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Headed to your university’s orientation week? Find out how to make the most of your time there, while staying safe and happy.

This can help if:

  • you’re headed to O-week
  • you’re trying to decide if you should go to O-week
  • you want to know what O-week is all about.
Girl in red jacket going to university

What is O-week?

Orientation week, or ‘O-week’, is the week of activities at the start of the university or TAFE semester. Activities include stuff like campus tours, bands and parties. There are also library tours and course intro sessions.

The O-week (and uni) experience is yours to design, so do stuff you want to do and ignore the stuff that doesn’t interest you. If you feel overwhelmed, remember to take some time out and relax.

Things to do during O-week

Register for 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.

There are lots of benefits from joining clubs and societies.

  • They’re a great way to meet 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 sign up with as many groups that interest you.
  • If you don’t like their activities, there’s no pressure to go back.

Make new friends

One of the best things about O-week is the opportunity to meet other 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 a time when most people are open to making friends, so it’s rare to come across someone who won’t want to be friendly.

Get to know the campus

O-week is the perfect time to wander around the university and get your bearings. Talk to library staff and to volunteers, and get to know the space. If there’s a scavenger hunt happening, get involved! It will really help you get to know your way around once classes begin.

Look after yourself

For most first-year students, O-week provides the first big opportunity to feel independent and make decisions on your own. This can be awesome, but it can also result in some risky decision making.

Here are some tips for staying safe during O-week:

  • 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’re dropping off and picking up. If all else fails, make sure you’ve got 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: A good night’s sleep, or even a nap during the day, will allow you to be at your best and will also minimise your chances 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 drinking spirits and try to be responsible with how much alcohol you’re drinking. Find out more about how to keep alcohol consumption in check from our 'Tips for drinking responsibly' factsheet.

What can I do now?