First of all, congrats on getting into uni.
Starting uni can be really overwhelming – a new campus that feels like another world, new faces everywhere, new classes, and a new sense of autonomy around your studies. Chances are, you’re feeling like a small fish in a very big pond!
O-Week (Orientation Week), or Welcome Week, as some unis are calling it, can get you off to a good start on making the most out of the next few years.
Here’s some O-Week survival tips.
Keep your schedule chilled
When there’s so much cool stuff in the O-Week program, it’s tempting to pack your schedule so tight you can hardly breathe. Only go to the events that really excite you; you’ll be able to enjoy them more if you’re not feeling wasted from trying to do too much. You might even want to sign up for a talk or a welcome lecture to help you get your bearings at the beginning.
Take a campus tour
Get to know your way around. This means figuring out where the food court, lecture theatres and student services offices are. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to find Building 4A five minutes before class, and realising it’s not next to Building 5 and is two galaxies away from Building 4B.
Join some societies and clubs
If you’re nervous about meeting new people, check out the stalls around campus during O-Week for info about the societies and clubs. You can have a chat with other students there about what’s what. The uni website may also have a list of what’s available.
Having stuff in common with other people is the best icebreaker, so you won’t be stuck trying to think of awkward conversation starters. There’s clubs for everything, from theatre and film to forensic science, from capoeira to gaming...We hear that the Chocolate Society is a pretty sweet place!
Grab all the freebies
Starting uni may mean you’ve got less time available for your casual job but more things to pay for. (Free school travel pass, you will be forever missed!).There’s usually heaps of freebies and goodie bags up for grabs during O-Week. You‘ll find things like magazines, stationery, vouchers, water bottles, USBs and lollies. Some unis also have free live music events or parties, and probably even free food(!!) on offer during the week.
When you’re meeting a whole bunch of new, exciting people and going to parties (with free drinks), it can be easy to get swept up in the moment.
Here’s some tips for partying safely:
- Stock up on condoms. You’ll likely find free ones being handed out during the week.
- Have a glass of water between drinks.
- Have a designated driver, or put aside money for an Uber.
Sort out your admin
Get your student ID and timetable sorted ASAP. When you’re already nervous about starting uni, the last thing you need is the stress of trying to enrol in a class that’s already full. There’s deadlines on signing up to classes (and dropping out), so find out what the go is with your uni.
And, you know, a student ID means student discounts!
Find out what you do and don’t need for class
Do you really need three different lab coats and a portable printer? Let’s keep those overloaded backpacks in Year 7, where they belong.
Hot tip: your lecturer will often put the textbook chapters you need online. This means you don’t need to shell out for the whole book and can save that moolah for burgers at the uni bar!
How else can the uni help?
Use the sh*t out of your uni website. All the info you need is on there; it’s the best place to start if you’re stuck with something. Don’t be afraid to call or email student services.
Also get to know what services are available on campus. Most unis have free on-site medical, academic and legal advice. Hopefully, you never end up needing these, but it’s good to know what’s there, just in case. Your uni wants you to succeed and will support you every step of the way!