Immigrating into first year: a field guide for international students

Moving away for uni is a common experience. You look for an apartment, maybe bunk in with a friend, start cooking and cleaning for yourself and learn much too late that not turning on the vents above your stove WILL set off the fire alarm in small apartments. New school, new city, no more parental supervision, fresh start.

Starting uni as an international student is kind of like getting the Apple Student Experience Plus version – it’s a bigger deal, some friends are impressed by it, others think it’s a waste of money and it stretches your pockets more than they can really comfortably take.

As an international student who’s been here for over two years, I’ve compiled a list of things that pretty much sum up my experience here in Melbourne.

1. Your parents aren’t physically here, meaning you have the freedom to screw up however you want

If your parents are anything like mine (I wouldn’t say controlling, but Stockholm could learn a thing or two from my mum…), you’ll know that there’s a certain level of conditioning in you to obey them. Thing is, you’ll be separated by thousands of kilometres. I expect all of us to have a little “Smeagol is FREE!” moment once we realize this. If you can’t imagine, here’s some things to help you realise:

  • ‘Balanced nutrition’ is a very subjective idea. I mean, if you’re alive and semi-functional, who cares if you’re living off caffeine, alcohol, microwave meals and hopelessness?
  • No curfews. Our parents will still try as hard as they can to satisfy their need to know our location and ensure our physical safety at every waking moment – this is a sign of love. However, love is blind, and you can smokescreen your whereabouts with a few pre-prepared photos of yourself in the library and a quiet room to talk.
  • If you screw up an assessment, you don’t have to tell your parents till the end of semester. By then, they’ll be so happy you’re back in their arms that it’ll soften the blow. Hopefully.

2. Food from home is a LIE

I’m Singaporean, and like our cousins in Malaysia, food is a big part of life for us. We live to eat, not the other way round. So it’s particularly devastating for us here when we sit down to a bowl of noodles advertised as ‘Singaporean/Asian Cuisine’ and take a bite of What-The-Flying-F**k-Was-That?!

This is true for most places advertising food from a particular region. Maybe because of Australia’s biosecurity laws, or just because most white people haven’t tasted what real food is supposed to taste like, things rarely taste as they should. There are a few legit places, but they’re rare and often quite a ways away.

Look out for these places. Note them down. Don’t go to them too often otherwise they’ll lose their effect (besides, eating out in expensive). It’s a great way to quell that crushing sense of homesickness when it reels its ugly head, like when it’s SWOTVAC and you wonder where your mum is and why she’s not making you dinner. The food still won’t be quite the same, but it’ll do for now…

My personal favourite haunts include: Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Russel Street or Sarawak Kitchen on Elizabeth Street. Highly recommend, totally not a plug (although bribes would be nice).

Alternatively, you can cook dishes from home for yourself (depending how good a cook you are). I often call my mum to ask about recipes and cooking techniques. Sometimes, I’ll bring back key ingredients, like soy sauce from home (it tastes different, I swear). Hey, I need all the help I can get.

3. You’ll hear your local friends complain…a lot

“Oh, I’m so broke”, is a favourite of mine. I just wanna say, “Man, you get government handouts every two weeks”. You’ll be paying four times what they do for the privilege of attending boring lectures and the honour of sleepless nights before assignments while they’re working a few extra hours a week for booze money.

Heck, they’re not even gonna pay back their school fees until they can earn enough to do so. No wonder we get the stereotype of the ‘smart immigrant’. If I’m paying thousands for this degree, I’m absolutely gonna make it worth my time.

4. Learning to ‘adult’


The practice of acting in a manner that allows oneself to ensure one’s own survival after separation from parental units. Traditionally includes skills like budgeting, cooking, household chores, and not being a dick.



As international students, most of us can’t rely on our parents too much, at least not to be here physically. It makes us appreciate what they’ve done for us till now. It doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t know how to live on our own, but that we can’t rely on someone to do those shit chores for us when we can’t or don’t have the time to. Things like managing your time around laundry, finding an apartment to rent, buying groceries for the week, or paying bills.

I reckon we’ve got to grow up a lot faster. Not to say that local kids don’t have to go through these things as well, but they typically don’t have as many expectations or hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in them.

Heck, I’m doing Fine Arts, the go-to butt of all employment jokes (yet somehow still better than a normal B-Arts degree. Suck it Arts students). Still, my mum trusted me not to waste that money, to take care of myself, and not goof around for three years. This means taking care of myself.

Which is an awesome segue into:

5. Call home

At the end of the day, you’re alone here. Friends can fill some of the void, but there’s nothing like your real fam. Be like me and make a call back at least once a week. It doesn’t need to be for long – just long enough to hear mum’s voice and keep up to date with what’s the haps at home.  Chances are, mum and dad are getting along in years, so we should cherish them a bit before they kick the bucket…

They sent us here (or let us go) because they trust us not to be (too) stupid. Always end your call with an “I lub you too…”

Then go for the pre-drink party with your friends and get trashed. I mean, c’mon, just because you’re becoming an adult doesn’t mean you have to be one TODAY.


