A Guide to Starting Uni

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Starting uni is definitely an exciting adventure, but it can be confusing at first! Here are some tips to help you get started.

 

Attend orientation camps and events – and it doesn’t matter if you go alone!

The best time to make friends at uni is right at the start. I went to an orientation camp in my first year, and it was there that I made close friends that I still have now, going into my fourth year. You don’t have to have a group of friends to go with – these camps and events are all about making friends, and everyone is so nice. It is super reassuring to see a familiar face on campus on your first day when you might be really nervous! I have made most of my friends at uni through orientation, clubs and volunteering, rather than in classes.

 

Find out where your classes are before the first day

You will probably stop by uni to collect your student card anyway, so make the most of your time on campus and do a ‘trial run’ of finding your classes. As an example – my first ever uni class was on the biology floor of the psychology building – and the class was French! The app ‘Lost on Campus’ is a lifesaver when it comes to finding your way around.

 

Financial Aid

Uni comes with a lot of expenses, so make sure to visit the Financial Aid website, which has many resources and opportunities for financial assistance.

 

Read ahead

One thing I noticed when I started uni was that there was a heavy workload and so many ideas were new to me. It is best to start the year feeling somewhat familiar with what you will be learning, as there will be other things you have to sort out when you first start such as transport, accommodation, social events and finding where things are, so you don’t want to fall behind. Gradually you will see classes on the LMS become ‘available’ on the LMS, which means that you can browse through and take note of when assessments are, as well as have a read through any readings that are available. On this point too…

 

Get organised early

If you have to buy textbooks, it is good to do so before O-Week / Week 1, because there are really long lines at these times. You could go when you go to collect your student card and find your way to your tutorial rooms and lectures. It is also good to check out the university subject handbook and plan your timetable before class registration (hint: there are a lot of uni parties on Thursday nights, so you might not want to schedule too many classes for Friday if possible!). You can find out when registration opens for your subjects here. Make sure to be set up early to get the classes you want – the tutorials either side of lectures fill up SUPER quickly, so make sure you have a Plan B. You can schedule lectures back to back, because they start 5 minutes after the time on the timetable, and finish 5 minutes earlier (so, a 9:00am – 10:00am lecture is really 9:05am – 9:55am). Tutorials (tutes) usually go for the full hour.

 

Set up your laptop and get free Microsoft Office!

More details here.

 

Get ready for those sweet STUDENT DISCOUNTS!

Make sure you sign up for UNiDAYS and Student Edge.

 

Make a Student Connect appointment

I found my Student Connect appointment super helpful when starting uni, as they advised me how to plan my time (I had two jobs) and I felt more confident about starting my university journey afterwards. You can learn more here.

 

Familiarise yourself with at least one library

In my first year, I was so intimidated by the library that I didn’t go in there for about the first eight weeks of semester… and I feel like my life would have been a LOT easier if I had known my way around the library from Week 1. You can have a look around yourself before uni starts, or go on a library tour. I also recommend familiarising yourself with ‘Discovery search’ which will be very helpful for assessments. Basically, you use this search to find academic journal articles, which you will use to support arguments in essays, and for research. You should also sign into your university account with Google Scholar (instructions here, just click on ‘Google Scholar preferences’) so that you can access articles you find on Google Scholar. This is important because you want to be able to access complete texts, which you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise unless you paid for them.

 

Join at least one club

This is a great way to meet people. I joined a whole bunch in first year and then I could choose my favourites to continue attending (I wish I could have attended everything, but there are only so many hours in a day unfortunately!). Here is a list of clubs you could join.

If you have Facebook, make sure to ‘like’ the Facebook pages of clubs and societies to be updated on events and ticket sales. Remember with extremely popular events, people start lining up for tickets earlier than the advertised time.

 

Join a mentoring program

When I was in first year I participated in a mentoring program run by the Faculty of Arts and also one run by the Student Union (UMSU). I found these programs great for making connections and learning tips from older students. I even joined as a volunteer in the UMSU program in my second year.

