Ten important lessons you learn in your first semester

June 20, 2016
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Congratulations! You’ve made it through your first semester of university! Was it everything you expected it to be? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing you've probably disocvered is it's not anything like Legally Blonde where you rock up to campus in a Porsche with your pooch in your bag. It’s a little different and by different I mean public transport.

So here’s what you learn in your first sem of uni.

You won’t suddenly have it all figured out

You know when you’re 13 and you look up to 18 to 21 year olds and think, ‘Damn, they must have their shit together’? HA.

If anything, first sem is confusing and can go either one of two ways: A) You enjoy most of your subjects and decide to go with the flow, or B) It isn’t at all like how you imagined it would be.

If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. Stats show that every year, one in five domestic students abandon their university dreams in their first year of study. Why? A lot of reasons like failure rates, greater responsibilities or simply not meshing with uni life. And then there’s the decision of changing courses, subjects or even universities.

It’s OK though, you’re not supposed to have everything figured out in an instant so don’t freak out.

New school, new me

Legit though.

You can go from being the completely quiet high school student to the absolutely cray-cray student who is partying or protesting at uni. Nobody will ever know, except maybe your old high school classmates on Facebook, but it’s not like you’ll see them any time soon.

Everyone’s coming from a world of different backgrounds

We’re talking political, religious, non-religious, activists, freakishly talented, scarily lazy and so on and so forth until you’re no longer surprised by the calibre of people you’ll meet or just see on a daily basis.

The lecturer doesn’t and probably will never learn your name

Neither will some of your tutors or classmates and unless your lecturer doubles as your tutor, you probably won’t ever talk to them either, unless via email.

Using a laptop is just so much easier

You may start off with the classic pen, paper and binder books of loose leaf paper, but you’ll inevitably end up with a laptop, hard drive and really fast fingers. Don’t feel bad about it though, it is a hell of a lot easier to carry around a laptop than a couple of books.

You can survive on $2.50 sushi every single day

Because it saves money, it's healthy, it's good enough and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the hipster food truck that charges over ten bucks for mini burgers and a tiny portion of chips.

“Sometimes I want to drive to uni, other times I’d rather…”

…stand on a packed train, sip coffee and go through Instagram because you really cannot be bothered with parking today.

“No, I can’t cram twelve weeks of content into one week but I’ll try better next time.”

No explanation needed.

Everyone’s just doing their own thing

It’s true. Even if someone’s doing the exact same course as you, things are still going to be different.

Failing is not the end of the world.

This isn’t year 12 anymore, so just passing is OK, getting in the 60s is OK and failing is most definitely OK. Unlike your final year of high-school, you can ditch the subject all together or repeat it without a whole lot of consequence.

Steffanie Tan

Steffanie is studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Monash University.

Image: COD Newsroom, Flickr Creative Commons license