About the author

nick author pic.png

Nick Lam is a final year student at the VCA. When not constantly reading or writing, he wonders why he’s not either reading or writing. Nick enjoys long walks on the beach and other b*llshit people do to fill the void in their lives. He made us use this horrifying picture as his author photo.


What if I Didn’t Make Friends in O-Week?

Source: Giphy

We all have that dream. You show up to your host tour on your first day of uni and become best friends with the other person who’s also late. You find solace in the person sitting next to you in your Power tutorial. You meet the coolest person who you immediately click with on that o-camp. The dream of meeting your next best friend as soon as you start uni is one that we’ve all had, but it’s not always a reality.

And that’s okay.

Here’s some secrets.

I don’t remember anyone from my host tour.

I left my orientation camp only sort of knowing a handful of people.

I didn’t get coffee with anyone I didn’t know already in my first semester.

I made my best friends after my first semester of university.

Not everyone is going to make friends the second they step foot onto campus. But there are always things that you can do to boost your confidence and ensure that you’re not going through uni by yourself.

Clubs and Societies

Think of a hobby or interest you have. Chances are there’s a club for this and they will most likely have a Facebook page where you can learn about their upcoming events. By participating in clubs events you can find people with similar interests. Even more, if the club has recurring BBQs or picnics, this is the perfect opportunity to help a society out and cook a snag. Going to events and offering a hand means that people will see you more often, you’ll  develop familiarity and potential friendships! For a list of the clubs, click here.

Friend Requests

You’re almost guaranteed to add a lot of people on Facebook or follow them on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m not saying the more people you add the more likely you are to make close knit friendships, but it means you’ll develop a circle of people you do know. If you’ve just added someone on Facebook, don’t be shy about sending them a message! It might not feel like it, but they’re probably just as keen and just as scared about contacting you as you are about them.

And even if you don’t talk to them straight away, you might find yourself in a class with them in second semester, and having already met them, you might be more inclined to talk to them again.

Safe Spaces

If you identify as a woman/non-binary or member of the queer community, there are spaces in Union House where you can go and relax. Decked out with couches and goodies and amazing student representatives, the Women’s Room can be found on Level 1 (straight ahead when you come up the stairs and then to the right) and the Queer Space on Level 3 (turn right when you get out of the elevator). You’ll also be able to find support and information in these rooms on various issues if you need it.

UMSU, the University of Melbourne Student Union, also has other departments and services available . Want to help out at BBQs and parties? Have a look at Activities. If you’re looking for more communities of likeminded students, check out People of Colour, Indigenous, Disabilities. All these, plus more, can be found here.

Get Involved

Getting involved in things that aren’t clubs can also be a really good way of meeting new people at uni. Write something for Farrago and visit them in the Media Space (level 4 Union House), attend some PASS sessions if you’re an Arts Student and keen to smash out those H1s, and even pitch us an article if you think there’s something we should be writing about! The more you participate, the more people you’re going to know.


It can be a difficult time if you’re not finding people to connect with immediately, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Taking time for yourself is really important. It can sometimes become very stressful at uni without a strong support network so I highly recommend looking at the Unimelb Services website for a place to seek out some help.

For me it took a lot longer than it felt like it took for other people. Eventually it was actually in tutorials where I ended up with the same people from first and second year that I found some of my friends. Participating heavily in societies like Ring of Choir also helped a lot.

Everyone moves at different speeds. If you don’t make friends in your first few weeks of uni, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s more common than you would think. In your first semester you might be a jaffy with few friends, but by third year you might have found the best group possible. Just keep doing, and dreaming.

Source: Giphy

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)


Get involved in Unimelb Adventures!

Want to join in the coolest* student-run blog on campus?

Unimelb Adventures is once again on the hunt for people to join our family! Whether you can write, edit, do video stuff or just like what we do and want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you!

Click on the headings below to see more about the positions we have available. We’re accepting applications on a rolling basis, so you don’t have to do it RIGHT NOW (although we would love it if you did!). And if you have any questions, get in touch with us at

xx Sarah and Yan


Do you want to help writers improve their pieces and foster talent? Are you a massive perfectionist? Do you love polishing the poetics of a paragraph and the shapely curves of a comma? (Okay so maybe not, but nonetheless) do you want to subedit for Unimelb Adventures?

Position Description
As a subeditor you’ll work with writers to take their piece from first draft to finished content. You’ll be responsible for editing and helping to create content ideas for future posts.

