The first week of classes have finally concluded at UniMelb. Libraries and classrooms are once again filled with the noise of methodical clacking of students furiously trying to keep up with their lecturers or tutors and places like South Lawn are bustling with free food and activities once more. At unimelb adventures, we recruited new members of the team for the year and we got them to talk about their experience of their first two weeks back.
Week one mistakes and how to learn from them – Bec Meier (Contributor)
My first seminar was in an Arts West with probably over 40 other students, which is a lot of people I don’t know. Situations like these may seem scary or even confronting but I assure you, everyone else is feeling the same way, even in third year. The best thing to do is smile at people and say hi, and if you’re feeling brave make some small talk, they will appreciate it.
Similarly, first tutorials or seminars are often filled with awkward silences when the tutor asks a question and no one feels confident enough to answer out loud, regardless if they have an answer. This is a moment for you to share something even if you’re feeling shy. Chances are, you won’t have another opportunity and you’ll probably leave a good impression on your tutor; at least you’ll make others feel more confident to talk too.
My first lecture was immediately after that seminar. It was in some random building on a street that definitely should not count as the main university campus. My biggest problem was not considering location when making my timetable, how far apart these classes would be and the mad rush I had to make between them (something that is definitely shared in the handbook). That’s not even considering how lost I got trying to find the building. If you’re lost, downloading the Lost on Campus can be a lifesaver. it has tons of handy information.
I made it to class only marginally late, and the lecturer or tutor is going through housekeeping. I have concluded it’s probably mandatory, but still super boring. I had a seminar for this same subject straight after, which thankfully was in the same building this time. Then, the dreaded icebreakers started. I knew they were coming. They’re unavoidable even though everyone hates them. Why do they keep doing them? I don’t even have any advice for you on how to deal with them other than the unfortunate reality of just get used to it.
My last class for the week had a whole day to itself. A three hour workshop that any fine arts, design or science student would probably be all too familiar with. However, I was not. This class took place in a building that was even more obscure than the last. Despite knowing I’m in the right place, I feel insecure in the new surroundings, like a jaffy all over again. This class spent way too long going over simple safety that really should be common sense. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, pay attention, it’s important and there’s a reason they’re saying it. I look at the at the clock, one hour down, only. I guess I should have prepared myself better for the reality of this class.
I hope you all had a fun and successful first week and I look forward to sharing more unimelb adventures with you this year!
TL;DR: Everyone’s in the same boat and it’s okay to get lost, no matter what year you are!
Bec Meier is a third-year arts student (majoring in creative writing). You can follow her on Tumblr @millennialreviews
Giving first years a sense of direction – Liang Xue (Contributor)
When I first stepped onto campus, I was really shy to ask for directions and seek help from older students. In my mind it was like some sort of hierarchy, that you should not go out to bother students in second or third year, as they are probably rushing somewhere of needing to get something urgent done.
However, now being a second year and being an “older student” myself, I realise how much we really want to help. We have had the chance to settle into uni (well, kind of), alongside having had some unique transitions and challenges. I personally think that the experiences we have and what we learn from them are not only for ourselves, but also for those around us.
One of the most notable examples is the Host Program ran by the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU).
The host program involves current university students to give a campus tour to new students.
Whether they were postgraduate students or still in their undergraduate degree, I got to make some lovely connections with students from all walks of life. For some, you could see their sheer excitement for this new chapter to begin. While for others you could see their anxiousness and uncertainty at this new and unfamiliar environment.
unimelb adventures Managing Editor Alain Nguyen and I happened to pair up for the tour and we blabbed on about the histories of the university, the importance of its services and the different spots to take note of around campus. The campus tour ended with a thank you and more questions, but what stuck with the most were the faces that seemed to be a bit more sure of themselves.
Thinking back, I’m sure many of us had our clueless moments and days even when beginning university life. Yet, as we advance onto the next year of of university life and real life, we become a little less clueless to help ourselves and those around us.
In our jaffy year we may have all wished that we had someone to go to so that he/she can: point us in the right direction, answer a few questions or have a nice conversation with over a hot drink. In our second, third or postgrad year we can be that person.
