do well in every assignment. 

In my experience, the first year was the easiest to score. Most assignments in my first semester could easily be completed in a few days. 

The difficulty spike happened in year two when I found myself having to rush through projects. 

To make things worse, my lecturers started grading us more strictly because we were no longer freshmen. As a result, it was the norm for one’s GPA to drop after the first few semesters. 

While it’s good to enjoy yourself when you still have lots of time in your first year, make sure to find that balance.

Heed the advice of Colossians 3:23 by putting in the effort to do well in every assignment. 

5. Build your spiritual foundation

The final — but most important — tip is to get your walk right with God even before the semester starts.

Expect to face a culture that is very different from what you might have grown up in, where peers and lecturers will have different worldviews.

You could feel completely alone in your faith. You could also encounter people who challenge your values if you’re open about believing in Jesus.

There’ll definitely be moments when you struggle, so how can you emerge from polytechnic still keeping your identity in Christ?

Besides the usual ways like praying or reading our Bible, another way to build a strong foundation is to lean on Christian community.

My cell group kept me growing spiritually for the past three years through weekly meetings and reminders to spend time with God. When I shared about the issues I face in school, they also gave me advice and encouraged me to persevere.

I attended Christian webinars too, which helped deepen my understanding of scripture and equipped me with skills to tackle the culture I found myself in.

Your polytechnic years have the potential to be some of the best years of your life!

You’ll inevitably encounter challenges, but a good start helps minimise any major issues. 

Beyond the practical tips I provided, a vital thing to do is commit your polytechnic journey to God. 

For ultimately “in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

So let your first course of action be seeking God’s will. If you follow His guidance, you’ll never be led astray.

For Jeremiah 29:11 tells us He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.

  1. What are some concerns you have about starting polytechnic?
  2. What are some new things you plan to do during your first year?
  3. Do you know what God’s specific purpose is for you in this season? Pray for it to be revealed and let Him direct your steps as you journey with Him through poly!