Hey there! I hope the first couple of weeks of uni are going well for you. Starting uni can be overwhelming, its very difference from school. I know when I started uni I had SO MANY QUESTIONS and even though I had a peer mentor I felt like there were things that were so obvious I just shouldn’t ask about. So from student to student, here is a list of suggestions that might make the transition to uni a little easier.
- Bring a copy of the lecture notes to class. I cannot stress how IMPORTANT this is. Lectures are used to deliver a lot of information and I can guarantee there is no way you’re going to be able to take notes and keep up without the lecture notes.
- You can download the lecture notes off your uni’s webpage and it’s a good idea to do this the night before the lecture. This saves rushing before class or having to negotiate slow network connections once in class.
- Hardcopy or digital? The medium doesn’t matter so much, so go with what you prefer. My preference is to bring a hardcopy so I can scribble all over them as I find that the PDF editor on my laptop is not very user friendly.
- Bring a pen or two. If you like using highlighters bring them along as well. Again, really important that you have these. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is charged.
- Put your phone away! Whatever is happening on insta will still be there after the lecture is finished. I know I sound like a bore but this is really important- class time is for learning and generally things will only get said once. Sure you can go online and listen to your lectures again but that’s not a smart use of your time so make sure you pay attention the first time around. The same goes if you bring a laptop, use it to take notes, not to go shoe shopping.
- Save a copy of the campus map to your computer or phone. You might need to refer to the map a lot in the first couple of weeks at uni so it’s a good idea to keep in handy. Some will even have the major lecture/tutorial rooms labeled to help you out.
- I found it very helpful in the first few weeks to look at the campus map the night before uni to remind myself of where to go. This helped streamline my morning and meant I didn’t have to stress and rush around before class and find my room.
- Speaking of the night before, you might find it helpful to organize your bag, books and snacks before going to bed. Lay everything out, pack your bag (put keys somewhere logical) set aside clothes for the day and have some healthy snacks ready to go in the fridge. This will help ease anxiety in the morning and have you out the door in no time.
Out of class
- PARTIES… SO MANY PARTIES. If you went to O-week you might have noticed that everyone throws parties seemingly all the time. Your friend does nursing and you do law and between the two of you there’s a party every weekend.
I strongly suggest you chose the ones that look most interesting to you and leave out the rest. Late nights and cheap/free booze will eventually take their toll on you, and your studies may suffer. If not your studies, then some other aspect of your life will likely bear the brunt of all your nighttime frivolities.
- Remember that YOU are the most important thing in your life and you need some downtime every week to relax and recharge and while parties are a great way to meet new people they are not the be all and end all of uni.
Side note: Announcing to your classmates/coworkers/friends that you are hung-over from such a rad night is not cool. It is likely that some aspect of your uni or work is suffering due to your hangover and that does you no favors. If you’ve committed to a part time job, have the respect to show up ready to work hard and contribute rather than brag about last night/mope around with a hangover. Stay tuned for a separate post on juggling uni/life/work balance.
- File your notes. Do this after every class. I didn’t always do this in my first semester and I had a hard time studying, let me tell you. I usually have mine set up in a display book, but you don’t have to do this. Find what works for you.
And lastly, do your homework. Have you clued onto the fact that I was the nerdy one in school yet? It is really important to do any readings, questions or other activities that the lecturer sets for you. These are examinable, but it’s not the only reason you should do them.
Readings and lecture content from your first year can be referred to in your second and third year. And it will be assumed that you know what is being referred to even though you read it a year ago; this is especially true of core subjects.
Also I’ve found it incredibly helpful to answer the questions set for each topic you cover as something similar could come up in the exams ;).
So there you have it, my top tips for surviving those fist couple of weeks at uni.
If you have any questions leave them in the comments below, otherwise stay tuned for more student and nutrition-centred content!