Finishing high school and heading off to uni is pretty exciting stuff. You get to experience the freedom of being in charge of your own life ­– a brand new feeling after being stuck in high school.

As fun as it is, this sort of freedom can also be bloody terrifying. It’s a pretty big step and a lot of the time, we have no idea what to expect when we’re diving head first into uni life.

Here’s a couple of things you need to know before you start and, if you want to help yourself out even more, you should head to any open days that are coming up.

1. Your tutors aren’t scary

No, not teachers, tutors. You call them by their first name, and they won’t call your parents when you’re not listening in class or hand in an assignment two weeks late.

You might find them intimidating at first but pretty quickly you’ll realise that tutors are down to earth, keen for a chat and want to see you get through your degree without flunking an exam or bombing out an entire class.

2.  You’re doing it all by yourself

Everyone warns you that uni is an ‘independent learning environment’ and they weren’t kidding. You’re not spoon-fed content, no one is handing you printed worksheets and your teachers aren’t constantly reminding you about the assignment that’s due.

At uni, it’s all on you, so it can be pretty easy to lose your way. Don’t freak out though; it takes some adjusting but pretty soon you’ll be cruising through.

3. Lectures are important

Lectures are the backbone of uni. It’s where you’ll absorb all the course info that you later go over in tutorials (these are your actual classes).

It’s where you’ll take notes furiously, sometimes find yourself completely confused and occasionally be too scared to put your hand up or duck out to the bathroom (you don’t need to ask to go, don’t make the same mistake I did).

It seems pretty safe to skip lectures but trust me – come exam time, you’ll be wishing you’d sat through them.

4. It’s not all about studying

Let me start this one off by saying I’m not advocating you completely slack off and never study. But your uni years have the potential to be pretty damn amazing if you pick the right place.

We all know that when we want to look for a job, employers are going to ask us for a tonne of experience if we want to land the gig. But how are you meant to get experience when you’ve been slogging it away studying for your entire degree?

While you might hear that uni is all about spending time with your textbooks, the truth is that you need to make sure that whatever uni you choose gives you the chance to get out in the real world.

Make sure your degree will give you the opportunity to do internships or placements, go on exchange or study abroad; when you graduate you don’t just want a piece of paper – you want experiences and skills that are going to give you a head start in your career.

5. Making friends is hard

I’m not going to sugar coat it, making friends at uni is hard. The comfort of high school and spending six hours a day, five days a week with your group of mates means we’ve all kinda forgotten how to make new friends. It’s not impossible though.

Go to an open day, find someone looking just as lost as you and start a conversation with them. They might just end up being a familiar face when you rock up on your first day or you two might become besties for life, who knows? Just remember you’ve got nothing to lose.

Finding time to head to a uni open day can be at the bottom of your list when you’ve got assessments, applications and deadlines being flung at you. But heading along to Macquarie University’s Open Day gives you the opportunity to suss out what uni life is actually like.

If you’re keen, you can head here to register and start planning out your day. It’s on Saturday 17 August and once you're registered, you'll automatically go in the draw to win a Macbook Pro - we reckon that's worth registering for. 

Plus, there’s heaps of good stuff happening on the day so, round up your mates, get your questions ready and grab a tote bag to chuck all the free stuff you’ll snag in to.