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Advice for first year university students

The first year of university can seem like a thrilling change after high school. You can finally experience that much-sought after sense of independence, but this new freedom also means that you’ll encounter a new set of responsibilities that you may not have fully learned to manage.

One of the most common issues faced by students at university is learning how to manage your time between studying, experiencing unilyf, work, and everything in between. So how do you make sure that you manage your studies with time to spare for the other things that you care about?

Keep organising your day

The importance of a schedule has probably been emphasised several times during your senior years in high school and many of you will have figured out when and how you study best. Keep going with that schedule and build time around it to experience university life. If you had a ‘why’ in high school, find your ‘why’ for uni – what is your reason for being here?

Take time to experience university life

Your first year of uni is chock-full of new experiences. Take the time to soak it in (COVID permitting). Joining societies is a great way to meet people but so is just saying hey to those in your lectures and tutorials. You’re all coming from different walks of life so take the time to make new friends.

If you’re studying online, find ways to stay motivated

Doing your HSC online may have been difficult. But at least you knew those around you. In university, you’re with a whole new (and MUCH larger) crowd. This can be daunting and de-motivating. But if you take the time to make friends and engage in tutorials, you might find it becoming a lot easier. Once you find your new rhythm, it’ll get so much easier! In the meantime, try different ways to stay motivated and connected and see what works for you.

Stick to those deadlines

Those essays and assignments are coming at you, some harder than others. Start early and read and re-read over things before you need to submit them. Easier said than done, of course but it’s the biggest piece of advice anyone will give you. The urge to start an essay or an assignment a few days or the night before is too real and with everything going on, too heavy. So take the time the uni gives and use it wisely.

Struggling a bit? Reach out for help

Unis are wonderfully helpful to first years and offer things like ‘Peer Assisted Learning’, mentoring, exam-help etc. Ask your lecturers/tutors/mentors where to go for help. You might also find this info on your e-Learning platform or alongside any orientation material. Don’t be afraid to ask. Unis are giant institutions educating thousands of students. There’s ALWAYS someone to ask about something.

That 9-3pm sched may be out the window. But your study sched doesn’t have to be. Ease into the next 4ish years and try to enjoy as much of it as you can without letting too much of that work fall by the wayside.

Good luck!