The pre-uni checklist for all first-year students

February 21, 2017
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First year is one of the best years of your uni life. Your newfound student life is a world of challenge and excitement, forcing you to step outside your comfort zone and become more independent than ever. In these first months of study you’ll meet rich and colourful characters, learn of the amazing careers that lie ahead and be blown away by the intelligence of your guiding academics.

But with all this change comes adjustment and sometimes adjusting can be hard. To make it easier for yourself, you need to make sure you’re prepared. There are a lot of things you can get sorted before semester starts that'll make your time on campus a hell of a lot easier.

Organise your artillery

It’s a fairly obvious tip, but having supplies ready before semester starts is not only organised, but also provides inspo to get learnin’. I’m talking the usual pens, notebooks and textbooks. Textbooks are particularly important to have early, because not only will you often need them for your first class, but if you give yourself enough time you might be able to find a second-hand copy for half the price!

Start budgeting

Chances are that when uni starts up, money goes down. It comes down to a simple equation – lots of study + little shifts = broke. So, you gotta get thrifty. If you don’t have them already, coffee KeepCups and Tupperware (or a cheaper equivalent) will become your BFFLs. As much as barista made lattes and café lunches are a treat, you should keep them as that and save some dosh throughout the semester.

Clubs are cool

In a ton of American college movies, they give the impression that only geeks and freaks join clubs. First of all, geeks and freaks don’t exist at uni (at least no one uses these labels any more) and second of all, they’re the perfect way to meet classmates with similar interests. All uni websites should have links to the clubs and sporting groups they have on offer, so do your research and visit their tents during O-Week.

Speaking of uni websites…

Each uni has a unique website that holds class plans, mail services, recorded lectures, assignments and more. The staff make them pretty easy to navigate, but there’s no harm in having a squizz and getting ahead. Plus, you’ll get to have a sneak peek at what you’ll be doing this semester.

Plan it out

Once you’ve checked out the online services, you will be able to see when everything is due. In order to manage workloads and maintain important things like sleep and a social life, time management is a must. I like to write a list of due dates on a piece of paper and tack it to my wall. That way you’ll always know what’s up next and when you should be doing it.

How you’re gonna get there

All this stuff is well and good, but you’ve gotta get to uni first. There’s a ton of ways to get to and from your campus, that’s up to you, but make sure you learn how to get there on time. Walking into a lecture theatre late is pretty awkward, and heaps of tutorials grade you on attendance. If you’re prone to being late, maybe do a test run or get up a little earlier than usual. Whatever you do – be prompt.

Tahlia Svingos

Tahlia is a media/journo student from the University of Adelaide. She probably wrote this in the bath.

Image: Justine Reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license