58 tips for surviving first year

We asked a bunch of people hanging around uni what their tips were for new students and here’s what they said.

(Please note, Unimelb Adventures is not responsible for anything that may happen to you as a result of following these tips)

  1. Call family members/friends back at times when you know they won’t have their phone and leave a voice message. That way you can complain together about how you “keep missing each other!” when really you’re knee deep in Doritos and a Netflix marathon (Jacinta, UMSU Disabilities Officer)
  2. Don’t talk about your ATAR. You got into Unimelb, everyone knows you’re smart (Emily, UMSU Host Director)
  3. If you want to meet people and attend some great parties, join faculty clubs. They’re massive and you come in contact with like, 200 or 300 people. And join smaller clubs that cater for your hobbies, and email them to find out about what events they run (Blake, UMSU Host Director)
  4. It’s a lot easier to make friends in clubs than lectures and tutorials because some people don’t like talking to people in tutorials – I certainly don’t (Yan)
  5. Get the Lost On Campus app to find buildings! (Alison, UMSU host volunteer)
  6. All lectures are captured (theoretically) so you don’t need to go to them (Blake)
  7. But you should otherwise you’ll forget to watch them (Blake)
  8. Learn to enjoy subsisting on sausages (or bubble & squeak) and white bread (Conor, keenest jaffy 2017 #2)
  9. Jaffy = just another (f***ing) first year
  10. How to skim read an article: just read the abstract, subheadings, first paragraph under every subheading, the first sentence of every paragraph after that, and the conclusion (Alain)
  11. Check your hurdle requirements – say you have 11 weeks of tutorials and a 75% hurdle requirement, you only need to attend 8 tutorials to pass (Blake)
  12. You can ask your lecturers and tutors questions – I didn’t work this out until second semester, but there’s no one monitoring your progress so you need to make sure you’re keeping up by yourself. When I asked questions everyone was really friendly and helpful and I got the help I needed! (another Emily, UMSU host volunteer)
  13. Find a quality older student who you can ask questions, get advice from, and who can just generally point you in the right direction for life. A bit like…a mentor… (Beiwei, UMSU Mentoring Director)
  14. Get involved in literally everything! (Daniel, UMSU Gensec)
  15. Check out the UMSU Countercourse Handbook for student reviews of your subjects – it’s a lifesaver for weeding out those classes that look interesting on paper but are actually super boring. You can find it here (Yan)
  16. You can usually get free food Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from UMSU events + club events. Monday and Friday…just don’t bother coming in (Blake)
  17. If you want a good Strava workout plan, you can intentionally place your classes as far as possible. For example you can have a tutorial at the education building then proceed to have your next tute at David Caro (Alain)
  18. First find your passion and then accept that there are no jobs in that field (Conor)
  19. You can avoid people handing you flyers in front of Bailieu by just never stepping foot in a library (Yan)
  20. A lot of UMSU departments have weekly collectives – go to them because they have SO MUCH FREE FOOD (Blake)
  21. On that note, check out Farrago magazine for a calendar of all UMSU events (Blake)
  22. Invest in a good backpack, because you don’t have lockers like in high school and you’ll need to carry your stuff around all day (Emily)
  23. The Rowden White (on the second floor of Union House) has great beanbags to nap on (Priyanka)
  24. Printing at the Rowden White is cheaper than printing at the other uni libraries AND you can pay by cash rather than needing your student card (Jacinta)
  25. UoM Counselling offers free counselling/ someone to chat to if you just want to talk. If you’re looking for longer term support they can also help refer you onto other services (Blake)
  26. If you want to get frisky in the Systems Gardens know that just because the windows in the buildings surrounded it are tinted doesn’t mean people can’t see out of them. PhD students CAN see you and ARE judging your technique (Yan’s roommate)
  27. If you see free food, don’t just take it and leave – find out why it’s there and talk to someone (that’s how you get more of it) (Emily)
  28. Go play Quidditch or something, I dunno. I don’t have fun, leave me alone (Callum, UMSU Enviro Officer)
  29. Don’t join any political student faction until at least your second year of uni (Josh, keenest jaffy 2017 #1)
  30. Or just don’t join like, ever (Goldie)
  31. If you’re confused about the last two, check out this link (Yan)
  32. A lot of arts majors recommend that you do Power as your foundation subject but it’s really boring and it doesn’t really make a difference in the end (Yan)
  33. Accept and embrace Chem and Calc 2’s insanely high fail rates (Conor)
  34. Never enrol in a prac that starts later than 3pm (Conor)
  35. Bring a keep cup for your coffee because coffee cup because you can get cheaper coffee (Blake)
  36. Dye your hair a weird colour and use it as a good conversation starter (Nick, VCA Coordinator)
  37. You can also study with free wifi at RMIT because Eduroam lets you connect at any uni (username: your student email, password: your myunimelb login password). This also applies to Vancouver (Alain)
  38. No one goes to uni run events, they usually have the best food and little competition for it. You can recognise them by the people in businesswear standing around and the lack of promotion (Emily)
  39. Clap at the end of your lecture. It’s mandatory that this happens at the end of every lecture up until the end of your undergrad!!! (Conor)
  40. Accept that you’re going to spend more time behind a barbecue than in a library if you get involved in a big club (Conor)
  41. Be associated with your closest pub very quickly (Fielden)
  42. It’s not weird to sit by yourself at lunch and no one will care (Yan)
  43. If you can’t beat the bell curve, convince everyone else in your tutorial to transfer so that you BECOME the bell curve (Blake)
  44. If you identify as a woman, there’s a women’s room on the first floor of Union House (go up the stairs and keep walking straight, past the elevators and it’s your right) is a great place to chill, take a nap, or microwave your food. They also have free pads and tampons (Yan)
  45. Similarly, if you identify as a queer student there’s a queer students lounge on the third floor of Union House – turn right when you get out of the elevator and it’s at the end of the hallway (Yan)
  46. You can get cheap food and $2 chai (and like, real chai with spices, not chai out of a packet) if you sign up for membership with the food coop for $15 (it’s on the first floor of Union House, straight when you walk up the stairs and then on your left) (Lucy, Enviro Officer)
  47. If you volunteer with the food co-op it’s also a really good way to get café experience if you want to find casual work in that area and need stuff for your resume (Lucy)
  48. Take care of your welfare! (Cecilia, UMSU Welfare Officer)
  49. To make the grades you need, seduce your tutors (with your stellar essay writing skills and excellent grasp of theories) (Blake)
  50. If you’re ever, say, hungover and at uni at 8am, Prontos does breakfast pizzas. Think eggs, bacon, mushrooms and spinach. It’s greasy as hell and amazing (Yan)
  51. As an international student if you don’t have $200,000 you’re screwed (Nick)
  52. Buy bleach – for getting stains out of your clothes, and you know, other stuff…(Nick)
  53. Only match with people who study at Unimelb on Tinder (Beau)
  54. Find out your alcohol limit BEFORE you go out and party (Nick)
  55. The Book Co-op (level 1 Union House, not the co-op bookshop in Stop 1) has cheap second-hand books and text books (Jacinta)
  56. Instead of ceremoniously burning them, donate or cosign textbooks, books and readers through said Book Co-op (Jacinta)
  57. Get involved in a club, leave said club after however so many years, feel better than ever because you have more time to sleep and drink things that aren’t beer. THEN inevitably come back to said club when you realise it’s all you have and hate yourself for it (Conor)
  58. And of course, “just put yourself out there!!1!1!” (everyone ever)


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