How to apply:
Shoot us an email at with the subject line “2018 Unimelb Adventures Subeditor Application” and respond to the following prompts:

  • Tell us about yourself!
    • Your course and year of graduation.
    • What you get up to when you’re not studying.
    • What’s your favourite thing about uni?
    • Why do you want to get involved in Unimelb Adventures?
    • Do you have any experience subediting? (No worries if you don’t, we’re looking for enthusiasm just as much as experience!)
  • Pitch us an article idea!
  • If you have any samples of your editing/writing, include one or two!


Staff Writer

Do you always find yourself surrounded by people listening with rapt attention as you recount some story about that crazy thing you did one time at uni? How do you feel about the uni lifestyle? What are your concerns and interests? Do you like talking about these things? If you do, come talk about your experiences to lots of students!

Position Description
Staff writers are responsible for writing regular (read: monthly) articles over the course of the year. They can be about any topic that catch your fancy, as long as they’re related to your experience studying at the University of Melbourne!

How to apply
Shoot us an email at with the subject line “2018 Unimelb Adventures Staff Writer application.” and respond to the following prompts:

  • Tell us about yourself!
    • Your course and year of graduation
    • What you get up to when you’re not studying
    • What’s your favourite thing about uni?
    • Why do you want to get involved in Unimelb Adventures?
    • Do you have any writing experience? (No worries if you don’t, we’re looking for enthusiasm just as much as experience!)
  • In 100 words or less, tell us about the weirdest thing that’s happened to you at uni.
  • Pitch us an article idea!
  • If you have any samples of your writing, include one or two!


Casual Writer

Want to get involved in the Unimelb Adventures community but not quite ready to commit your soul to writing for us on a regular basis? (or just don’t know where to start?) Come be a casual writer! You get all the benefits of being involved in the Unimelb Adventures community without the pressure of a regular deadline.

Position Description
Casual writers are responsible for helping us come up with article prompts and ideas, writing articles as inspiration strikes and generally contributing to the Unimelb Adventures community.

How to apply
Shoot us an email at with the subject line “2018 Unimelb Adventures Casual Writer Application” and respond to the following prompts:

  • Tell us about yourself!
    • Your course and year of graduation.
    • What you get up to when you’re not studying.
    • What’s your favourite thing about uni?
    • Why do you want to get involved in Unimelb Adventures?
    • Do you have any relevant experience? (No worries if you don’t, we’re looking for enthusiasm just as much as experience!)
  • In 100 words or less, tell us about the weirdest thing that’s happened to you at uni.
  • Pitch us an article idea!
  • If you have any samples of your writing, include one or two!


Video Team

We’ll be coming to your screens in high res video this year! But unfortunately neither of the Unimelb Adventures editors know how to work a camera (whoops!), so come help us out? Please?

Position Description
As part of the video team, you’ll help the editors bring to life a bunch of cool video content. You’ll have the opportunity to be part of every aspect of the video production process, from filming and directing to editing.

How to apply
Shoot us an email at with the subject line “2018 Unimelb Adventures Video Team Application” and respond to the following prompts:

  • Tell us about yourself!
    • Your course and year of graduation.
    • What you get up to when you’re not studying.
    • What’s your favourite thing about uni?
    • Why do you want to get involved in Unimelb Adventures?
    • Do you have any relevant experience? (no worries if you don’t, we’re looking for enthusiasm just as much as experience)
  • Pitch us a video idea!
  • If you’ve made videos before, send us some examples of your work!



*coolness not guaranteed. See terms and conditions for more info.







A Guide to Starting Uni

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Source: Giphy


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

Aquarium 2017.JPG
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.



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.

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.

drive in movies.JPG


Vegie Bar

Another food place to recommend – Vegie Bar! Their website:

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)


Source: Giphy


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:



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!



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:


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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Source: Giphy

Overheard on Campus in Week 12


Cassie is a third-year Commerce student, majoring in Economics and Finance. She is addicted to podcasts and long distance running.


1. “I stopped paying attention in Week 5 and have no idea what’s going on with any content after the mid-sem.”


Source: Giphy

2. “Will you take a photo of me on South Lawn?”

3. “Oh, no, I’m not going away. I have an internship this summer.”


Source: Giphy

4. “Should I buy a Unimelb hoodie?”

5. “I don’t know why people say this subject is hard, it’s really not that bad.”
“Yeah, totally…”


Source: Giphy

6. “I need 2000 more words.”

7. “What’s another word for ‘argues’?”


Source: Giphy

8. “I deserve this cupcake, right?”
“Dude. Yes. It’s Week 12.”


Source: Giphy

9. “I am so not looking forward to Swotvac.”

10. “I watched eight lectures yesterday.”


Source: Giphy

11. “I figured out if I get 55 on all my exams I can still get an H2B average.”


Source: Giphy

12. “Do you think this will be examinable?”