 

Buy a planner

Another thing you will need for uni is a planner! Now is a good time to buy them as many are on sale. You will have a lot to plan, from work, to club meetings, to events, and most importantly, assessment due dates (which come up sooner than you expect)! Typo have some super cool ones, and there is a Typo store at Melbourne Central station.

 

Plan your transport route

It is good to know exactly what train / bus / tram you will need to catch, and how long it will take, to avoid any unnecessary stress or lateness on your first day of uni. Here are some helpful transport tips:

  • Pretty much every tram going along Swanston St takes you to uni. You can get on at both Flinders Street and Melbourne Central if you need to get the train first
  • There is a ‘Melbourne University’ tram stop, but you can also alight one stop earlier, at Lincoln Square – which might be quicker, depending on where your class is
  • If your train passes through North Melbourne, you’re in luck! Read about the 401 bus that goes from North Melbourne to uni (and vice versa)

 

Wishing you the best of luck for university! :) You’ve got this!

 

 

 

 

Fun things to do during the uni holidays! (Part 2)

If you haven’t seen Part One, you can do so here.

Visit the Aquarium

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Umm, how cute are penguins!? And totally Found Dory.

The aquarium can make for a very fun morning or afternoon out, especially if it’s really hot outside! Make sure to bring along your student card for a concession ticket.

 

NGV

You have probably read Jen’s awesome posts about exhibitions at the NGV on the blog. Current and upcoming events include:

 

 

Brunch at Manchester Press

This is such a cool restaurant that serves amazing bagels! The address is 8 Rankins Lane.

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Mmmm… bagels and pretzels.

Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens

There is nothing better than enjoying a summer day with great food in a beautiful location, and then going for a stroll around the gardens afterwards!

 

Get involved in volunteering

Summer is one of the most popular times for volunteering, whether it be in your local community or through university! The UMSU website is a great place to start looking for some volunteering opportunities.

 

Puffing Billy

If you are up for an adventure, why not jump on the Puffing Billy train and see the beautiful Dandenong Ranges? More information can be found on the website here.

 

Drive-in movies

If you’re like me and are still on your Ls (I’m getting there okay… hahaha) find yourself a friend who isn’t on their Ls and watch a movie from the car! It works out a bit cheaper than movie theatres #studentbudget, and you can bring as many blankets and pillows as you like.

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Vegie Bar

Another food place to recommend – Vegie Bar! Their website: http://vegiebar.com.au/

On Brunswick Street (number 380) this restaurant offers delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes! It is super popular, so there may be a bit of a wait sometimes – but it’s so worth it.

 

Screen Worlds (ACMI)

I actually found out about Screen Worlds in my first year at uni, and have actually been a couple of times since – it’s awesome! The exhibition covers the history of television, gaming and the internet. It’s really interactive and another good indoor activity when it’s hot outside.

 

Free yoga

Located nearby in Federation Square. Starting in February, there will be free yoga classes at lunchtime. What a great way to help prepare your body and mind for another busy semester at uni. More info and exact dates here.

 

 

 

Fun things to do during the uni holidays! (Part 1)

 

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We’ve worked hard all year, and now it’s time to relax and enjoy the break before starting uni for another year or a graduate position. Here are some ideas for fun activities to do during your holidays:

 

Pidapipo

Where? 299 Lygon St

Why? It’s the best gelato ever. My favourite combination is one scoop of chocolate combined with a refreshing scoop of a fruity gelato! It is perfect for a hot day – you could even grab some after a pizza lunch or dinner on Lygon St. It is also a great meetup place, because of course, people travel in to the university from all over Melbourne, so you can meet up with your friends who might not live close to you, somewhere near uni!

Website: http://pidapipo.com.au/ 

 

White Night

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When? 17 February 2018

It is so much fun to see Melbourne so colourful and full of lights! This night only happens once a year, so it’s really special.