Liang Xue is a second-year arts student (majoring in criminology and psychology) at the University of Melbourne. You can follow her on Instagram @liang.xuee
Becoming a fourth year student- Kathryn Shanks (Subeditor)
I thought the new semester experience would be old hat for me at this point, but on day one I had classes in a building I’d never been to before: Kwong Lee Dow (KLD). The classic getting lost in a somewhat labyrinthine building was a familiar phenomenon, both in KLD and Old Arts – shouldn’t I know my way around the latter by now? In any case, temporarily losing my way remains standard, just the same as making awkward small talk before a tutorial or the odd fun icebreaker.
Also, here’s some fourth-year advice: take advantage of the fact that you already have something in common with the people around you, given that you share a subject together! It makes the class infinitely easier if you have someone to chat with.
Balancing work and the start of semester has gone slightly awry. Being behind on readings at the end of week one isn’t my proudest moment, but a routine will surely surface. The failure of a lecture capture doesn’t exactly help, but hey, it happens! It’s somewhat difficult for me to appreciate the fact that this is technically the last year of my degree, since I plan on undertaking an honours year. I am however sure that it will sink in semester two, when I begin my majors’ capstone subjects.
For now, it’s just nice to be back on campus amongst the buzz and excitement of a new year, and while I will surely complain about the amount of readings I have to do, I’m looking forward to start.
Computer Science in third year – Metta (Contributor)
Whew, it’s been three months since I’ve stepped a foot on campus and boy did I get lost a few times. I feel like a first year again by manoeuvring my way around the maze-like campus because a lot has changed with the renovations.
As a result, my shortcuts and routes have basically been rendered useless and I have to start anew.
First week was hectic even though I only had five contact hours since I’m only taking three subjects, but I had to move around a lot of my tutes and workshops since my brain suddenly woke up and realised I didn’t put enough thought into my timetabling before.
I had one lecture on my first day. Lectures which couldn’t even get me out of bed last year, but this year is going to be intense so I’m prepping; I made a new friend, surprisingly. I felt like such a first year because my friends were late and I was alone waiting for the lecture hall to clear out. So, I decided to introduce myself to any person in close proximity. I kept making new friends throughout the first, which I give myself a pat on the back for, seeing as I’m quite introverted.
Third year lectures are vastly different from second year, I think. The first thing your lecturers tell you is, “don’t expect to be spoon-fed. Do your readings in advance. It’s going to be stressful, but hopefully it will be fun.” It’s gratifying to know that your two years’ worth of effort and knowledge are finally going to be combined and applied this year, kind of like a witch-stirring-the-cauldron moment.
Also, don’t hesitate to tell your lecturer he’s going too fast. My last lecture on Thursday was seriously an information dump and the guy next to me trying to take notes by hand kept sighing and shaking his head in frustration as our lecturer sped through the slides.
On the other hand, I realised five minutes into note-taking that I should probably just stop and listen and make a mental note to print out the slides next time.
I had no tutes in the first week, but I did have a mental breakdown thinking of the big projects coming up. Third year computer science is all about the projects – major, team projects – and killer exams. A huge project I have this semester is developing a web application, which is worth 50 percent of my grade and I can already feel my impending hair loss.
This won’t be my first time working in a group, but in the two years of my degree, I’ve only had two group projects and they were either done with friends or worth so little I didn’t care much for it.
There’s a lot of anxiety to form groups and worries surrounding my future teammates: what if they’re leeches, what if they can’t do anything, what if we can’t work well together? I felt so bad interviewing prospect teammates and reading between the lines of every single thing they said.
Luckily, though, I finally found two teammates along with a friend to form a group with and I’m feeling pretty good about it.
Metta is a third-year science student (majoring in computing and software systems) at the University of Melbourne. You can follow her on Instagram @dhirametta
Lifts and other nightmares: A second year music student perspective – Jessica Gilham (Contributor)
While everyone has been living it up at the Parkville campus, you’ve probably noticed the absence of musicians running around campus with their giant instrument cases. You know the ones that you can’t see over and make it hard to find your way around campus? Well, that problem was solved – obviously for that point alone. Myself and the rest of those culprits have in fact not disappeared into a void or another dimension, but we have a new building! It’s pretty epic.
