O-week survival guide

O-week has lots to offer. To get the most out of it, try to make sure you check out all the clubs and societies, they can be a great place to make new friends. Enjoy your new independence, but make sure to keep safe and well. Talk to someone about how you’re going if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

This might help if you're:

  • About to start uni
  • Worried about O-week
  • Want to make the best of your first week at uni
uni girls carrying text books

What is it?

Orientation Week or 'O-week' is the week of orientation activities at the start of the university or TAFE semester. While O-week can be a whole lot of fun, it can also be a time of mixed emotions as you experience new things.

Getting involved in activities

O-Week is a great way to become involved and settle into uni or TAFE and there are often many activities during the week, such as campus tours, bands and parties. There are also things like library tours and course intro sessions, which can be really helpful in getting to understand your new environment a bit better.

The uni experience is yours to design, so do stuff you want to do and stay away from the stuff that doesn't interest you. If you feel overwhelmed remember to take some time out and relax. Check out the fact sheet 'Ways to relax' for some helpful tips.

Clubs and societies

During O-Week there is often a wide variety of stalls set up by special interest and society groups. The groups are mostly uni or TAFE based and have regular social activities throughout the year. Some of their benefits are:
  • They’re a great way of meeting people who have similar interests and tastes to you
  • It’s usually a fairly cost effective way of finding social opportunities- sometimes there’s a sign-up fee, other times it’s free to join
  • You can feel free to sign up to as many groups that interest you
  • If you don’t like it, there’s no pressure to go back

Making new friends

One of the best things about O-week is the opportunity to meet heaps of people who are going through the same transition and may be feeling just as daunted or out of their comfort zone as you. 

During this week, try to summon all your self-confidence and start conversations with strangers who look friendly. If you’re at an event alone, and you see someone else who is alone- go over and chat! It’s during this time when people are most open to making friends so it’s rare to come across someone who won’t want to be friendly.

It can be tempting to hang around with people you already know, but it’s worth trying to make a few new uni friends. School friends are great and can be really helpful with making the transition from school to uni, but don’t be afraid to branch out a bit too. Check out some tips on how to make friends.

Keeping safe and well

For most first year uni students, O-week provides the first big opportunity to feel independent and make decisions on our own. This can be awesome, but it can also result in some risky decision making. Some tips for staying safe during O-week include:

  • Plan your transport- Going out somewhere? Make sure you know how you’re getting home as well. Many unis provide shuttle buses to O-week events, find out where they are dropping off and picking up. If all else fails, just make sure you’ve enough money for a taxi.
  • Don’t forget to eat and drink (water)- When you’re running from event to event it can sometimes be easy to forget to eat and stay hydrated. Food will not only give you energy but will also ensure you’re not drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Sleep when you can- It’s sometimes hard to get the sleep you need during O-week but make sure you get as much sleep as you can. A good nights sleep, or even a nap during the day, will allow you to be at your best and will also minimise the chance of making silly/sleep-deprived choices.
  • Stick with your mates- As well as making new friends, it’s important to stick with your mates and not leave anyone behind. This is particularly important if you've been drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid binge drinking - If possible, avoid spirits and try to be responsible with how much alcohol you’re drinking. Find out more about how to keep alcohol consumption in check in our 'Tips for drinking responsibly' fact sheet. 

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 24 August, 2015
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