Connect with other students

One of the best ways to survive and enjoy yourself during first year is to get to know other students. There’s nothing worse than sitting alone day after day when you could have someone to chat with, especially someone who is going through similar experiences and who can provide you with support when you need it.

Sign up for one of the many student clubs or societies that interests you, join the Community Friends and Networks Programme which introduces students to each other as well as to locals and organises fun excursions all year long.

Make it a goal to speak to at least one new person each class – not only will it help expand your network of friends but those connections can come in handy when you have to miss class or need help with assignments.

Remember, just about everyone else is going through the same experience as you of being new and not knowing anyone. And the first few weeks of university is the best time to force yourself to be more outgoing than normal when everyone else is also trying to find new friends and feel more comfortable in their new community.

 

 Get to know your flatmates

You don’t have to be best buddies with them, but in many student accommodation arrangements you are together more than 50 percent of the day and often share a kitchen, bathroom and/or common wall. You seriously don’t want to be on bad terms with flatmates, so even if you’re not that fond of them do your best to get along and include them in things such as eating together, shopping, going to the gym, etc. There may be times when you will be annoyed by your roomies, but being in their good books can prove beneficial.

 

Get an extra hand with study

Joining a study group or participating in the University’s Peer-Assisted Study Scheme (PASS) is a great way to get support in your studies while meeting new friends and having fun (yup – study can be fun)!

Studying alone is not always the best way to go about learning – other students and the university advisors can provide different perspectives and tips on studying new concepts which can really help you learn faster and better. The University’s Student Learning Service also runs a number of workshops that can help you develop better study and English skills. Your lecturers are also good resources – get to know them early on and don’t be nervous to approach them early on if you don’t understand something. They’ll have more time at the start of semester than the night before the exam!

 

Don’t leave all your work until the last minute.

This may seem very tempting seeing as you will have longer deadlines than you did in high school, and longer holidays, but the deadline will soon creep up on you. While it might sound boring, a really useful strategy to avoid the all night rush job and missed deadlines is to get your work done as soon as you get it, or as soon as possible afterwards; this way, your notes are still fresh in your mind and you will have more time for play and relax after finishing work, and will not have that niggling thought in the back of your head about that essay you really should have started a week ago.

 

Get part-time or volunteer work

Some students will need extra money to make ends meet while others won’t but whatever your financial situation, getting a break from university and having some work experience on your CV will help you in your new life. More importantly during your first year it will also help you meet locals, make some friends, improve your English and learn the local customs. Just make sure you don’t take on too much work as your number one priority is passing your studies!

 

Find help early and often

Uni is a new and challenging environment for any person who comes here. The university has seen this year in year out so has put on a whole array of services to help you cope with all the different aspects of uni life from learning how to study for university (it really is different to studying at highschool!), coping with stress, spiritual guidance, help with English, learning all the crazy enrolment and Mylo systems – you name it, there’s someone who can help you. So one of the best strategies for surviving is to take advantage of all the help and resources available to you, such as International Student Advisers.

One of the best things to start you off is to look into the ”transition” programs which are designed to help you and other students adjust to university life. These are usually offered by a combination of either your faculty or the main university campus or student union (TUU) and usually include some combination of orientation week activities, introductory sessions, workshops on study skills such as note-taking and academic reading, written and online resources, and mentor/host programs that link you with experienced students. Seek out these programs and make use of them. You might also make an appointment to see an academic/study/learning skills adviser, who can give you great tips on studying, managing your time and more. This is free and confidential.

 

Don’t let going out consume you or your money

Going out is and should be part of any student’s life! But going out costs money and the cinemas, cafes and pubs will still be there later. Many a student has fallen into the trap of looking at the cost of a single student discounted drink or cinema ticket and thinking, ‘Wow! Cheap!’, forgetting to factor in how much these might cost if they have a few drinks every night or go t the movies each week. Don’t fall into this trap as you might find at the end of the month you can’t afford those necessary purchases such as food and paying bills. Partying may be a well-known student activity, but be aware of others available to you, such as the gym, societies, and club meetings.

 

Develop a sensible coping strategy

Most people that are about to go to University fall into three categories: 1) they can’t wait to get away from their parents, 2) they’re dreading the day they leave the comfort of their own home, and 3) nervous but excited. All of these are perfectly normal and acceptable feelings. Chances are that you will from time-to-time become homesick, especially if something negative happens, such as stress from too much work, a falling-out with a friend, or worries over money. Remember that your parents will be thinking about you as well, and will be more than happy to talk to you should need any help or advice. Some may find phoning/visiting home regularly more therapeutic in helping them cope away from home, whereas others may find limited contact stops them from feeling homesick. Formulate a sensible strategy that suits you and helps you stay productive and happy. Most of all, make sure to keep yourself occupied.

 

Follow the UTAS first year checklists

OK so this list is your top ten survival hints but the University has heaps of experience helping students get through their first couple of weeks at uni at has developed two really useful checklists for new students to work their way through to make sure they are completely prepared. The first checklist is designed to get you on top of things in your first couple of week and involves things like checking that you’re properly enrolled in all your units, know your way round Mylo, signing up for all your prac classes and tutes, and writing up your assignments schedule.

The second checklist outlines all the things you need to have done before Census Date.

 

Learn the lingo!

Arriving at university for the first time can feel like you have landed on a different planet. It’s not just that you may have to deal with a completely new language and accent but suddenly there are all these weird university-specific terms like ‘enabling programs’, ‘foundation studies’ and seriously, what on earth is m/excl?!

Getting familiar with them early on will make your life a whole heap easier. Have a look at the glossary of university terms to help get you started: http://www.utas.edu.au/future-students/important-info/glossary-of-terms.

After that, you can get down to learning the finer points of speaking “Strine” (Australian English): http://www.aussieslang.org/index.php