How to survive your first uni semester

Preparing for IMAT is extremely time and energy-consuming. Once you get in, things can become pretty frantic: you have a few weeks to complete your matriculation, hop on a train/bus/plane, find a house and actually start attending your lectures. 

This can feel incredibly overwhelming. Don’t panic and try to get a moment to take it all in. You just passed an extremely competitive test, and you have a chance to the career of your dreams. Now it’s the time to pat your shoulder. 

Once you start going to class, try to socialise and make friends. IMAT classes are small, i.e. around 50 people, 100 maximum. These are the people you’ll be spending the next six years with: you’ll go on rotations with them, prepare for exams and share some of the best years of your life. You want some friendly faces around! 

On a similar note, make sure to explore the city and find the best spots for a meal or a drink. You’ll need it after a long study day. 

The first semester of the first year usually has a 9 to 5 kind of schedule. This can be scary at first. It’s crucial to understand that what how you manage your time will reflect on your academic progress. The more you plan and stay on track with your exams, the better. 

In Italy, most Universities have “class periods” during which you are simply required to attend your lessons (and rotations later in your career) and “exam sessions” when no classes happen, and you just have to study and sit exams. 

These sessions are mainly three: 

  1. Winter session: around January/February 
  2. Summer session: around June/July 
  3. Autumn session: in September 

Some schools can have an extra session around the Easter break. 

Most of the freshmen fail to study consistently during the semester and end up burning out during the exam periods. 

Our suggestion is to study for a couple of hours every day. Make sure to revise regularly what you’ve learned so far to recall the topics actively. 

Remember that being physically healthy is equally important for your brain function, so try to exercise regularly and take a daily walk (hit those 10k steps!!). 

Finally, you are young and free. Go out with your friends and have fun! 

Good luck!