When you start your first year at university, everything seems like a blur. You have lecturers, student helpers and staff giving you a heap of information about classes, campus hot spots and ‘tips’ for your next few years on campus. In o-week, you get the basics of uni, but this list will give you the secret tips and tricks that will help you survive your first year at uni. Keep reading for 20 things no one tells QUT first years…
1. When connecting to the uni wifi, make sure you use the “N” of your student number, not the “0”.
I’m sure the first thing you want to do when you get to uni is to get that free WiFi so you can tweet, Instagram and update everyone about your first few days at uni (without having to pay for data). It took me a few hours to realise why I couldn’t connect to the uni WiFi and it was because I wasn’t using the ‘N’ that is before my student number (on my student card) and leaving out the first ‘0’ when typing in my authorization on my device. This is a simple little tip that people probably won’t tell you about at uni.
2. You have to pay $2 to activate your printing account.
When you first log on to QUT Virtual your printing balance will say -$2 but don’t panic. It wasn’t until I first printed at uni that printing services told me it would cost $2 to activate my account and then add more money on top to add to my balance. It’s a good thing to keep a few dollars on you when you know you have to print at uni.
3. NEVER pay full price for a textbook.
QUT has some great resources such as the second-hand book shop at Garden’s Point and online Facebook groups where you can exchange books with other students. Sometimes you can get textbooks for over half the price, so make sure you check them out first before opening up your wallet.
4. The library stapler scares everyone.
This isn’t so much a ‘tip’ but more of a fact. The libraries have electronic staplers that are incredibly loud when they staple, causing everyone in a 20-metre radius to jump. So be warned when you go into the library you will hear a loud bang every now and then.
5. If you don’t hand your assignment in on time you will get an immediate zero.
Unless you have an extension, or there are extreme circumstances, you will get an immediate zero if you don’t hand an assignment in on time. So make sure you write down all your assignment dates in a calendar!
6. The best computer labs on Kelvin Grove campus are in C Block.
C block is the student centre and because it is so, students think that there would be no computers there – but they are wrong. There are about 25 computers in the student centre that are used infrequently. Every time I’ve been there that have been at least 5-10 computers free so if you can’t find a computer in the library try there!
7. Use your student card on the shuttle bus from KG to GP (or vice versa).
Someone at QUT might tell you that the shuttle bus is free but I only found this out by watching the students in front of me showing their student cards to the bus driver and not paying, so I started doing it too.
8. Get your grades early by emailing yourself your academic transcript.
A few days before final grades a released for a semester you can go on virtual and click ‘email academic transcript’ and you will receive your full (unofficial) academic transcript. Sometimes your grades will appear 3-4 days early.
9. Find a club you like and join.
You’ll probably hear this in your first few weeks but it really is worth having a look at the QUT clubs that are offered. There are writing clubs, Quidditch clubs, political clubs and so much more.
10. Use your student card for cheaper parking.
In certain secure car parks on campus, you can get a few dollars off your parking by tapping your student card – it ain’t much but it all adds up in the end.
11. Try to take public transport to uni (if you can).
Parking on campus is incredibly difficult and can be very expensive. If you can, try and take public transport as it’s cheaper and usually a shorter journey.
12. Join QUT Facebook groups.
Usually, students or staff will make Facebook groups for certain faculties, units or degrees. These groups will help you in a pinch if you have questions and you need answers quickly. Always have a quick search on FB or ask students or staff in your units about any online groups. Your fellow students will tell you things no one tells QUT first years since they’ve been there before.
13. A ‘shortcut’ around ‘Hell Hill’.
Kelvin Grove is a notoriously hilly area and the campus is situation basically on a mountain. To avoid this hill, go through either Ring Road, or Victoria Road (depending where you’re headed) as you have a less steep hill.
14. A list of buses that will take you to the top and bottom of Kelvin Grove’s ‘Hell Hill’.
Another way to avoid ‘Hell Hill’ is knowing what buses from Roma Street will take you to the top or bottom of it. As far as I’m aware the ‘390’ and some ‘345’s’ will take you to the bottom of the hill. Whereas the 66, 330, 333 will go to the top of the hill. A tip to remember is if the bus says ‘via northern busway’ – it’s going to the top of the hill. This has to be one of the things no one tells QUT first years that really helped once I found out.
15. Blackboard will save your life.
Blackboard is something you should be checking every day for updates, assessment or tutorial changes. Lecturers will randomly cancel and you don’t want to bother going into uni if you don’t have to. So make sure you check Blackboard every day. If the professors don’t, Blackboard will tell you things no one tells QUT first years.
16. Get someone to drop you off before exams.
I know I said that public transport is the best way to get to uni, but before an exam you need to be extra cautious of delays, this includes if you drive yourself and try to find a car park. It’s always better to have a parent, friend of partner drop you off just to be extra safe.
17. You will make friends with people in your first few weeks that you’ll probably never see again.
Many students will drop out, change course or will not show up so don’t be surprised if you make friends with someone in your first week and they then fall off the face of the earth.
18. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I know it’s a pretty obvious tip but some, if not most, people don’t like to admit that they are confused or are having trouble. QUT have some great people that you can talk to if you are having any troubles within the university setting our outside of uni. If you ask, they’ll tell you things no one tells QUT first years.
19. Changing/not liking your degree is totally okay.
Speaking from experience, I am someone who changed my degree and am better off for it. I felt that there was a lot of stigma among first years to not change their degrees and to just ‘stick it out’. But what are the chances that you know what you want to do as soon as you leave school? If you aren’t liking your degree look at your options and don’t be afraid to make a change.
20. Chill out, change is going to happen.
Just like high school, university is not the be all and end all of life. Life changes, things happen. Work hard but also have fun studying. Don’t stress if you don’t get the perfect grade. Just make sure that you do the work to your best standard and you’ll do well at university. Now you know the things no one tells QUT first years, you’re ahead of the game.