Sunday, 26 February 2017

Tips for Starting University

Hi everyone!

Starting University is a super daunting time for everyone, and as a second year I thought I would share with you all the tips I have learnt during the past year for starting university. I'm definitely not an expert and what works for me may not work for you - but I hope you get at least one thing out of this post anyway.

After you have enrolled and sorted out which classes you have to do and the financial side of things, my first piece of advice is to get your textbooks as early as possible. I never buy mine from the Co-op Bookstore because they are ridiculously expensive. Getting them early means you can get them online or hunt around for the best secondhand deal. I know a lot of people try to find an online version, and that's great if you can read off a computer screen. I find I don't learn anything that way and will always go for a physical copy of a book.

I also like to sort out my timetable fairly early, just so I can get an idea of what my schedule will be like and also so I have time to figure out a few backups if I don't get the classes I want. Signons are super hectic, and you have to be quick to get the class you want. Definitely be logged in and ready to go at least five minutes before the signon starts because you don't want to miss out and get stuck with the early classes!

In terms of actual writing supplies and the like, you don't need that much for uni. I have a couple of black pens for note taking (red as well, but I need to go to the shops tomorrow), a few highlighters and I like to use the sticky tabs for studying. I personally have four binders and four books (all colour coordinated) that I use, but I only have the binders because history has insane levels of reading. Just find what works best for you - perhaps it is all on your laptop or maybe you like everything in the same book.
Definitely get a diary you like as well, because that is going to be essential in keeping you organised throughout the semester. You do not want to miss a deadline!

Sort out your readings before you start - you'll feel much more organised and may actually do them when you are supposed to. If it's not in a textbook I personally prefer to print everything off and put it in my binder, as well as keeping a list of readings I can refer back to, to make sure I've done them all. This is again personal preference, if you can learn from a screen that's great, just make sure you've got yourself organised! Put it all in a folder together or something so it's all in one place.

If this is your first year, maybe take a day before uni starts to actually go to the campus. Figure out how you will get there and how long that takes. Maybe walk to where your first lecture will be just so you can get your bearings a little it. I got lost on my first day at uni and ended up in tears so lets try to avoid that situation! UQ has a cool app called UQNav that is like a little campus GPS which has been an absolute lifesaver. I think Lost on Campus is another good one, but I haven't tried it personally. 

The actual night before, pack your bag (take a water bottle!) and pick your outfit early. Then stick to it! You don't need to be stressing about what to wear, and honestly no one will really care. I've chosen something really simple for my first day tomorrow - a comfy t-shirt with a nice skirt, and I think I'll be wearing my converse because I have lots of walking around the city and campus.

I hope this has helped in some way and I wish you all the best of luck for your first year (or second or third) at university!

P.S If you're new and don't know: I study History and Ancient History at the University of Queensland in Australia.