13. “Let’s catch up over summer.”
“Yeah, totally.”


Source: Giphy

14. “Hey, did you understand the Week 7 content?”
“Uh, I’m not thinking about it until Swotvac starts.”


Source: Giphy

15. “Who’s your tutor?”
“Yeah, so, I don’t know his name.”

16. “Week 12 feels.”


Source: Giphy

Study hacks

We work hard all semester, but sometimes, we just want that final boost when it comes to the lead-up to exams. Here are some of my favourite ‘study hacks’ – tried and tested for those elusive H1s.


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Source: Giphy



If you studied VCE Psychology, you probably know about this. I like to give my brain prompts to associate what I learn while studying with recalling it in the exam hall. I like to handwrite my notes with the same type of pen / pencil I will be using in the exam, wearing the same perfume while studying and in the exam, etc.


Make arbitrary information memorable

Sometimes, you are just reading over your notes and thinking “there’s no way I’ll remember this!”

So how do you make that information memorable? Think of a link between the new information and something that you already know. Turn the information into a story or relate it to something that has happened to you.

If you are musically inclined and want to turn your study notes into a song, here’s some inspiration.


Change up your notes

Don’t just write down what was on the slides – engage with the content. Ask questions and answer them with information you’ve learnt, turn chunks of texts into diagrams, and colour-code. It is a richer process (and also more enjoyable than just copying things word-for-word!).

This tip was inspired by an article on The Conversation – definitely have a read if you are interested in transforming the way you take prepare your notes.


Flashcard apps

These are especially helpful because they are portable – when you have a quick break, you can go through flashcards instead of Facebook. I recommend the Cram phone / iPad app and also Anki for your laptop. These apps can prioritise what you don’t know so you can master it.


Get in a positive frame of mind – but don’t rely on motivation

If you visit our Twitter page, we have been posting some inspiring study quotes! You can also think about your end goals – e.g. ‘I want to ace this exam to be one step closer to getting into Honours / my dream postgrad degree / my dream job’. However, sometimes that motivation doesn’t come – and that’s when we need to just start anyway. Personally, I find it more mentally exhausting procrastinating than actually doing whatever I need to do. Even if it’s not the best study session you’ve ever had, you’ve still put time and effort in, which is what counts – we can’t be studying machines all the time!


Stayfocusd app

This is an extension for Google Chrome that has helped me immensely in the past week completing final essays and exam study – it’s amazing how much work I can get done when I limit social media to ten minutes per day! I’m working myself up to blocking online shopping too – but I’m not quite there yet…


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Source: Giphy


Happy studying and good luck – you’ve got this!


My experience studying Arts at Unimelb

Hi readers!

If you haven’t read one of my posts yet, my name is Bella and I have nearly finished the third year of my Arts degree – just one exam to go!

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Source: Giphy


I remember in high school, there was so much course information out there, it could get quite overwhelming. It is hard to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life while managing all your VCE subjects! I remember that hearing about other students’ experiences in different courses was helpful to me in making my decision, because it’s informative to know what it is like being a student studying what is written in the course guide. So, I’m hoping that this post will be helpful to those who are beginning university studies for the first time, or considering changing courses. Remember that everyone’s university experience is unique – but this is mine.


Why this course?

In high school I was a Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholar  – through this program I had visited The University of Melbourne several times. I could feel so much positive energy on campus – it was so welcoming – and stunningly beautiful (as a Harry Potter fan, I loved the Old Quad’s similarity to Hogwarts).


The Old Quad – not a still from a Harry Potter movie!
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Source: Giphy


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Now, this will sound a bit cliché but bear with me: I feel like many prospective students visit multiple universities, and have a moment when they can really see themselves at one. That’s what happened to me at Melbourne – I could really envision myself as a student there. It wasn’t really a single moment for me, but a cumulative effect of me visiting the campus and researching the study options.
Speaking of the study options, that was another part of what made me decide to put the Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne as my first preference. At the end of high school, I had a few career options in mind, but nothing set in stone. I felt like I hadn’t really experienced what the world had to offer yet, and wanted to explore areas I was interested in. I ended up doing well in high school – not only because of the wonderful teachers I had – but also because I followed my interests all the way through. If you’re passionate about something, that motivates you to work hard, and you get results. Even if these results aren’t always exactly what you had been hoping for, you enjoy the process.
I knew that I wanted to major in Psychology because it was my passion. In terms of the practical side, a major in Psychology also has wide applicability in terms of career options: of course there is the career option of being a psychologist, but you can also be an academic, work with businesses as an organisational psychologist, work in public relations, work as a teacher – the list goes on. I also wanted to continue my French studies to become fluent, and knew that I could take subjects in other cool learning areas in the BA, such as Communications. A Bachelor of Arts allowed me to do all of these things.
This was what drew me to the Melbourne Model, where you can explore your interests in broad undergraduate studies and specialise in postgraduate studies. This definitely took a huge weight off my shoulders while completing the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) because I didn’t have to worry about planning my career straight after high school, but I also had a firm goal to work towards and inspire me to study.


