Five things you didn't know your uni offered for free

July 28, 2016
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Contrary to what you think, the benefits of free stuff at uni goes beyond pens and sausage sizzles during O-Week. Every year unis fork out significant chunks of funding on student services, and a lot of these are left unused.

Here’s a guide to help you get more out of your uni experience.

Use of facilities

Let’s face it: gym memberships cost an arm and a leg. Unless you’re one of the few who can actually find the motivation to go regularly, they’re not really worth it. Instead, most unis will have gym and fitness centres that offer free classes to students covering everything from yoga to martial arts.

There’ll also be a range of sporting equipment and space that only students can access with a valid uni ID. These facilities usually have informal clubs or tournaments that students can join. And they may even be available for spontaneous ping pong battles between lectures.

Expert career guidance

I’m sure most of us know that most unis offer some form of career guide corner. What you may not know, however, is that this goes beyond things like job boards and meetings with advisors.

In fact, if you do a little research you can probably find more targeted services that are tailored specifically to your area of study or job hunting needs. These can include industry mentoring programs, a variety of seminars that teach strategies to enhance your marketability, and even small group workshops that cover specific skills such as improving your LinkedIn profile.

Advice on volunteering and internship opportunities

Volunteering and internship experience is essential for developing social and career-related skills and connections, but it’s often hard to find opportunities in the professional field.

Luckily, most unis offer a range of volunteering and internship opportunities associated with their student union or administrative office. They include customer service roles, representing the uni at public events as well as organised leadership and communication programs that add to your official transcript.

If you’re lucky, you may even land one of the on-campus jobs offered exclusively to students.

Cross-cultural connections

Uni is a melting pot of people from all different backgrounds, and there’s no better place to learn about different cultures and lifestyles. Given the diversity and presence of many international students, most unis have mentoring programs that link local students to O/S students. It's a great way to enhance your cultural sensitivity and make friends from all over the world along the way.

A work or hangout space

Think of uni as the land of missed lectures and piles of assignments? Well guess what – your campus is actually a great space to use for personal and academic development! Many unis allow students to book classrooms and study areas, offering a hassle-free office or meeting place.

Campus can also be an overlooked hangout space. There’s a variety of location choices, it’s convenient, there’s always plenty of things going on around you, and above all - it’s free.

Uni doesn’t last forever, you guys. There are so many services offered for free that you may not have thought about so do a simple Google search of jump on your uni’s student union page to find out how you can make the most out of being a student.

Jessica Xiao

Jessica studies a Bachelor of Communications at RMIT University. She is an aspiring media producer, burger lover and world traveler.