Starting your uni journey can be frightening. It’s a whole new ball park compared to high school– you’ve got a new campus to get familiar with, new people to meet and a whole new student life to adjust to.
It can be bloody overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from a high school with just a couple of hundred of students.
Orientation Week (or O-Week or Welcome Week or whatever your uni calls it) is usually the perfect way to ease in to uni life before actual classes start.
You can get lost on campus without the stress of turning up late to a lecture, check out the uni clubs and sign up to sport teams with all your mates, find the cheapest and best coffee on campus and generally just figure out what’s going on before the hard work begins.
It’s normal to feel a little nervy about heading to O-Week, especially if you don’t have a tonne of friends going along with you. It’s definitely worth checking out though, even for a day, just so you can get an idea of what to expect. If nothing else, you’ll probably get free shit out of it, so you might as well head along, despite the nerves.
One minute you’re going to be strolling through campus and the next you’ll unknowingly stumble across a sea of marquees and tables with reps shouting about their club and society, urging you to sign up.
There’s really no pressure to say yes to anything and you’ll always be able to join later in the year but, if you’re anything like me and struggle to say no, it can be a little overwhelming.
If you’re not particularly interested in joining a club or society, or just want to do some research online in the safety of your bedroom, steer clear of walking into any area that has an excessive amount of marquees.
But if you are keen to make the most of uni life then dive right in and see what all the fuss is about. You’d be surprised at the variety of clubs and societies- from a Harry Potter Society to Golf Club, uni’s have it all and it’s an easy way to make friends.
By shit load, I mean until you can no longer carry anything with your two hands and by free stuff, I mean absolute junk.
You’re going to have pamphlets that you’re never going to read, pens that you will chuck out and a deceptive tote that will break after a week, tops.
In saying that, you can occasionally come across some pretty useful goodies. I was given a lot of discount coupons which came in handy when I needed a coffee and didn’t want to fork out a full $4. You can also usually nab a diary, which is always handy to have even if it’s just so you know when holidays are.
But, other than that, most of the items you’ll receive at O-Week will end up in the bin or on your bedroom floor, never to be used.
Quite possibly the pinnacle of O-Week are the big parties and fezzy’s that are hosted on campus. It’s the closest thing we’ll get to the college parties we’ve seen on Netflix shows.
It’s an easy way to socialise and make friends on campus with the help of liquid courage. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Remember, most of these people have no idea who you are which means it’s the perfect time to reinvent yourself. On top of that, considering campus size and the amount of students who will be studying, it’s pretty easy to avoid people later if you embarrass yourself thanks to too many shots at the uni bar.
To smooth the transition, some universities host information sessions and workshops that familiarise you with the uni itself and all the utilities that you’ll probably need to use throughout your degree. The thing is, they can be tricky to find, especially if you’re constantly getting stuck talking to someone trying to sign you up to their club.
Do some research online and see what your uni offers- there can be sessions on studying abroad, how to use the library (not as easy as you think) and maintaining a healthy mind which are all more useful than you realise.
Don’t be stressed, there are thousands of newbies just like you. You’re all going to be bright-eyed, trying to figure out your bearings and take it all in.
If you’re feeling confused about what uni may have in store for you, there are plenty of staff and representatives able to help you out. Or, just look for someone that seems to be equally lost and bond with them over your lack of experience at uni.
O-Week is an experience that will help bridge the gap and give you a feel for the campus life and what to expect. Sure, it can be overwhelming, but it does help settle the nerves. Even just figuring out how to get from the station to campus makes your first real day of uni a heap better.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to enjoy uni life before you’re drowning in exams and assignments- make the most of it.