Student life: the major differences between your first year vs your final year

December 02, 2016
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Not too long ago you were a fresh-faced campus newbie: keen, nervous and epically lacking navigational skills.

Your enthusiasm faded when the reality of uni’s hardships slapped you in the face – probably in the form of overlapping assignment deadlines.

Things have certainly changed a lot - your caffeine intake has doubled and your sleep patterns have worsened, but there’s a silver lining. At least now the words ‘academic plagiarism’ aren’t so triggering…

Let’s throwback to the little bambi-esque first-year you once were.

The uni bar

Cheap alcohol and awful dance music is a rite of passage for any first-year - and the uni bar is the one-stop destination.

Your first uni party taught you a lot, like to stay away from old ex-students who attend parties with the intent of picking up first-years. Gross.

Happy hour was once your jam, but now when someone asks you to hit up the uni bar you can’t help but be repulsed by that sticky-floored breeding ground.


In your first year you were determined not to skip a single lecture. You brought a notepad to take notes and printed out all your lecture slides.

That was before you discovered the nightmare that is a 9am lecture. Wallowing in bed, pressing snooze on the alarm clock is totally normal. Embrace it.

Clubs and societies

O-Week was a killer time. As a first-year student, you joined all the coolest societies you could find and forked out a small fortune in membership fees.

That was until you discovered how time-consuming uni was and you didn’t show up to any society events after the first few weeks.

Assignments have killed your social life and let’s be real, who can be stuffed travelling all the way to uni for extracurricular activities?


After all those tough lectures about academic plagiarism, you were terrified that you’d be expelled for failing in the bibliography department.

But now you’ve dusted off a few hundred assignments, you’re a referencing pro. You’ve got that Harvard style down pat and you even reference when you don’t have to, because you’re respectful like that.

You = an intellectual dream boat.


Your first year was spent working out who your friends were. Now you’ve got your squad sorted and can rely on them to sign your name during lec attendance when you need to dog class to work on another assignment.

The perks of having uni friends includes venting mutual hatred about assignments and having someone to grab a cider with during lunchtime without looking sus. True blessings…


Your socialite days are behind you as you’ve realised it isn’t financially viable to eat out all the time.

In your first year you tried out the campus hot spots but have since left them behind. Now you search for microwaves and kettles to DIY lunch.

Welcome to the broke-ass student life.

So you’re more cynical now that you’ve been pent up in uni for a few years, but you’re OK with that.

You’ve found your groove, your squad and know your campus back-to-front. Let’s face it, you’re certainly happier as a student than you’d be in the working world.

Eden Gillespie

Eden is an International Studies/Media student at UNSW with a love for breakfast bagels and Louis Theroux.

Image: Giphy