University is basically just a giant maze of assignments and internet outages, tech problems and course adjustments. As a new student, it can be an entirely daunting world to enter into. Even the most prepared can find themselves lost very quickly in uni life – but as a seasoned university student, I’m here to pass on the things I wish I’d known before starting my university life!
1. Enrolment Can Be Tricky
The thing no one tells you about university enrolments? It’s hard AF.
You might think an internationally renowned university might have a decent tech team, but often times enrolment websites can be badly formatted in and of themselves; then add to that technical glitches, classes not showing up when you search for them, and a maze of majors, minors and complete flexibility of your degree – it can get overwhelming quick.
The most important thing to do is to read the handbook for your degree thoroughly – read it five times, if you have to – and definitely don’t be afraid to contact the student help desk! And if you get started on your enrolment earlier, rather than a few weeks before census, the more time you have to fix your mistakes.
Ensuring you’re enrolled correctly can save you added months of study in order to fix those amateur mistakes you made as a newbie!
2. Check Your Due Dates
Lecturers – those cheeky bastards – have an unfortunate habit of timing all their assignments to be due at the same time. What does that mean, you ask?
It means that one week, you’re cruising; no assignments, no looming exams, only a few pages of pre-readings. The next week? Four assignments, three quizzes, and a group project come at you the day after your Tuesday night drinking.
I swear to you, no matter how organised you think you might be, this moment will happen to you. It’s a part of uni life, no matter if your a new student or a seasoned pro. So no matter how easy you think the first three weeks of university classes are, stay prepared and think ahead!
Even if you only write a few hundred words a week earlier than the due date, it’s better that cramming for the entire assignment hours before it’s due!
3. Living On Residence Ain’t All That
Excited to meet some new people? Looking forward to new experiences and gaining independence as you live out of home for the first time?
Uh, you might wanna take a step back there.
Sure, the good stuff does happen. But living with other people is still hard. Living with strangers is harder. Living on res is a pot full of mess, personalities, and cliques. You are never going to have the perfect housemates, especially when there are so many of you crammed onto campus together!
Expect the mess, remember that not everyone there is going to be your BFFL, and try not to sweat the small stuff!
Someone is going to pinch your milk, dishes are going to pile up, and the bathroom is gonna be a mess. The solution? Put a mini-fridge in your dorm room, buy your own dinnerware instead of sharing the dirty stuff, and keep your toiletries hidden away in your room!
4. Talk To Other Students
Make friends with people in your course. They will help you through the assignments, or at least cry about them with you.
Don’t snub the second or third-year students you might end up living with! They (aside from this article) know the ins-and-outs of your uni and can give you life-saving tips! They’ll know where the classrooms are, or at least tell you to download the ‘Lost On Campus’ app so you can find your way around yourself!
Some of these people will even turn out to be life-long friends, so kick that social anxiety in the butt and go introduce yourself!
5. Don’t Buy The Textbooks (Yet)
Wait a week – wait two, even. Like any big purchase, you want to be sure you’re making a wise decision before investing a couple hundred into those oh-so-necessary textbooks your lecturers want you to buy.
There are many cases when the textbook they want you to splurge on isn’t essential to the course – perhaps the important readings from it are already online, or the textbook is something you can borrow from the library instead of purchasing yourself.
Be smart with your money, because you’re gonna want some spare after you’ve finished your studies!
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Assignment deadline not achievable? Email your lecturer about it.
Is the stress getting to you? Your university has counsellors that can help.
Writer’s block getting to you? Ask your friends for some advice.
No one wants to see you fail. The university staff will always be there in a professional capacity to help, and your friends at uni will have your back!
The thing about university is that no one really tells you what to do – which is cool, but also kind of awful. If a little guidance is what you need to get you on your feet, know that the support systems will be there for you. There’s no shame in asking for help – there’s not a single person who goes through university without it!