 

Zoo Twilights

Miss Bands, BBQs and Bevs?

One of the cool things about going to uni in Parkville is that it’s the same suburb as the zoo! All the proceeds go to the Fighting Extinction conservation program, so that’s the perfect reason to head to the zoo and enjoy some food, drinks and music.

More info can be found here: https://whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Whatson/Music/gigs/Pages/d83aae20-6d48-4abb-91af-5ba071e5abf8.aspx

 

Christmas in Melbourne

 

The city is well and truly in the festive spirit this year, with so many fun Christmassy things to do!

You can take a break from the heat with ice skating (and at O’Brien Group Arena, Santa is visiting on the weekends) visit the Myer Christmas Windows, shop at a Christmas market, and more.

For more Christmas-themed activities, check out What’s On Melbourne, where our info was sourced from.

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What to do during a long break at uni (when you don’t feel like studying)

 

 

When faced with countless midsems and assignments, sometimes we look a bit like this:

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We all need a break from time to time, and in the middle of mid-sem and assignment season, in-between classes can be the perfect time to refresh and recharge so you can perform at your best in your subjects. Have a productive break from study with these ideas:

Firstly, do you have a break in the middle of the day on Tuesday?

A lot of students do! This means that there are a lot of events on at this time, including:

  • Wellbeing: There are a variety of workshops offered to help with procrastination, anxiety, and more. Just follow this link and scroll to the ‘Wellbeing’ section.
  • And, as you will see on that page, there are plenty of other events on offer in several categories, including: ‘achieve your academic goals’, ‘careers and employability skills’, ‘English for Academic Purposes Workshops’ and ‘Study overseas’.
  • Many clubs have their events on Tuesdays. A good plan for finding out when and where events take place is by checking the notices on the portal and around campus, as well as searching for the club’s Facebook page. On the Facebook pages, there often be events you can RSVP to – so there will be a reminder in your phone.
  • Tuesday at 1pm is also when a new band arrives in North Court each week, organised by the student union! If you want to be one of the first people in line for the free BBQ food, arrive at around 12pm.

 

Get active

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After sitting in class for a few hours, most of us are ready to get moving when we have some free time. MU Sport allows you to hire courts and various equipment, so why not get some friends together and enjoy a game? There is also the gym and pool, and group fitness classes.

Freebies!?
There are even some free classes – see them (shaded orange) on the timetable. 

 

Explore your surroundings

The Parkville campus is so close to the vibrant Lygon Street! Some must-visit places on Lygon include:

  • Universal (meals at low prices – perfect for students!) (Number 139-141)
  • Pidapipo for ice cream (make sure you go in the twenty minutes of Melbourne sunshine before the next season of the day arrives. The ice cream is so good that it doesn’t even matter if it’s cold outside, though) (Number 299)
  • Readings – reading a book for leisure can seem like an unbelievable idea when you have so many course readings – but even if you don’t have time to read now, you can stock up on some great reads for summer! (Number 309)

 

Galleries

We have the Ian Potter Museum of Art right on campus, with free admission!
There are also plenty of other galleries near uni – check out the Top 5 recommended by Art History student Jen here .

 

Cafés

Because we all need to update our Insta with a brunch pic now and then, right?

There are so many cafes with delicious food and drinks near campus, including the popular Seven Seeds, Humble Rays and The Vertue of The Coffee Drink!

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An example of the brunch picture YOU might be taking on your next study break for the ‘gram (taken by me during a study break at Humble Rays)

You could even get a matcha latte – I’ve seen it advertised in a few cafes that they boost concentration (like I ever need an excuse to buy a matcha latte).

 

Well there you have it, a few ways to productively spend your well-deserved break!

 

What is your favourite way to spend a break? Let us know in the comments below!

 

– Bella

How to Become an Expert on Van Gogh in an Afternoon

Jen is a fourth year art history student, though this is her first year at Unimelb (she’s from NZ, don’t hold it against her). When she’s not at uni, Jen will be out getting to know Melbourne and all it has to offer.

