Starting university can be a bittersweet experience – you’re excited to start a new chapter of your life, but also overwhelmed about everything that lies ahead in the ‘adult world’. Let’s be real, the transition from big fish in a little pond to small fish in an ocean can be pretty hard to navigate. There’s a campus full of shortcuts and hidden lecture theatres to traverse, new faces around every corner and an onus on you to take complete ownership of your tertiary studies.
That’s why it is important to make full use of your institution’s Orientation Week, or O-Week as it is often called. Getting a feel for university life before you start classes is a great way to prepare yourself for what could be one of the most hectic periods of your life (if you choose not to follow the ‘Ps get degrees’ model, that is). Whether you’d like to familiarise yourself with your campus, make some new friends or let off some summer holiday steam at one of the numerous parties, our O-Week tips will hold you in good stead.
Plan out your O-Week itinerary
One of the best things about O-Week is that there is something to suit everyone, whether it be course lectures, society events or concerts. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to attend the whole kit and caboodle – research what is on offer beforehand and schedule in events that interest you. If there’s any events that you absolutely have to attend, we recommend welcome lectures and campus tours. Welcome lectures give you the opportunity to learn and ask questions about your course structure, academic expectations and university life. Campus tours are also pretty essential, especially if you want to minimise your chances of getting horribly lost in the first few weeks of semester. They’re useful in giving you a visual on where important buildings are – think the food court, student services, libraries and the uni bar.
Join clubs or societies
It could be the Donut Club or the Engineering Student Society…whatever you choose, signing up for as many clubs or societies as you can is a great way to meet new people and get involved in university life. Faculty societies are a good place to start – you can meet people who are studying the same course or subjects as you, which could result in potential lecture buddies. There’s also a number of clubs that cover everything from sport to film and coding, so make sure you put your name down for any that interest you. The best thing about joining clubs and societies? The discounts and freebies! You can enjoy the perks of being a society or club member when it comes to food, drinks and society parties, which gives you all the more incentive to sign up.
Bag some great discounts
Speaking of freebies, O-Week is often full to the brim with them. Well-known brands and companies tend to set up stalls around campus, handing out goodie bags and student discounts to attendees. You could net some vouchers and discount codes, or useful items like water bottles and notepads. There’s also free food, live music and other social events on offer, allowing you to save some serious coin during O-Week.
Complete some life admin
University is a completely different world to high school – you have the freedom to dictate your studies, and are even allowed to venture outside of campus on your lunch break. While this sudden freedom can seem liberating, it also means that you’re a step closer to the ‘real world’. Capitalise upon your increased independence by completing some important life administration during O-Week – this could mean organising your student ID card, planning your timetable or applying for a transport concession card. It’s also an opportunity to explore employment possibilities on campus if you’re after work, or start mapping out a budget for the semester ahead.
Step out of your comfort zone
It may sound cliched, but university really is a clean slate for you to explore and establish your identity. It can be hard to break out of the fishbowl that is high school, but university life gives you plenty of opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and try things that you’ve always wanted to, but perhaps haven’t due to lack of time or confidence. It could be as simple as initiating a conversation with the person sitting next to you in the welcome lecture, or you could take up painting, play football or join a student political association – another cliché alert, but the world really can become your oyster during your time at university.
Download the Lost on Campus app
Make like Nike and just do it! Lost on Campus is a free mapping app that stores campus maps for over 40 Australian universities, so downloading it is a no brainer if you’re struggling to familiarise yourself with your campus. It’ll also help to prevent you from having to do the awkward 20 minutes late walk of shame into a packed lecture theatre after you’ve gotten miraculously lost on campus.