Read any of the ‘advice’ given to you by the uni you’re enrolled at and it’ll cover pretty stock standard stuff like make sure you’re enrolled correctly and don’t forget to pick up your student ID card.
When you actually start your degree you’ll soon realise that this kind of advice is pretty useless and there’s a heap of shit that nobody thought to mention. Starting uni can be pretty overwhelming as it is, so here’s some helpful hints to help ya get through your first year.
1. Don’t buy the textbook
Seriously, don’t bother. Chances are you’ll only need it for one assessment task and you’re not actually going to read it anyway. Instead, suss out whether the library has copies. If you’re allowed to borrow it, perfect, you’ve got yourself sorted.
If not, photocopy what you need, when you need it. A lot of uni libraries will have the chapters needed for specific classes online anyway, so just do a little digging to find it. If it turns out you desperately need the textbook, buy it second hand and save your hard earned cash for something else.
2. Same goes for the reader
Readers are basically just a massive print out of all the readings and resources for the class in book form. Don’t buy it.
A lot of the stuff you’re never going to use and it’ll just be another thing you have to carry around all day.
3. Avoid wasting cash on printing
For the first couple of weeks you might be tempted to print off your readings, highlight them and keep them in colour coded binders.
Eventually though, you’re going to start to slack off and you’ll realise that downloading the readings and keeping them on your laptop/phone/whatever is just as easy, and heaps cheaper.
4. Suss out free parking
Don’t buy a parking pass straight away, instead, suss out whether there’s any free parking surrounding your campus.
If all your classes are early in the morning, you might be lucky enough to nab yourself an on-street parking spot.
5. Bring cash
A lot of food places on campus either won’t accept card or will have a minimum spend.
ATMs on campus are going to cost you to get cash out and when you’re struggling between pay cheques you don’t want to waste your dollars on annoying fees.
6. Don’t screw yourself over with your timetable
You might think this is going to be the year you become a morning person but if you struggled to function before 9am in high school, you’re not going to be able to get through 8am uni classes.
Play to your strengths and plan your timetable accordingly.
7. You’ll always have work
The sad reality of tertiary education is that no matter how many hours you spend at uni, you will always have something to do. Whether it’s catching up on a lecture, doing a reading or getting started on an assignment, even when you’re at home relaxing, you’re going to feel like you need to be working on something.
8. It’s okay to decide that you hate it
Truth is, uni sucks sometimes. Nobody enjoys their uni experience 100% of the time.
9. If you want to leave, just go
If you walk into the wrong lecture, need to go pee or want to head out early because you’ve got a train to catch- just go. Don’t put your hand up and ask for permission, just get outta there, nobody is going to yell at you.
Also relevant if you decide that your degree isn’t doing it for ya. There’s no shame in swapping courses or leaving uni to do something else; there’s plenty of opportunities out there.
10. Making friends is hard
Finding new friends at uni can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Just be aware that although you’re going to be thrown together with a bunch of people who are studying the same thing, lectures will be huge, tutorials will be awkward and no one really knows how to make friends. You’ll get there eventually, but don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you haven’t made a best friend by the end of your first week.