The four golden rules for starting uni for the first time

February 20, 2017
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Hijacked has teamed up with the Country Education Foundation to make your transition into #unilyf a little easier. You're welcome.


As the three months of holiday bliss comes to an end, the countdown begins to O-Week and your first ever uni classes. Even if you’re eagerly anticipating a world of part-time study hours, student parties and being a proper adult, you might also be a bit nervous about what to expect. But no need to worry fam – we’ve got a handy guide that will take you all the way from O-Week to final exams.

Take study seriously (but not too seriously)

If you’re coming straight from high school, you might feel like you need an even longer break to recover from those hellish final exams. If you still feel burnt out from last year, make sure you ease into the new semester. The first few weeks of uni will be a lot of introductions, and most likely introductory subjects, so don’t go too hard too fast or you’ll be exhausted before it even hits assignment time.

On the other hand, don’t treat intro subjects like they’re a bludge. If you put in the effort, you can score yourself a D or a HD in the easier subjects. They’re also introductory for a reason – they will teach you the basics which you’ll most likely need to know for the harder subjects. You won’t be spoon-fed like in high school, but it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help.

If you want to succeed this sem, take advantage of the resources available to you. Uni libraries will have a world of helpful assignment resources and will most likely have your textbooks if you can’t afford to buy all of them.

Get your budget sorted early

Before the sem gets too busy, get your finances sorted now. If you start getting into good habits with your money now, you’ll find it easier to save when uni gets hectic and it’s the last thing on your mind. There are apps that can help you manage your money, keep track of your spending and even help you score student discounts.

Although studying often means cutting down on hours at your part-time job, even putting aside a small amount of money can assist you in the long run. Buying a coffee every single day can add up to over $1000 in a year, so it might be something to consider cutting back on. If you can save as little as $20 a week, that’s $1000 you can put towards a holiday in your uni break.

If you’re struggling with money or you’re not sure how to budget for the semester, there’s a lot of support available when it comes to financial assistance.

Know who to go to for support

Starting uni for the first time and coping with a different workload than you’re used to can be stressful for even the most organised students. It’s important to create a good balance between work, study and pleasure so you don’t burn out.

It’s important you’re aware of the services available to you in case you ever need to use them. If you feel as though stress is impacting your mental wellbeing, there’s a huge support network of contacts who can help you.

Master the household basics

If you’re living out of home for the first time, you might be feeling overwhelmed with the costs. Whether you’re living on campus or off, learn to master the basics now so your living situation doesn’t impact your student experience.

To cut down costs when you’re moving out, use sources like charity shops and online sites like Freecycle or Gumtree for cheaper second-hand items. When you’re a student all you need is the basics, so make sure you’re buying essentials before unnecessary luxury items.

Most importantly, if you’ve just moved out you should know what your rights are as a renter. If you suspect your living situation or landlord are a bit dodgy, take the issue up with a body like Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading.

Lauren Piggott

Image: Clueless official Facebook page


The Country Education Foundation has put together a handy and comprehensive survival guide for students starting uni for the first time. You can check out more here.