Don’t ask me how I accidentally ordered a burrito in the middle of a lecture… and yes, I left the lecture to eat the burrito. Welcome to uni life.
High-school leavers… you’re on that break between finishing the biggest education chapter of your life so far, to start a new daunting and scary one that may or may not determine your future. Or perhaps you’ve had a few years away from the books and you’re wondering what to expect from the whole university experience?
Regardless of what walk of life you’re coming from, I remember wishing that a “First Years Guide to University” existed before I decided to take the plunge… so I decided to make one myself!
I’ve tried to cater for different people by asking friends from different universities to take part and write about their own personal experiences. Whether you’re studying for the first time in a long time or just want to know what to expect, this guide is for you!
My Top 5 Tips and Advice
Julia Langton (That’s me!)
Bachelor of Public Relations and Communication (Journalism)
Griffith University, Gold Coast
Click HERE for my Instagram
1) Try and go to all of your lectures
Sooner or later, it seems that everyone gets into that bad habit of, “I’ll just watch it online, I can’t be bothered going”. Even though it’s rather hypocritical of me, one of my biggest pieces of advice would be to attend as many lectures as physically possible. Watching a lecture online is nowhere near as engaging as actually sitting in and listening, and sometimes the lecture capture doesn’t work properly. No matter how lazy you’re feeling, just remind yourself that you may as well not waste a minimum of $6k a trimester in uni fees by just going.
2) Figure out how you learn best!
I’ve had a lot of soon-to-be uni student friends ask me the age-old question… “Laptop or book?”. My answer is… why not both? Figuring out how you best learn and absorb information is the key to your best academic performance. I personally learn better by physically writing things down and revising my own notes in a book. Sometimes I find it’s hard to keep up with the lecturer and lecture slides, so I bring my laptop and download the lecture slides so I can jot anything down that I’ve missed. Learning your own learning habits will be a bit of trial and error in the first few weeks, but all worthwhile in the end!
3) Take advantage of the university student discounts!
One of the many perks of being a uni student is all of the discounts you’re entitled to! It’s definitely worth signing up with Unidays to get some very handy discounts on big brands. Make sure to keep your student ID handy to grab discounts on things like movie tickets and other leisurely activities too.
In terms of public transport, I highly recommend calling Translink to update your go card. Once you’re in uni, you must carry an adult go card… but you are entitled to cheaper fares since you are a student**. Call Translink and provide them with your uni and go card information to be granted the new priced fares.
**ALWAYS carry your student ID whilst on public transport. Ticket checkers will scan your go card and ask to see your student ID to confirm your right to these fares.
4) Uni Etiquette vs. High School Etiquette
High School and University are, naturally, two different ball games. Those coming from High School may especially struggle with this at first because I certainly did.
“You don’t need to ask permission to go to the bathroom or to leave the room”
If you want to leave your lecture or tutorial early, you can literally just pack up your stuff and go. I know, it’s wild.
“You can call your lecturers and tutors by their first name”
I was pretty cheeky in High School and already called most of my teachers by their first name, so this wasn’t particularly a big thing for me, but I can imagine that it would be strange for others.
“If you’re having an off day, you are not obliged to go to university”
This is arguably my favourite part of going to uni. Some days I struggle heavily with mental health issues and cannot physically get myself out of bed, no matter how badly I want to go to class. The leeway and support that uni offers students definitely tops high school in my books.
5) Bring your own lunch/snacks to Uni
I found myself falling into a deep hole of “I’ll just buy food at uni” or “I feel like a coffee/tea” during my first year of uni. So much money was wasted on not meal planning ahead of time and that’s something I really regret. I highly suggest making your own meals at home, perhaps on a Sunday night, and meal prepping for your week (this includes snacks and drinks too!). I don’t care what your mind is telling you, the chances are that you don’t really need that third coffee from your favourite cafe on campus. Make your own coffee in the morning and bring it in a thermos cup to save a bit of extra cash. $3.50 each day really does add up at the end of the week! Everything in moderation.