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Source: Giphy

First year

You don’t have to make any firm decisions about your major in first year, but in my opinion, it is beneficial to have an idea in mind. Have a look at what the requirements are for your major in the handbook, and try to make sure that you set yourself up in first year to pursue whatever major you would like to. Some of the majors, like Psychology, have specific subject requirements for Level 1 (first year).

Everyone has to do an ‘Arts Foundation’ subject – a full list is available here. I chose Reason, because I had always been interested in Philosophy. I didn’t really mind what foundation subject I did, because I was just keen to learn as much as possible – Reason was fantastic because not only did you learn how to think critically in an Arts degree, you learn about many great philosophers and their ideas, and a bit about history. There are some foundation subjects that help with majors – for example, I believe that Language would be helpful for those studying Linguistics or English. You can change your classes in the first few weeks of uni, so if the one you pick isn’t the right choice for you after all, you can always do another one instead.



For Psychology, we have to complete two subjects in first year. I also studied French each semester, leaving me with one Arts elective and two breadth subjects to choose. Breadth is another awesome thing about Unimelb – you can enhance your employability by complementing your course with subjects from other faculties (I studied Principles of Business Law in first semester, because I knew that the knowledge would be helpful for whatever career I chose) and also pursue other interests (in first year I also studied a subject called Spontaneous Drama: Improv and Communities, because I had enjoyed drama in high school and as an extra-curricular activity in Year 11 and 12).



Second year

In second year there were four psychology subjects that I had to take, and four other subjects I could choose. I completed my final level of French and a Creative Writing elective in first semester, and in second semester I ended up underloading (I did three subjects instead of four) – to be able to complete an internship in Public Relations. Safe to say that the internship went well, as I am still working for the company today – an amazing culture and team. I recommend doing an internship or getting some kind of work experience if you are interested in taking Media and Communications subjects – from my own experience and conversations with other students, this is really helpful when completing assignments.


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One of my favourite uni memories – when baby animals came to visit campus at the end of my second year!


Third year

This year I continued my Psychology and French studies, as well as studying Media and Communications subjects. I haven’t completed any breadth subjects this year because as a Psychology student in the BA, some of our breadth subjects are subjects in the Psychology major. I also decided to cross-credit my French subjects and apply for the Diploma in Languages. So, I will be completing this Diploma and my BA in four years (instead of the standard three years for a Bachelor’s degree) – meaning that next year will be my final year. Doing French in the Diploma means that I can take more French subjects as well as pursuing all my interests in the BA. The last four subjects of the Diploma are also HECS-free (yay!). There are also concurrent diplomas in other areas, such as Music! I’ve seen on the Diploma in Languages web page that you can also undertake it as a Graduate Student – it’s never too late!


The super cool staircase in my favourite building on campus – Arts West! I was so excited to take classes in this building when it was completed in my second year, replacing a former Arts West which was a building at the uni before I started.


Overall, my time at Unimelb so far has been nothing short of incredible. There are such inspiring lecturers and tutors, so many subjects available, a wonderful campus environment, excellent facilities and so many volunteering opportunities!

If you have any questions about my experience studying the BA, leave them in the comments below!

– Bella 😊

A guide to getting organised for exams

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when exams and final assessments are looming! So, here are some organisation tips to keep in mind, to make sure you’re ready to perform at your best.

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Source: Giphy


Something that has helped me all 5 semesters that I have taken exams has been making sure my stationery is ready to go. I make sure that I have the correct calculator and then make a trip to Officeworks to stock up on any stationery that I have run out of. I put all my exam materials into a clear zip-lock bag and keep it in a safe place so that it’s all ready to go for exam day (or days) and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I also make sure I have a clear drink bottle without a label and a watch with a working battery to take with me.

For take-home exams, another strategy that has made me feel more organised is setting up my Word document with the correct formatting, spacing settings, required font, etc. This means that when the take-home exam question/s are released, you’ll be ready to just start brainstorming and then typing your amazing essay!



Remember to use the Book It system if you need to use a computer at uni during SWOTVAC or the exam period. It can be very frustrating to arrive at uni only to find that there aren’t any computers available. You can make more than one booking, although there is a limit at three, so if you are planning to head into uni a few times in the week you can book your place at a computer in advance. The same goes for group study rooms!


Make your bed every day

This always helps me feel organised and feel like my day is off to a good start. I make my bed first thing every morning!


Let your friends know that your exams are coming up

This is important because towards the end of the year many social events start popping up. Make sure you let your friends know in advance that you will be taking exams and might not be able to go to everything, or reply to any messages immediately. Write down all your social events in your diary so you can leave enough time to complete study and assessments. If any of the social commitments are flexible, perhaps schedule them for after exams, or when you have a week-long break in between exams.


