In anticipation of the academic rentrée The Sundial Press is publishing columns written by current Sciences Po students to advise incoming first year students on the nature of campus life in Reims.
By Mathilde Mousson
2As are your mentors
Even though asking for help on a new campus seems frightening, you’ll soon realize that the 2As (second year students) are your new brothers and sisters. They’ll always be there for any information and help or even just to talk with on Facebook and on campus (even if you’ve never met them before)!
Go out and meet people
This is a fresh start, and you don’t want to waste it by becoming claustrophobic in your new room at Residium. The BDE organizes tons of events, so just go there and meet people. You’ll soon realize that the welcoming atmosphere on campus is a huge part of enjoying your first year. However, don’t go out too often; you’ll need to rest for the end of the semester.
You cannot meet everyone
You may want to know everyone, but you still need to make your marks. Go out and meet new people at the beginning, and keep in touch with them. Still, don’t freak out if you don’t meet your soul mate in the first month. I began to really go out often with the group I’m closest with only at the end of the semester.
Different doesn’t mean better
Congrats, you’re at Sciences Po! Since it is hard to enter this school, we know that every student here is talented. But please don’t forget that you too deserve your place. Being from different backgrounds doesn’t mean that you should have another’s life, and one challenge you’ll have to face is not to compare yourself to others.
Have realistic to-do lists
Remember when you made never-ending to-do lists, when you accomplished your homework in no time? Well, this might not be the case anymore, and it is not a problem. Don’t set goals that are too high, and shorten your daily tasks. Give yourself time to achieve a realistic amount of work, and don’t panic if you don’t work as fast as you used to in high school. You’ll test yourself at first and reach your cruising speed soon enough.
Prepare for the notorious November Breakdown (NBD)
Reims surely is the best city for good champagne, but it is less known for its good weather… So yes, November is grey and cold, and the 2As may have mentioned their NBDs. However, this is not the case for everyone, and the November of my first year was in fact the time that I became more confident in my student life.
Learn to cope with IPs (aka death)
Life is unfair. Some will always have the perfect schedule; others will struggle with the administration forever. As you already noticed, this is the one moment at Sciences Po when everyone is out for himself, but whatever your weeks look like, you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself by participating in the countless associations on campus. And remember that you can still harass the 2As for advice on teachers.
Get to know impressive and accessible teachers
We don’t love them all, obviously, but they do have an impressive background and knowledge. Still, Sciences Po insists on their accessibility and presence at office hours, and they usually are on campus to address questions and concerns. Just as you can ask any 2A for help, do not hesitate to go directly to your teachers.
Mathilde Mousson is a second year student at Sciences Po Paris Campus of Reims.