by Emma Gamble

Congratulations, you made it. You pushed yourself through those year twelve exams and now you are stepping into the new world of university. University doesn’t come with a manual, but here are some tips and tricks that have helped to get this third-year student through it. I could go on and on about the expectations and all the fun you guys are going to have, but I feel I need to give you this survival guide, a guide I never got.


  1. Take a deep breath. And another one… Go on, one more. There will be a lot of new information thrown at you for the next few weeks and it will be overwhelming. Everyone will tell you all these new things: where to go, who to speak to and when free food will be offered. Trust me, go to these events (especially the free food); staff and students have put blood, sweat, and tears into these events and it really does pay to go. You will get to meet faculty members that may help you out one day.


  1. You see that map in your hand? Go get a pen (maybe that glitter gel pen with the funky smell) and mark out the following:
  • Your lecture and tute room(s)
  • The café/canteen/uni shop
  • The Library
  • ATMs
  • Where the uni parties are going to be held
  • Toilets


These are the places it’s essential to find and know on your campus. Even the smallest universities have their mazes and hidey-holes, so it’s best to know your landmarks.



  1. Make a friend or two. No seriously, make friends. Friends are great for:
  • Reading over your essays
  • Making you feel motivated to go to class
  • Grabbing a coffee with before or after class
  • Carpooling
  • Talking to (except in the library… not the best place for D&Ms, just saying)


Here’s the thing: you are going to feel out of place and apprehensive about being here, and some of you may have moved onto campus. Making friends makes transitioning into everything so much easier, especially if that friend is someone going through the exact same experience as you.


Okay, you guys still taking those deep breaths? Well keep it up, still a bit more to go.


  1. I feel now is the point I tell you a sad truth: you may fail a subject. Sorry, but it’s true. Don’t freak out, okay? It sucks to fail a semester (trust me), but it’s honestly the best mistake you could make. It is the biggest kick up the legging, but you might need it. Life and uni sometimes don’t balance and you may not study as hard as you should, or not put enough effort into an essay, meaning you get a bad grade at the end of the semester. While I’m not saying fail anything (I want to leave here with a bit of paper), failure is completely normal and how you deal with it will shape the rest of your uni experience.


  1. How can you deal with the stress? Well, check out the local junk mail and see where is selling the cheapest Sour Monkey and go for it… Okay okay, this a temporary fix for your stress. For stress relief gives these a try:


  • Talk to the uni counsellor(s)
  • Talk to your lecturer or tutor about a tricky assignment (most of them don’t bite)
  • Have a study free day, unless you’ve had three weeks of study free days…then open those books

Again these are just tips, if you have any issues take them up with a health professional.


  1. These are the essential items to bring everyday:
  • Phone charger
  • Water bottle
  • Small amount of cash as the café can be very tempting
  • Homemade lunches, those large hot chocs with full cream and marshmallows are VERY tempting
  • Student I.D.
  • Extra bag in case you are borrowing out books that might not quite fit in your bag


  1. It’s okay to be selfish…sort of. You are here at uni because you want to be, so it’s okay to stay in and study or have a night to yourself. Uni is a huge commitment that needs dedication and time, BUT don’t forget to balance life. You still need to socialise and no, Snapchat IS NOT a face-to-face conversation. Meet up for lunch with your new uni friends or old school friends or your other half or that-guy-you-hooked-up-with-once-but-it-got-awkward-very-quickly…. okay, maybe not him… but you get my point.


  1. The big, scary R word: responsibility. You are now responsible for your own studies and no lecturer or tutor is going to chase you for that late piece of work. If you have reasons as to why you can’t hand that piece of work in on time, you can ask for an extension, but that IS NOT an excuse to binge-watch Supernatural…




  1. If you work, you’ll need to find out what will now work with your uni timetable. It may mean dropping shifts (which sucks) or working days you wouldn’t normally. Now is also a great time to start budgeting or learning to save for those rainy days. Then when you finish up a successful first semester you can celebrate.


  1. Tute discussions are awesome. Period. It’s good to get involved in tutes, and remember those elusive friends? They may join in with you and soon you’re bonding over your pets. Getting involved will help with this transition and make it a lot less scary. The first step is the hardest but after those first little stumbles, you’ll be running for that degree.