It’s somewhere between eight and 10 stories. I’m too scatterbrained to take proper notice and it has all of these giant halls for concerts and proper tutorial rooms too. Ones that don’t in fact have graffiti in them (VCA I’m looking at you).
It’s been an interesting experience of being a second year student and yet, still not knowing my way around campus. I can’t tell you where most things are in the new building, but I can tell you that I have explored many floors as I have almost been late to several classes already.
What struggles have I faced in my first week?
I hear the hundreds of groans from the music kiddos a mile away (easily mistaken for a horde of zombies). In short, they can be a total nightmare and completely unpredictable.
Unless you want to leg it up eight floors with a giant instrument in your hands or on your back, you may be waiting at the lifts for months, or even your entire degree. I might be exaggerating, but I’ve seen them take 15 minutes before.
Since when did students get to uni that early?
For those who haven’t seen the new music building, let me paint you a quick picture. Amazing architecture, high ceilings, wooden-panelled floors and three lifts. That’s right, three.
The lifts have these super techy panels that turn on when you walk by with numbers for the floors you want to go to. You tap the number you want and then this automated voiceover and screen tells you which lift to go to. Well, they’re supposed to. Sometimes they just say they’re unavailable (cue legging it to your class you are now late for).
TL;DR: First week, a lot of panicked running up and down stairs.
Master of what now? – Sarah Lim
They say transitioning from high school to uni is hard, but have you tried transitioning from undergrad to masters?
Being in a lecture is already hard, even if it goes for one hour. However, in masters, six hour lectures is what you have! Yep. I wish that was a typo but you read that right. It was so long that we had a lunch and recess break in between (throwback to high school). I feel thankful that we got those breaks but honestly, after the second hour I was zoned out.
The icing on the cake was having a tutorial scheduled right after.
So you could say I had a jam packed week.
I was incredibly anxious and worried I wouldn’t meet anyone and first day jitters always hit me hard, but there was such a range of students in terms of year levels, backgrounds and cultures. From those fresh out of their undergrad degree, to those who had taken gap years for a bit of a breather and to those that had started a family and were coming back for more ‘fun’.
It was nice to see such a variety of people mixing together and just learning about how our different paths have come together to suffer pursue a meaningful future career.
I’ve only reunited with university life for a week but, I honestly feel like it’s been a solid month. I’ve already had lecture capture fail on me, been delayed on public transport, and due dates of big assignments have already been discussed in detail.
But hey, I signed up for this life and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.
Sarah Lim is a first year Master of Speech Pathology student at the University of Melbourne. You can follow her on Instagram @sarahlimsarahlim
So when are you actually graduating? – Alain Nguyen (managing editor)
November was a particularly strange time for me. It was supposed to be my final semester and then going on to who knows what. Yet, with an added year, I finally feel as though I can do what I always wanted to do at uni. Whether it was properly absorbing o-week and not running around like some person wanting to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I felt like a first year again yet with the tiredness and designer eye bags of a PhD student.
When asked if I was a first year, I just give people a pained laugh and then say, “I’m a fourth year” and their eyes would immediately widen.
“You look like a first year.” said one person at a clubs stall.
“How old are you?”
“21,” I replied.
Then there’s that awkward silence where I just give people a weird thumbs up and walk away.
It’s kind of strange when most of the people you had met in first year have probably graduated or are either working, getting engaged or doing a graduate degree somewhere.
You start to think yourself, “Am I going to finish degree or what?”
I found in the first two weeks that no one really cares how long you take to finish your undergraduate degree but rather whether or not you do finish it at some point.
Sure, I feel weird being in a class filled with second years and even first year, but you have got to finish it right?
Alain Nguyen is fourth year arts student at the University of Melbourne. You can follow him on Twitter @AlainofNguyen
These are some of our new team member’s thoughts at unimelb adventures on getting back to university life. Stay tuned as we have more exciting things coming up throughout the semester!
Tags: #UniMelb #OrientationWeek #FirstWeekBack #Jaffy #Studentproblems