7 tips to acing your first year of uni

There's more to your first year of uni than hitting up O-Week and stocking up on coffee. We asked a third year what really goes down. Image: Shutterstock

Wrapping up Year 12 and wondering what uni will be like? Here’s everything you need to know about nailing the transition from third year student, Hannah Diviney

If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You/someone you love has made it through Year 12 in the middle of a global pandemic and one of the most unstable years in history. That’s a big deal so I hope you’ve been celebrating (safely) now that the exams are over, and the next adventure is about to begin.

University is a big wide world of opportunity (when we’re not doing classes from our bedrooms over Zoom) that can be very confusing and chaotic when you’re not used to it. But lucky for you, I’m a third year uni student who’s picked up a few things along the way, so here are my top tips for starting uni off on the right foot…

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1. Breathe

You’ve got this! Everyone who looks cool, confident and put together on campus has been exactly where you are – a terrified first year who has no idea what they’re doing, so try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s a huge change. 

2. Understand your Course Handbook AND read your subject outlines

A course Handbook tells you what subjects you need to take each semester, which ones are compulsory for your degree and how much space you have to take electives, so it’s well worth your time to sit down and sketch out a bit of a degree pathway if you can. Subject outlines will be your bible. They have your assessment schedule/guidelines, your reading breakdowns and basically everything you need to pass each subject. 

3. Make sure you know how to get to campus before your first day

Sounds obvious, but if you’re driving or taking public transport  practice the trip before day one. You’ll be nervous enough on your first day without worrying if you’ve gotten off at the right station, or taken the turn you needed to.

For uni life updates follow Hannah on Twitter @hannah_diviney.

4. Join your uni’s Facebook groups

These will be a godsend for everything from finding roommates and filling your social calendar to hunting down second-hand textbooks. To find your groups, just search on Facebook e.g. “UOW First Years 2021.” 

5. Go to O-Week

I didn’t go to O-Week… and I regret it! It’s a great week for having fun, socialising and making friends which are super-important for getting through uni because it can be stressful, isolating and lonely at times. It’s much better if  you have people around you that you can laugh with who will happily remind you that ‘P’s Get Degrees!’ when you’re in the fog of an assessment crunch. 

6. Invest in good headphones

These will save you if you’re on public transport every day and are excellent for those “I-don’t-want-to-be-disturbed” study sessions in the library. 

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7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Like I said, everyone has been where you are so if you need help because you don’t know where you’re going, what you’re doing or are feeling overwhelmed, ask. People are there to help you and it’s much better than struggling silently.

Hannah Diviney

Author: Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is a passionate twenty-something writer from Sydney. You can find her on Instagram @hannahthewildflower or on Twitter @hannah_diviney

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