Transitioning from high school to university can be a nerve-wracking experience. It may take a while before you feel as if you can get into the swing of things, but here are a few tips you can use to help you find university a whole lot easier.

#1. Attend your tutorials. I cannot stress this enough. The first semester last year I went to all my tutorials, and lectures. The second semester, I stopped going to as many, until eventually, I quit going altogether (sorry mum!) – I noticed a huge difference in my marks when I did and didn’t attend. You retain information a lot better and can ask more questions if you run into something you do not understand.

#2. Don’t be shy.. Talking to other students in your tutorials is a quick and easy way to make friends and to form study groups on campus. Speak to your tutors, as well – it’s their job to help you. Stay back after class and ask your tutors if they are available to help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get yourself out there.

#3. Use the facilities around you. La Trobe offers many different free services, from free weekly breakfasts and barbeques, to free legal services in the Student Union. The free food provided by the Student Union was a life saviour for me when I was strapped for cash and unable to afford my usual breakfast – and they can be your saviour too. Look out for them during the week in the Agora!

#4. Be strict with your work. Procrastinating is not a difficult task. It’s easy to say to yourself, “I’ll just watch the lecture online later on,” or “I will finish it later.” If you’re at uni, go to the lecture. Set yourself up for study periods and don’t forget to take study breaks (that’s completely okay!) to rest your eyes from staring too much at your computer screen and textbooks, which brings me onto my next tip….

#5. Take a break. Being strict with your work is essential, but so is allocating time to take a break. If you’ve been studying for 2 hours, take a half hour break to stretch your legs and stop what you are doing. Grab a snack and take time to re-energise and refocus: it’s just as important as finishing your readings or those last 100 words of an assignment.

#6. Don’t overthink. It’s important to know that many university students (including majority of my close friends and even myself at times) can often find it hard thinking about the future and not knowing where we stand in the career pathway ahead of us. It can make you feel uneasy, and tends to freak you out a little bit – because you should probably know what you’re doing by now, right? For five years, I had been sure of the course that I decided to enroll in, until I was faced with multiple life choice decisions which caused me to over-analyse what I wanted to do. It’s important to think about the future, but it’s also completely normal to feel anxious about your career and what it should look like. University is about discovering YOU, and where you want to go and what you want to do with your life. So don’t stress – take things as they come and if you’re not happy with where you stand, change it. You’re in control of your decisions so make it happen!

#7. Join a club or society. Joining different clubs and societies is a quick and easy way to make friends –  and it isn’t hard to find them either! At the beginning of every semester a Clubs festival is held to help you find and sign up to a majority of clubs and societies! You can also head over to the LTSU website where all the clubs and societies are listed and it’s easy to sign up! Not only do clubs and societies hold a number of fun events each semester such as trivia nights, movie nights, drinks at the Eagle bar and many more, they’re also a good space where you can meet like-minded people. Creating networks between different clubs and societies is a easy way to make friends that may be in classes in your next semester and help you to create or join study groups.

#8. Volunteer with the LTSU! Not only does this look impressive on your resume, but it is yet another way to make friends and make more connections. Everyone you speak to is friendly and welcoming; you can either sign up to volunteer online, or go to the Student Union on the second floor of West Agora, and start helping out with events. There’s always something on at the LTSU, and everyone is always welcome!

#9. Attend a party. Parties are such a great way to unwind, have a drink, and dance away the night! The LTSU’s first party of the year is the Freshies, on the first of March. The events and parties are always fun, energetic, and one of the best ways to create memories and friends. Go to as many events as you can and make your year go much faster with a little boogie.

#10. Plan in advance. Nothing needs to be set in stone, but ensure that you are establishing when you are going to work, study, relax and spend time with your friends. It can be a very easy mistake to allocate all your time to your studies and work with no time to yourself which can lead to you feeling pretty burnt out. Likewise, it is also easy to not dedicate much time at all to your studies, so make sure you work out for yourself how to divide everything up and assign the appropriate amount of time to work, study, and friends.

These are 10 of the things I wish I had been told…. So take them onboard, and use some of these in your first year, or any year after that. Good luck!

Words by Alex Leighton.

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