Your first year of university can be pretty stressful – take it from someone who’s already been there, done that – but there are ways to make things easier. This survival guide will give you some tips and tricks on how to make the most of your first year at La Trobe and hopefully help you with the rest of your time at uni as well. So whether you are an incoming student or a current student who just wants to brush up on some useful tips, keep reading for how to make the most of your first year at La Trobe!
Before you even start your course you’re going to want to make sure you know at least the basics about what you’ll be doing and what’s expected of you. Knowing from the start what will be happening throughout the semester will help you work out what you’re going to need for classes, presentations, assessments and exams.
Similarly, once the year starts, completing coursework is going to be a lot easier if you actually show up to all of your classes. Some people like to get through the semester by just reading the lecture overview or watching/listening to a recording rather than going to the lectures, but depending on your course you could miss out on some pretty important information. I’m not saying that this is wrong or that you shouldn’t do it – you do you – but things will probably be easier if you go to class.
Not being in classes also means that you don’t have the opportunity to participate in discussions. Discussions can help you understand things better and allow for you to ask any questions that you may have. Taking notes in your classes can help you understand the content and gives you something that you can easily go over later in the semester when you’re preparing for exams. Some people like to make weekly summaries that can also make life easier.
When it comes to your first year at La Trobe, your institution’s Learning Management System (LMS) is your best friend. This is where you’ll find all of your course content (think lecture slides, prescribed readings, etc.) as well as information about your assessments and supplementary content that will help you do well in your course. This is also where you’ll find the Academic Integrity and Wominjeka modules.
If you need academic help, Borchardt Library runs a ton of workshops to help you with things like referencing and database searching, as well as using certain programs that you may or may not have encountered before. Alternatively, you can speak to one of the Peer Learning Advisors. Legal and financial assistance can also be found on campus if you find yourself needing them.
That being said, we all know that university isn’t only about hard work and being serious all the time; it’s a major life experience. Most unis have their own lifestyles and cultures.
Getting to know people is a good thing to prioritise. If you’ve got friends and/or people you work well with in your course, then you’ve got instant connections for those dreaded group projects. Joining a club is also a great way to get involved in your uni. Not only will you meet like-minded people, but you’ll also get an instant social life thanks to club events.
Final Words of Wisdom for Your First Year at La Trobe
It’s easy to sit here and tell you the ideal way to survive your first year, but not everyone has a perfect experience with everything falling into place from the start. You’ll probably have trouble finding your way around campus (read: the campus is a massive maze, you’ll get lost multiple times) and you might even hate certain aspects of your uni life. The thing is, university is meant to be a challenge, but it’s also a great life experience that sets you up for everything that will come afterwards. When I started my first year at La Trobe, I was told to just do my best and try to have fun along the way. And honestly, I think that’s the best advice.
Oh, and please don’t swim in the moat.