Reading Time: 4 minutes
I think more than anything, don’t try and fit what everyone else is doing. Everyone’s experience of university is different and yours will be too. Make your own experience, but the only way you can really do that is by getting involved at uni. It’s easy to fall into a trap of uni being the same as studying all day every day. The memories, experience and knowledge you actually gain, generally occurs outside the classroom. Get involved with whatever you’re vaguely interested in and see where it takes you.
For me, the Law Society gave me a world of new opportunities; the UN Society let me travel to conferences at an Asia-Pacific level where I met and learned from delegates from across the globe. That’s not to say that these experiences should interest you, but more to say that without throwing myself into those societies and getting involved, a lot of doors that are open for me now would never have even been visible in the first place.
Khushaal Vyas, Arts/Law UNSW, 5th Year
My advice is to jump in right from Day 1 of O-Week. Sign up for the campus tours and go to course events even if they seem like they might be boring because you are likely to meet some amazing people who you will remain friends with for your whole degree!
Additionally, sign up to all the clubs and societies that appeal to you; most are either free or have a nominal fee to join ($2) and this way, after attending a few events of each, you can choose which few you like the best and want to dedicate time and effort to in the future.
Finally, try your best to keep up with course content on a weekly basis. It’s hard during certain weeks when you’re bogged down with assessments and mid-semester exams but at the end of semester you will be so thankful for the couple of hours taken to do this!
And as a side note, your first days, weeks and months at university are usually a completely novel and incredible experience. But, it is very different from anything you’ve done before and if you find the new structure or environment a little foreign at first, don’t stress too much; it will slowly grow on you and you will eventually settle in and LOVE it!
Simren Samrai, Commerce/Arts USyd, 4th Year
Take care of yourself, and ask for help when you need it.
It’s the most common advice people give you throughout university, but it’s also the most important. It can often feel like someone has handed you ten flame clubs to juggle and showcase, even though you’ve only ever learned how to manage two tennis balls at once (and you weren’t very good at that either). That’s when you need to step back and focus on yourself for a while. See what your needs are and cater to them. If you’re sick, don’t pressure yourself to get better overnight. Give yourself time and ask for help from your lecturers, tutors and peers. If you need a break then take some time off and get support. If the subjects you’re taking are beginning to overwhelm you, then seek advice and assistance. There is no shame in asking for help, so don’t delay it. University is about you, so take care of yourself, learn as much as you can, and have fun along the way.
Sahibnoor Singh, Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) USyd, 3rd Year
University is a big change from high school: Cosy classrooms become massive lecture theatres and lecturers won’t hound you to keep on top of your work. Learning at the tertiary level is self-driven and open to whatever approach works best for you; just remember to maintain those organisational and time-management skills from high school!
Dive into everything O-week has to offer: O-week is the place to be for first years. You’ll have no trouble meeting all kinds of people and forging lasting friendships by signing up to the kaleidoscope of clubs, societies and events there are on offer (Not to mention all the freebies and discounts that inevitability go hand in hand with large gatherings at any university).
Study abroad: Don’t hesitate if you come across the opportunity to go on exchange. A two-week vacation can’t compare to the depth of experience you get living in another country. For me, six months in London included making amazing friends from Japan to Norway, visiting eight countries across Europe and embracing a truly independent lifestyle.
Sudarshan Arvind, Bachelor of Biomedicine, University of Melbourne, 2nd Year
I would tell any incoming uni students to make the most of the social opportunities you’re offered: get involved in things that interest you and especially things that involve your classmates, and as long as you don’t overcommit you’ll find that being around more members of your cohort actually drags your marks up and not down
James Wilson, Economics/Law USyd, 3rd Year
University can be really daunting because it requires independence and a strong work ethic. It’s important to take time out and reflect on progress and achievements. These small affirmations can make all the difference, giving you the confidence and motivation you need to succeed.
Anisha Gunawardhana, Economics/Law USyd, 3rd Year
Starting Uni? Read this!
Top tips from those who've been there and done that
Reading Time: 4 minutes