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Image source: Jen Newton

As I’m sure you know (because there are banners, signs, billboards and even trains covered in advertisements), the NGV has an exhibition of Van Gogh’s paintings on right now. And before you roll your eyes and say, ‘ugh another Arts student trying to make me go to some art thing I won’t be interested in’, read on, because the NGV has gone fully out of its way to help those without Art History degrees appreciate the art in front of them. You’ll see these works through completely different eyes and maybe finally understand why we Arts students rave on about this sort of stuff.

Before you even enter the exhibition, you’ll watch a 9-minute video about Van Gogh’s life, giving you a bit of a background into who he was. You’ll be told about where his love of nature came from and why he liked painting fields so much. You’ll also find out some great facts, like why Van Gogh actually chopped off his ear (and no, I’m not going to tell you – you’ll have to go to the exhibition to find out).

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Image source: Meme Center

After that you’ll walk through a whole timeline of information explaining what he got up to and why his style changed a bit over time. There are even interactive screens so you can find out as much as you want to about Van Gogh’s life before you see his paintings. Throughout the exhibition several quotes by Van Gogh can be found all over the place, telling you his inner thoughts about painting, nature and life itself.

Van Gogh quote
Image source: Jen Newton

Then you’ll find yourself amongst a collection of the prints Van Gogh owned and used as sources for his own works. You’ll see examples of peasant and landscape scenes, and once you see the actual Van Gogh paintings, you’ll see how he was influenced by these prints, notably through their depictions of the seasons and nature.

Van Gogh exhibition
Image source: Jen Newton

Next you’ll see some Japanese woodblock prints: they may seem out of place, but these were all the rage in Europe in the nineteenth century. Van Gogh was one of many artists to be influenced by their focus on nature, thick use of line and flat style.

And now you’re ready to experience the overwhelmingly entrancing greatness that is Van Gogh!

Nigel Van Gogh
Image source: Meme Center

The exhibition takes you through each of the seasons, beginning with Autumn, then Winter, then Spring and finally Summer. Each painting hangs alone on a wall, allowing you to take each one in individually and fully appreciate them all. The paintings in each of the seasons are displayed chronologically so you can see Van Gogh’s development. Because of the film at the beginning and all the information provided on the walls as you go through the exhibition, you’ll know why he started painting with brighter colours and in a thicker and more expressive style.

Van Gogh exhibition
Image source: Mel Hot or Not

It’s incredible to have all of the seasons shown together like this because it shows us just how dedicated Van Gogh was to producing these paintings. Just look at his Snow-Covered Field with a Harrow from 1890 (below). You can imagine Van Gogh freezing his arse off in the snow but staying out there just to find the exact blue to match the tones of the snow on each of the different surfaces. With this work and countless others in the exhibition, the paint is so thick that the canvas still looks wet, as if Van Gogh has only just walked away after finishing it.

Snow-Covered Field with a Harrow (after Millet)
Snow-Covered Field with a Harrow (after Millet), 1890.
Image source: Jen Newton

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the reason why you need to go to this exhibition. Nothing compares to seeing a Van Gogh up close. Of all the art in the world, his is the most intriguing to see in person. You can’t even begin to comprehend the physical presence of the paint just from photographs or the effect that standing in front of one of these paintings will have on you.

Van Gogh painting
Close up of Roses and Peonies, 1886.
Image source: Jen Newton

The exhibition is on until the 9th of July, so you have lots of time to decide to go and give art a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can learn about Van Gogh’s art through this exhibition and how it will help you appreciate him as one of history’s greatest painters.

Side note: While I was writing this, my non–Arts student flatmate said, ‘weren’t you disappointed because The Starry Night wasn’t there?’ Please don’t be a fool and think that New York’s MoMA is going to hand over that masterpiece to anyone, let alone Australia. However, this exhibition does include Wheat Field with Cypresses, which is also very famous and depicts the same peculiar tree as The Starry Night.