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How to Survive First Year at University

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by Evangeline Gardiner (subscribe)
Introverted recluse currently residing in Brisbane, Australia. University Student and aspiring journalist.
Published June 4th 2013
Tips to survive
Starting your first year at University is a daunting experience for many individuals. The transition from high school to University is gigantic and can result in culture shock and other unpleasant feelings.

As somebody who has started their first year at the University of Queensland this year, I have some tips which will hopefully help anyone who has started or is planning to start at University.

1. Familiarise yourself with the campus during Orientation Week.

If you are planning on starting at a big University like UQ, I would strongly recommend familiarising yourself with the location of all your lectures and tutorials, as well as places to eat lunch, libraries, book shops and other important places. There is nothing worse than working into the wrong lecture hall or being lost and turning up late for your lecture because you couldn't find the room. There is plenty of time during orientation week to explore the campus and familiarise yourself with the places you need to.

UQ Campus Map

2. Download any important school-related apps onto your phone.

If you are one of the large selection of individuals with a smart phone, I would recommend downloading any apps which may be helpful to you and which relate to your University. For instance, there is an app called "UQNav" which helps direct you to any building you want and tells you the distance and time it will take to get there. Applications such as this will be extremely helpful to you during your time at University.

3. Get your textbooks as early as you can

If your University has a secondhand bookstore, try and get there as early as you can to see if they sell any textbooks related to your courses. Textbooks can be expensive, however if you don't go to your University's secondhand bookstore early, there may not be anymore copies of the textbooks you want. I would know. I went in the week before lectures and tutorials started and had no luck finding any of my textbooks at the secondhand store.

4. Attend your lectures.

This may sound like an obvious tip, but from my experience it seems there are more people who skip lectures than there are people who attend (at least in some of my courses). I would not recommend doing this as it is easy to fall behind after missing just one lecture. Nowadays, many lectures are recorded and posted online, however you may forget to listen to them or end up not bothering which will significantly hinder your performance in that course.

5. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Asking for help from people can seem intimidating at times as you are not as exposed to your lecturers as you were to your high school teachers and other staff. Although this makes it harder to feel comfortable going for help, you should not be afraid.

Lecturers, tutors and University staff are always more than willing to offer you as much as help as they can. Don't be afraid to e-mail your lecturers and tutors with any questions you may have with the course. I promise they are more than willing to reply and help you as best they can.

6. Do not leave assignments until the last minute

Procrastination, unfortunately, is not a university student's best friend. It is unlikely that working on an assignment the night before the due date will result in your best work. It will become hard as time goes on, trying to balance assessment, a social life and other commitments, however it is in your best interest to try and avoid working on an assignment in the last minute. I strongly recommend creating a plan of your assignment as soon as you get it.

7. Make friends and have fun

This last piece of advice is a little cheesy, but probably the most important. It is most likely that the course you are doing will at least last a few years and without at least a few friends, I can promise you university life will be dull. There is no better feeling than knowing people who are going through the same stress as you are. Making friends who are in your course will open up amazing group study opportunities which will significantly aid your performance in your courses.

On UQ Campus

These are my 7 top tips for surviving University. It is not an easy task for anyone, however with the right attitude it can become a breeze (well, to an extent). Good luck.
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Your Comment
Good advice, especially Tip #2 in relation to today's technology. Such apps did not exist when I attended university, and we were still using those old computer disks to save work.
by Matthew (score: 3|2407) 3025 days ago
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