Organise your desktop

There usually are a lot of files that aren’t saved in the correct place by the end of semester. Sometimes, it happens! You have to leave a lecture quickly, and all of the sudden the file with your notes is saved as something you probably won’t remember in a folder for another subject. It can be very useful to go through all your files during SWOTVAC and sort them out. You don’t want to be looking for notes when you have limited time and getting stressed because you can’t find them. Some people also find colour-coding notes very helpful. This is also a nice extra revision technique!


Clean your living space

I’m sure there is a saying that is something along the lines of “tidy space, tidy mind”. It is so true! Make sure your living space, and particularly the area you will be working in, if you will be studying at home, are spick and span!


Wishing you all the best for exams and final assessments.


If you have any other tips for staying organised, share them in the comments below!



The best places to chill out at uni

It’s important to take a break during the business of SWOTVAC and exams, so the team have prepared a list of our favourite places to chill out at Unimelb!

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Source: Giphy

The lawn next to the Sidney Myer Asia Centre

Photography: Bella Barker

The water here is so calming, and there are two cafes close by (Cafe Resource attached to the ERC and Shanti Bagwan Cafe in the Alice Hoy building).


Queen of Hearts Cafe (Located in the HUB, Southbank Campus)

It has couches, a student lounge area, nice seating, table tennis and a foosball table! To get the equipment you’ll have to ask the baristas to lend you table tennis equipment and the foosball ball! They also have great playlists playing in the background (i.e. 90s hits <3 ).

Women’s Room

There are couches, blankets, bean bags, heat packs, you name it! All the necessities that keep you going. It feels homey pretty much!

Levels 2 and 3 of Arts West

Level 2 has beanbags. Enough said.

Arts West
Photography: Alain Nguyen

On Level 3, there’s a comfy corner that looks like a bed, and feels like a bed.

Concrete Lawns

OK, maybe not on the actual concrete, but there’s a nice stretch of grass nearby, as well as some benches along the edge  –  making Concrete Lawns a great place to chill out on a studt break (and if you’re studying again next semester, when you have a break between your classes!).

An old favourite – South Lawn!

The perfect place to relax on a warm day, with a good view of the clock tower / Old Arts.

Photography: Bella Barker


Rowden White Library

The classic, the one and only, the Rowden White Library. What else can you say about this magical place, other than it has tons of free stuff to borrow, as well as the legendary beanbag room where you’ll find couples hogging up space, Game of Thrones Screening and snores?

Outdoor study area

Located in between the Sidney Myer Asia Centre and the Eastern Resource Centre, this study space is so tranquil! Perfect for enjoying nice weather with a change of study environment.

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Photography: Bella Barker
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Photography: Bella Barker

University Oval

Combine some fresh air with sunshine and exercise (exercise optional). There’s usually a few people kicking a footy around, or simply enjoy one of the most open spaces this close to the city.


Buy a beer or a coffee (or don’t). You’re mostly just there for chats under the tree.

Photography: Chris Ebbs


System Garden – Tucked in behind Babel and Botany Buildings

Great spot to enjoy some sunshine and sit on the grass surrounded by some beautiful garden beds. Like South Lawn, an ‘oldy but a goody’! It’s a relaxing spot to sit down and enjoy your lunch, or to read.

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Photography: Nicole Ng



The big steps outside the MSD (opposite Castro’s Kiosk)

An awesome spot for some sun and a lunch break, before heading back into the MSD for some study.


Our last favourite place to chill out isn’t on campus, but it’s only a short walk away…



Photography: Bella Barker

Just kidding.


All the best for SWOTVAC, everyone!

The Unimelb Adventures team

Three Ways to Save Money on Coffee in Week 12

Coffee is our fuel for Week 12 survival. I always feel a bit guilty spending the $4 on coffee when I could be spending it on flashcards to memorise definitions for upcoming exams. The caffeine usually washes away that guilt, though.

However, if one spends $3.50 a day for the five days of Week 12, it’s the same as, like, two months of Netflix. And that’s if you can somehow survive on one coffee a day (I can’t).

A bite-sized post to read on a quick study break, here are three ways to reduce your spending on coffee.

Source: Giphy

1. There’s a boiling water tap in the MSD

Up on level 2, there is a small kitchenette with a boiling water tap, which means you can bring tea or instant coffee in a keepcup and just fill it up with water when you arrive! Apparently I’ve been living under a rock the size of the MSD, because I’m in third year and had no idea that this existed until recently. This is a game-changer. Nescafe also make nice coffee sachets (I know this because I once got a free sample at Flinders Street Station… while waiting to buy a coffee). If you just feel like a warm drink but not caffeine, you can also buy chai tea from the supermarket (Coles at Melbourne Central has chai tea).

