Don’t be afraid to make new friendsOne thing I was definitely scared to do when I first started university was making new friends. Coming from a very small school, the idea of meeting a new face and having that awkward “Hello my name is…what’s yours?” encounter was not hot on my to-dos list. But realistically, it’s very rare to enter university with the same set of school friends, who are also doing the same course as you. So be prepared to have those awkward conversations. In terms of talking points, you could always start with the generic, “what course are you doing?” But I like to add in something like “what did you do during your break?” That way you start to get a better picture of the person and what they do outside of university. Also, don’t worry about the awkwardness, you’ll get better after a few failed attempts.
A side note… It’s really important to also keep in touch with your new friends! Add them on social media and don’t be afraid to have regular catch-up coffees with them during the semester!
Take advantage of Orientation WeekI found that once classes start it becomes difficult to make longer lasting friendships during lectures and tutorials. You’ll be too focused on what’s happening in class that you won’t have any real time to start a conversation that doesn’t revolve around a SWOT analysis. Not only are you able to attend the faculty welcomes – to meet some of the other students doing your course – but Orientation Week is also jammed packed full of information sessions and social events to kick-start your university experience. Don’t forget to join some clubs and societies!
Peer Mentoring ProgramsSince the social aspect of your university experience is settled, you also need to know a way around your actual course! With your newfound independence, understanding your degree and subjects can become overwhelming. The one thing that I found really helped me during my first year of Business School was the Peer Mentoring Program. You’ll be assigned to a peer mentor who basically acts as a human information bank. They’re usually second and third year Business students who are studying a degree to you. So, since they were pretty much in the same situation as you a couple of years ago, you can ask them a range of questions like “where to get the best coffee on campus?”, “what should I expect on the first day of my lectures?” and even “what’s the difference between a lecture and a tutorial?”
Scheduling is your new best friendOne important thing to master in university is the art of “balance” – and I’m not talking about the physical type. This is where REGULAR scheduling comes into play! (Please place a huge emphasis on “regular”!) I really recommend using a student diary or electronic calendar to start organising!
There are four important things to schedule in:
- Sleep – It sounds bad, but a lot of students forget to have their much needed 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Beware! Don’t forget this during exam period.
- Work/Career Activities – If you have a job, it’s time to pop that straight into your calendar. Even if you do or don’t have one, be sure to take advantage of any career events that the university may have on campus as well!
- Personal/Social Activities – The one thing that many students forget to schedule! Make sure you have time dedicated to yourself, away from your studies. For example, catch up with your school friends or consider signing up to a Yoga class.
- Academic Activities – Use your course outlines as a guide to jot down when your assessments are due. Don’t be afraid to also plan out when you’ll start them too!
By Libbi Le
Bachelor of Commerce/Arts student at the University of Sydney