So you have either just transitioned form the dark and gloomy gates of High school and have now entered the sunny and free gates of University, or you took a break from life to settle down a bit, because lets be real life is brutal sometimes, sometimes life just likes to give you a little kick in the back and you end up asking yourself…
“What do I do?”
Either way, you’ve ended up as a First year student in an institution of some sort, and you’re asking yourself these sort of questions…
“Do I really need to spend money on textbooks?”
“What in the earth will a tutorial be like, is like High school? Does my tutor act like my Year 12 science teacher? AKA like a total a***? “
“Will I make friends, or be socially anxious for the rest of my life?”
“I don’t think I’ll make it through the first week…”
“Are lectures as bad as they sound?”
(yes they are, well, some of them at least…)
Either way you’re sitting there the night before your first day at Uni, and you’re just kind of lost, trying to envision what this next day will be like, for the next couple of years or so, but if there’s anything you can do to make your experience easier, here are some random, but some what useful tips to survive your first day, your first week, your first lecture, tutorial, semester, year.
- I’m going to start off by being brutally honest, as a University student, you have now bittersweetly put yourself into a trap, a trap between you and money.
If there’s anything I can recommend straight up, is to get a job of some sort, something casual to help you survive not only fees, but your social life, food on campus, parking, life in general because too many fall into the trap of online shopping during lectures just because Professor John in the front is rambling on about something that you just can’t seem to concentrate on, and of course buying 3 t-shirts for no reason seems like the likely option instead of listening to him?
2. If it isn’t obvious enough, definitely sign up for an Opal Concession card, and make sure you and that opal card and your student ID are always together.
(Because some of those Opal officers can be brutal towards innocent Uni students who were running late for their train back to Sydney from Wollongong that comes ONLY every HOUR, and didn’t have time to top up…)
3. Get yourself a laptop of any kind, or an iPad and that will become your best friend during University.
4. Remember that Reminder application on your iPhone or smart phone, yeah well, it exists…
Take it from personal experience that it helps you remind you things that you promised yourself you’d remember, but didn’t up anyways, it really does become your best friend.
5. Or if you prefer get a Planner/Diary, these work really well as well, and also give you that sensation that you actually have your life organised, even though it may not seem like it.
6. Sign up to those students deals ASAP.
So this can include deals like:
- If you’re into music, (which come on you should be, no doubt), sign up to the student discount on Spotify, only $6 a month, or if you’re one of those, Apple music…
- UNIDAYS- this app will not only give you discounts galore, but for more than just clothing items, it’s got food discounts, competitions all sorts of things, and you find yourself using it more than often…
- Most universities have O-week, and during O-week is when you can sign up to the University’s student discount card/ID etc, and it can earn you discounts all over Campus.
7. One of the most important tips I can give:
DO NOT BUY FOOD ON CAMPUS EVERY TIME YOU ARE ON CAMPUS, IT IS DANGEROUS.
Unless you don’t mind breaking the bank on slightly expensive food on campus, I recommend doing the Primary school, lunch box hack, bring your leftovers, try make meals for Uni, or hit up Woolies or Coles and buy any snacks for under $10 and you’re saving more money there then any other food place on Campus.
8. You’re a coffee addict? You need it in the morning, it helps you study?
Well good luck at Uni, because there’s coffee on every corner, and if you’re someone who’s on campus 4-5 days a week, that’s at least 4-6 coffee’s a week, which usually cost $3-5 depending on size, milk preference etc. And let’s say for one semester there’s about 13 weeks, which is 91 days, which is then an estimated $400-500 spent on coffee.
Scary, and whopping, now of course I am exaggerating as some people only buy coffee when they feel like it, or just never, but for those caffeine addicts out there, I can definitely recommend investing in a coffee machine, or purchasing a reusable coffee cup, which every campus sells these days, and that will save you up to 5-10 cents every time you make that purchase, which can really make a difference in the end.
One of the most expensive items during your University degree.
Some degrees usually don’t require textbooks, but if they do most of them can be purchased at Uni, or even accessed online through the University Library.
If you’re someone who is studying a degree that heavily relies on textbooks every time you go to Uni, the swap and sell facebook page will be very magical for you.
Usually many Universities have buy, swap and sell facebook pages, helping you purchase already used textbooks for a much cheaper price, and if you’re a first year student specifically, many second year students do not need their textbooks from the previous year and will most likely never need them again, so get yourself onto that instead of buying brand new books that can cost you double price.
10. Join as many First year Facebook pages, a page based on people doing the same degree as you, any group chats etc.
It seems silly, but usually if you’re shy and never have the guts to ask questions about your subject, or you need to swap subject times with someone, or you’re just lost and need to see if anyone else is lost and make yourself feel better? These pages and groups help, because there is usually always one person asking the same question as you.
11. Lastly, don’t hold yourself back at University, see it as a fun, exciting, definitely overwhelming and anxious experience, but in the best way possible.
Put yourself out there, make friends, and enjoy this new journey as much as you can, because it can definitely become the one phase in your life that you can sit back and say “those were the days”. (And it’s true, P’s get the degree’s, if you pass swiftly through University subjects, without fails, you got this, as long as you keep that minimum average mark, you are sweet)
There are so many other little tips and survival guides I an give, but these would be my big 10, and as you experience your first year of University, a lot of things may seem confusing and complicated when they shouldn’t be, and in saying so you learn very quickly with the whole idea of how Uni life works, and you learn a lot on the way, but don’t be afraid to ask many questions, because in the end you rather know what you’re doing, rather then be shy, and not know what to do and limit your chances to succeed to your upmost potential.
Now go ahead, and enjoy it all, and welcome to the student life, one that is so beautiful, adventurous, fun and exciting, but also one so disappointing, difficult and aggravating at times, either way we are all in it together.
(I shall end on that cheeky High School Reference, and never mention it again).