Source: Giphy

2. Get off the tram one stop earlier

Not only will the short burst of exercise help wake you up in the morning, but in between the Lincoln Square and Melbourne University tram stops is 7-Eleven, where coffee is only $1. I was also stoked to discover this because that’s like 3 and a half for the price of one. They also sell snacks, breakfast food and lunch in case you forget to bring it with you for a big study day. As the weather is getting warmer, the $2 iced coffees are really refreshing too. I also made sure I tried and tested it – I also recommend the cappuccino.

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Source: Giphy


3. Sleep

Sleep is great (as we all know) but especially because it works to reduce spending on coffee in two ways: 1) if you get enough sleep, you most likely won’t be craving as much caffeine, and 2) if you wake up feeling refreshed and don’t hit the snooze button ten times (guilty) you will have time to make a coffee at home before you leave, and not have to buy one every day.

But, as I’m sure you’re screaming in your head as you’re reading this, we can’t all sleep as much as we would like to in Week 12. That is where this helpful app I’ve found comes in – it’s called Sleep Cycle. Basically, you schedule an alarm for an interval of a wake-up time (which you can set yourself: I believe 30 minutes is recommended, but I usually set mine for 15 minutes). So, if you wanted to wake up by 7am, you would choose this time and then set the interval for, say, 30 minutes, and then you would be woken up between 6:30 and 7am. Supposedly it works by waking you up in your lightest phase of sleep by monitoring activity with your smartphone’s microphone, so that you wake up feeling refreshed. I’m not questioning it, because I feel like it totally works. Another thing I love about this app is that if you haven’t plugged in your phone properly or forgotten to, when your phone is on 5% battery it wakes you up with an alarm, reminding you to charge your phone so you don’t oversleep.

Wishing you all the best for Week 12 :)



Please note that ‘Unimelb Adventures’ is an independent blog and does not publish sponsored posts. So, any opinions given in relation to products, applications and the like are those of the author.

5 tips for planning your life – from study to sleep

1. Google Calendar is life

I recently made the switch to an online calendar and let me tell you, it has been fab-u-lous. I started out using the calendar app on my iPhone. However, this did not work for me as it was difficult to customise and colour code, and sent too many notifications. I then flirted with a few others that claimed to be ‘the best’ – and finally landed back on the humble Google Calendar.

The main reasons why it works for me:
– The online layout is neat and variable
– There is a free app. This way you will always be able to check what you have scheduled
– The ability to colour-code certain tasks (for example blue is work, yellow is exercise etc.)
– You can share it with others
– You can sync it with your work availability

Source: Chrome Web Store


2. Lists are your best friend

This is for those who have trouble prioritising. Organise your brain space into these four boxes:


Basically you begin with the ‘Important & Urgent’ box, and work your way around to the ‘Not Important & Not Urgent’ box. I often find it difficult to fit any task into the ‘Urgent & Not Important’ box… Watching Bachie perhaps?

Source: Student Edge

Tip: Write this out by hand, it will make you less likely to forget things. If you’re like me, you will probably also want to highlight the tasks in colours which correspond with your Google Calendar.


3. Don’t spend more time planning than doing

This tip is probably the most crucial of them all. Planning should take you no more than 30 minutes. You must NOT spend more time planning than actually doing the things that you have planned.

To save you some time, check out this tumblr page, where you can download exam checklists, monthly planners and more.


4. Take dance breaks!

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Source: wifflegif


Dance breaks are the best type of study breaks. Get up and get moving for a couple of songs, it will increase your blood flow and mood! My go-to artist for this is Orla Gartland, check her out here!

You can even go as far as playing the same artist when you are studying a certain subject to help recall your information in exams.


5. Sleep your heart out

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Source: Popkey

Seriously, sleep as much as you can.

Figure out when you are most productive and make sure you plan around those times. If you get more done in the morning, then go to bed early. If you get more done at night, let yourself sleep in.

This website counts your sleep cycles and give your times when it is easier for you to wake up:

Useful for those who struggle to get out of bed on a cold morning!





Beating Procrastination and Writer’s Block


I asked on Instagram (our account is @unimelbadventures, if you wanted to follow us) what posts you would like to see, and I am proud to present our first reader-recommended post – thanks @isthatflawless!



Procrastination (noun)

  1. The action of delaying or postponing something.
  2. The enemy of a university student!


Writer’s block

  1. The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
  2. Really annoying.


Procrastination and writer’s block can be our enemies as students. Before I suggest some tips to overcome them, let’s consider why we do these things.

While I am a Psychology student, unfortunately I can’t say exactly why each of you reading this may procrastinate, but I can reflect on experiences and knowledge to let you know that people often procrastinate because they want to do a task really well, rather than being ‘lazy’ (it can be easy to fall into the trap of negative self-talk while procrastinating!)

