By Bridie McArthur
It feels simultaneously like only a week but also an entire year has passed since my last day of high school, but now I'm almost six months into my university degree. I knew it would be different from high school, but it really, really is, and I have some insights for anyone starting university or wondering what the uni student lifestyle is actually like.
You might feel a little lonely
Making friends can be hard, and unlike high school, there's not as much forced togetherness where you can form friendships simply because you see each other all day, every day. Living on campus might be a different story, but if you don't it can be hard to make friends or move past the acquaintance stage with people you see and chat to casually in class. It's important to just be enthusiastic and follow up with those people, ask for their social media, join clubs, go through friends of friends, and see if your university has a Facebook group you can join. Remember, it's okay and very, very normal to struggle with meeting new people, but there are always opportunities to do so if you look for them.
You have to be self-directed
University is extremely different from high school in that your learning is largely up to you. Showing up to class, watching your lectures every week, and handing in that assignment on time. Make sure you keep yourself on track but also ask for help if you need it. There are heaps of on-campus services to assist you, and your lecturers and tutors should be on hand to answer any questions or give advice, plus turn to the people in your classes to bond over your struggle to keep up — another solution to the first point!
Broke uni student life is real
You will be strapped for cash, so you'll get really good at finding good deals for food, free coffees, making the most of freebies on campus, uni student discounts, free entry for students on Thursdays, and the list goes on. Embrace it — almost everyone is in the same boat.
Start your assignments early
This one applies to high school as well, but I cannot stress this enough. Your uni workload will likely be higher, and as mentioned above, there are fewer reminders and push from your teachers to get them in on time. Make sure you keep track of what you need to do and when you need to do it, and be on your own back about it.