What We Wish We’d Known About Uni Before Starting First Year

You may have done everything within your powers to prepare for uni, but there are so many things you only find out later. To save you valuable time, the Unimelb Adventures team have come up with this cheatsheet of things we wish we’d known before we started uni!

  1. You don’t need to know what you’re doing right at the start of first year! You only need to decide on a major towards the end of second year, so experiment and take a wide range of subjects until you find something you really enjoy doing.
  1. Your first tutes might seem really daunting, but everyone’s actually just as uncertain as you. So instead of feeling anxious, get involved in classes and speak up. You’ll quickly become less nervous and tutes will become more enjoyable, plus you might even make a friend into the bargain!


  1. If you want to be social, get out there and get involved! Again, it can be really daunting when you get to the end of Orientation and think ‘hang on, have I actually made friends?’ That all comes with time – people you meet in tutes and lectures, as well as getting involved in clubs and societies, will make it easier for you.
  1. Take a break in the secret garden. It’s always easy to find people around uni, but it’s harder to get away from them all! The System Garden is tucked away behind the Botany Building and can be reached via a path from Babel. The garden is the perfect place to find some peace and quiet. Bring your lunch or a book and enjoy the greenery and sunshine!


  1. Lectures usually start 5 minutes after the advertised time, and end 5 minutes before the advertised time (so don’t worry about having back-to-back classes!)
  1. If you have just moved out of home or need help with money, make sure that you check out Financial Aid.
  1. You don’t have to be in a certain faculty to get involved with clubs and societies (e.g. you don’t have to be an Arts student to join the Arts Students Society). There are also language and cultural clubs you can join even if you don’t study the language at university and just want to learn about the culture!
  1. If you head over to the noticeboards in the Redmond Barry building, there are usually several researchers recruiting participants for their studies. The experiments are always interesting to take part in, and you’re often reimbursed for your time! $$


  1. Make sure you keep an eye on the ‘Notices’ section of the student portal – there are links to free workshops, volunteering applications and more!
  1. Apply for jobs and build your skills on the Unimelb careers website (just log in with your Unimelb student details).
  1. Transitioning to writing university-style essays and reports is tricky at first for all students. A great place to start building your confidence is the Academic Skills AIRport, which has resources designed for undergraduate, graduate and international students.


  1. Academic Skills also has advisers you can book appointments with if you would like additional one-on-one guidance when tackling your essays and assignments. The advisers don’t write your essays for you or edit the content of your essays, but they can provide some valuable advice.

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