Now we know that we want to do our work really well. And the best way to do that is to work on it efficiently – which can be hard to do at the last minute, fuelled by 500ml energy drinks (tried and tested = 10/10 do not recommend).

Previously, if Procrastination were a subject, I would definitely get an H1. Now, I like to think I’d get an N. I will share with you some tips that have helped me! Many strategies will be applicable to writer’s block too, but I will specifically address it towards the end.


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Source: Giphy


  1. Break it down

Have you ever started an awesome TV series and been like:

“Yes, five seasons, twenty long episodes per season, I’m set for ages!”

You feel like you’re only watching a little bit each day, and then all of a sudden there isn’t a ‘next episode’ button? At the start, watching the whole series seemed like a mammoth task that would take forever – but after watching it in small segments, it was all over in a few weeks (or one week… Yep, I’m guilty of that one). It’s the same with assignments (except it feels like you have to press the ‘yes I’m still watching’ button a bit more often, as you have to create the content). Firstly, plan out the tasks you will have to do, set days to complete each (you can adjust as you go – I often find research takes more time than I expected, and proofreading less time than expected), and then get cracking on your H1 piece of work!


Please read the following step in the tune of ‘We’re All in This Together’ by the cast of High School Musical:

  1. Together, together, together everyone! Together, together, let’s go get that H1!

Sorry not sorry for getting High School Musical stuck in your head.

Make sure you check out the Discussion Board for each of your subjects on LMS – often there’s a thread for study groups. Study groups essentially force you to do some work, because you make a commitment to show up. Just like actually putting on your gym gear and travelling to the gym can be the hardest part of a workout, sometimes opening your laptop and committing to study can be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

If you are having trouble in a subject, ask! In my experience, when I have been a bit shy or worried about asking a question, all my worry has faded away when my tutor / lecturer has been super helpful.

If you need some extra help, you could attend an Academic Skills workshop, or even have a tutor; StudentVIP and notices around campus can be a good resource for finding tutors. If you’re studying an Arts subject, make sure you check if it’s offered in the PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) program.


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Source: Giphy


  1. Productive breaks

We just click on Facebook to check our inbox, and then end up tagging our friends in memes, then before we know it, it’s been three hours! It can be great to set breaks with time limits you can stick to. Here are some ideas:

  • Do a short workout – there are heaps of workouts on YouTube of varying lengths – just type in something like ‘ten minute ab workout’. You could also go for a walk around the block
  • Find a TV show with 20-30 min episodes to watch (ideally you will be up to date with the show, so you can only watch one episode at a time)
  • Watch a TED Talk – I don’t know about you, but watching TED Talks always makes me motivated to go and do good in the world!
  • Check out a helpful study article (we have heaps on our blog!)

  1. A perhaps counter-intuitive tip…

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘if you want a job done, give it to a busy person’. I know that I’ve achieved my best results when I was busiest. Being busy means that you have to schedule time to work on a task and it has to be completed in that time. Just like a looming deadline, it just has to be done, and that is often key to pushing through the temptation to procrastinate. You can create your business – e.g. say that ‘on Saturday I will be going out to brunch with a friend, and I want to have my assignment done by then so I can really enjoy my outing as a reward – even though the assignment isn’t due until Monday. Then I can give it one last proofread if I want to, without the stress of the last minute.’
Source: Giphy


  1. Writer’s block

Firstly, start by getting inspired! Find other literature in your field of study, have a read through the articles, and note what you like about them. Did they start with a really nice quote? Did you like the way they contrasted sources in their literature review? Work out how you could use similar methods in your own writing.

Secondly, even though your brain might feel blocked, just try to write down a couple of dot points. Don’t set yourself any restrictions – they can be as out-there as you like! Once you’ve started writing, your brain often kicks into action and starts generating more and more ideas. Think of it like one of those games where you have to think of as many uses as possible for something. Often the first ideas are pretty conventional, but by the end you have some wacky (and awesome) stuff! If you still are having trouble, take a short break – see Tip #3 for some ideas – and then go back to brainstorming, feeling refreshed.


Bonus tip:

Because exams are coming up soon, here is my last tip. This can be REALLY hard at first, but I have found it so helpful every year I’ve been at uni. If you have a long commute, leave your book and headphones at home and study your notes on the train. There’s often nothing else to do except look out the window. Put your phone in your backpack and under your seat so you aren’t tempted to scroll through Facebook. Think about this – even if you only did this for ONE of your subjects for a TOTAL of ONE hour a week – that’s TWELVE more hours of exam study you will have than you would have had otherwise for that subject.


And finally:

Source: Giphy


What are your tips for beating procrastination and writer’s block? Share them in the comments below!


Bella :)