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Top Tips For First Year Uni Students

I am a great first year Uni Student. I took the time this morning to actually do the math. I attempted my first Uni course in 2009, A Bachelor of Arts, because I had no idea what I wanted to do, except for the fact that I was apparently supposed to go to University. After about six months, I dropped out and didn’t tell anyone. Since then, I’ve attempted a further six university courses, I actually got through two years of one particular degree, but that’s beside the point. I’m actually heading back to Uni next week, to give tertiary education one final crack and with Uni going back next week, I thought I’d write a little top five (very very unorthodox) tips for the new kids heading to UON for the first time, (from someone who’s had six or so goes at it).

1 – If you plan on heading to your 9am lecture dressed like you’re hitting Coachella for the week just… don’t.

Because by the end of the semester you’ll be high fiving yourself that you found a semi clean shirt to wear. No one really cares what you look like, or wear. Especially when you’re trying to balance the thousand books you just borrowed from the library that you will never read, for the assignment you left to the last minute, whilst dodging the swarm of mosquitos that plague campus.

2 – If your influx of cash enables you to buy bottled beer at the bar… DON’T. Drink VB at happy hour like the rest of us.

Look, there will be some people in your new immediate circle that seem to be swimming in cash. They don’t work but they eat out a lot, have brand new textbooks and will happily brag about their next planned oversees holiday. You start to think you’re strange and weird, that all you’ve got in your pocket is a bottle cap, some rusty coins and a paper clip and you’re at the mercy of weekend work and Centrelink. You are not the minority. You are meant to be poor whilst at Uni. If you are the one getting the mysterious influx of cash (from Mummy and Daddy), don’t be that guy to rub it in to your mates.

3 – They don’t say give it the good old college try for nothin’

You (or someone close to you) has decided that you should give this University thing a crack. It might not be for you, and that’s actually ok. But… give it a good crack. Throw yourself into everything you can, find out what you like, what you don’t like and just be honest with yourself. Accounting may have the best job prospects but you failed maths in high school and now you’re wondering why you’re drowning in numbers. But you love to draw, and create, and write, do what you’re passionate about, the rest will come with hard work and commitment.

4 – Mature age students will ask annoying questions, continuously, but they also make the best group project partners. You win some you lose some.

There will be people in your lectures, who sit down the front, interrupt the lecturer with phrases like “well according to my life experience” and “after spending a decade in the industry” or my personal favourite “well I’m old enough to be your mother/father so I think I would know”. This will make you roll your eyes, and feel frustrated and perhaps even ill-equipped. But… usually… mature age students are on time, committed to the work, and make great group work additions. I will say as well this is a HUGE generalisation and as technically a mature age student myself (but hey I will still drink any 18 year old under the table, sit at the back of the lecture theatre and be as ready and willing to learn as proper first years) some mature age students won’t throw any of those comments your way. It’s all about balance people.

5 – No one actually ever cared, what your ATAR was, or how great your gap year was.

For the record, the majority of my adult life has been a gap year, especially if you ask my parents. BUT… going to Uni is all about making a fresh start. After you accept your offer, your ATAR means absolutely nothing. And I’m sure many of your lecturers will happily remind you of this.


So… Work smart, not hard, and your first semester of University will be a breeze. Stay humble and embrace your new found freedom. And I will see you at Uni. Probably dressed in trackies and slippers at the Bar on the Hill (only after midday of course).

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