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.



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.

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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:



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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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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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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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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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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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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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 😊

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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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.

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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

Five Galleries Near Campus That Aren’t the Ian Potter

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.


The uni gallery has a lot to offer and it’s a great place to go and clear your head for a bit before getting back to that essay, but if you’ve already seen the current exhibition, you’re probably wanting somewhere else to go.

Luckily for you and your need for cultural stimulation (or simply a break from uni and its stresses) there are other places nearby that you can go and get your art fix.

These galleries are all small exhibition spaces and collections, meaning they are perfect for that quick study break before you have to go back to the real world – and they are definitely worth a look.

Rathdowne Galleries

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Source: Rathdowne Galleries

Situated in the gorgeous Rathdowne Village, this gallery gives you three for one and a little bit of everything between them. The first gallery houses a fine collection of early Australian and contemporary prints, meaning whatever you’re in to, they’ll have it. You can also see a grand display of Asian art dating anywhere from last year to a few centuries ago; these are pieces that the owners personally collected while living there.

If you keep going further into the space, you’ll end up in Australia’s oldest gallery, the Joshua McClelland Print Room, which was established over 90 years ago. 103-year-old Joan McClelland is still very much a part of its operation, and if you happen to go to the gallery when she’s around, I bet she would have some incredible stories to share. Her daughter and son-in-law, Phillipa and Bill, run the gallery day to day and are extremely happy to answer any questions students have about art and the history of their pieces.

Sutton Gallery

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Source: Nick-D

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find any excuse to end up on Brunswick Street, so when you’re there next, make sure to check out Sutton Gallery. Do not be fooled by the industrial façade: the interior has the perfect feel of wide open spaces, bright lighting and lots of wall space that suits contemporary art so well. New exhibitions are put on every six weeks: the last one featured Matt Hinkley and was on until April 13th. Also, if you’re ever curious as to what sorts of prices contemporary Aussie artists are selling their work for, commercial galleries like Sutton are the perfect place to go. If you’ve got a spare $12,500, Hinkley’s work is up for grabs!

Printmaker Gallery

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Source: Printmaker Gallery

The Printmaker Gallery boasts a collection of over one hundred artists, mostly Australian but with some international names in there too. Established in 1975, the gallery focuses on original prints: lithographs, wood cuts, any kind of print you can think of. Most of the time they will have their own collection on display, but five times a year they put on solo or group exhibitions. The exhibition I saw when I visited was by Melbourne’s own Paul Compton. His work can be seen here.

Steps Gallery

Despite its two entrances (one through 62 Lygon Street and the other through Artee Cafe), Steps Gallery is known to be a little hidden. Upon entering I was asked, “How did you find us?!” but I was incredibly welcome. Steps is perhaps one of Melbourne’s best smaller galleries because it gives visitors the opportunity to meet the artists. I spoke with three of the four artists exhibiting and was given wonderful insights into their processes and inspirations. The artists at Steps have so much to do with the organisation and curation of their exhibitions, meaning that you are given a much more intimate look at their art the way they intended it to be looked at.

RMIT Gallery

Source: RMIT Gallery

I know there’s always a fear of having a “she doesn’t even go here” moment at another university’s gallery, but if you can put that aside for the sake of art then the RMIT Gallery is definitely worth a look. A recent exhibition showcased 130 years of photography at RMIT through over 100 examples of work by RMIT staff and alumni since 1887. This was on until the 13th of April (a lot of Melbourne’s galleries seem to be on the same cycle!) Go on, get over yourself and have a look. Their entire exhibition schedule for the year can be seen here.

– Jen

How to Survive Long Commutes

If you’re lucky, you have a ten-minute walk to campus – and the rest of us envy you. Seriously. Commuting can be the most time consuming and tedious part of university for a lot of students. Here are some of the most productive ways to make the most of your travels.

Before the Journey

1. Organise your bag.
Don’t leave it until the following morning! You will probably miss your transport or completely forget something.
2. Make lunch the night before.
If you’re making a sandwich or taking a dish that needs to be reheated, leave it in the fridge overnight. Stick a sticky note on your bag to remind yourself!
3. Check your timetable
Checking the timetable the night before and setting a few alarms for the following morning will help. For example, I set my first alarm roughly two hours before I need to be at the train stop with alarms at 10 minute intervals. Try and catch a particular bus/train/tram frequently – it’ll stop the last minute rush and panic of trying to work out if you’ll get to uni on time.




During the Journey

1. Lecture Revision Time
The only reason I manage to keep my lecture notes up to date is because I have so much spare time on the train. Check the LMS the night before (or designate a block of time in the morning) to download any lectures or readings onto an electronic device so that you can run through the notes beforehand. If you catch the V/Line service, the second carriage always has a few seats with a little fold out desk, which are a godsend whether you have a laptop or an exercise book. Even if you’re just typing up and adding comments to sections on the lecture slides, all preparation will be useful.
2. Tutorial Preparation
If you’ve prepared everything for your lectures, work on your tutorials! Carry a spare small pencil case in your bag for readings, with items like pens, pencils and highlighters, and write some dot points for any tutorial questions in the coming week. Writing a little summary on the readings can also help if you’re unsure about the content.
3. Assignments
You may not have time to write a 2,000 word essay (no matter how long the journey feels!), but preparing an outline or dot pointing the main elements of your assignments can help in the long run and a train journey is a perfect time for it.
4. Diary Planning and Revising
In that 20- minute tram ride up to the university, it’s not enough time to prepare for classes, but it is useful for jotting down important dates, remembering extra plans you have for the day/week and that last minute study cram before an exam (I don’t recommend the latter).
5. Relax!
If you’ve finished preparing for the day/week or your lecture content won’t load (like all the time), spend some time relaxing. Spend some time reading, listening to music or browsing Unimelb Adventures… Leave it to the end of the journey as a reward so you’re not distracted.

Apps and Ideas for iPads/Tablets:

My iPad is the reason I manage to stay organised. You can put absolutely everything on them and they’re only a small amount of money to invest in. Make the most of your student discounts!
1. Consider investing in a small Bluetooth keyboard to type up notes if you don’t want to lug around a massive laptop all day. It’ll save your back in the long run!
2. Pages and OneNote are great for note typing and iBooks and Adobe Reader are great for downloading lecture slides.
3. Small tablets and iPad minis only take up a small amount of room on lecture desks and on the train (if they have desks) or they can sit on your lap.
4. Cloud services such as Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox can be great if you want to transfer lecture slides to your main computer when you arrive home.


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Remember that even Spider Man has to take serious measures on public transport…

Happy commuting!

– Rosemary


VCE to Uni: A New Lifestyle

Lucienne has just completed her first year at the University of Melbourne. In this three-part ‘VCE to Uni’ series, she reflects on her experience of university life and shares her tips. Read on for some great advice in terms of settling in and getting involved!

For many students, moving on from school can mean embarking on a totally new lifestyle. Whether this is moving out, getting a job or beginning to use public transport to get to uni – or all three at once – it can all create a lot of stress. My aim in this post is to touch on these areas and hopefully provide a basic guide to adjusting to a new lifestyle, to make it easier for you!

Transport and location

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Many people who attend Melbourne University are not Melbournians and thus may be unfamiliar with how to navigate their way to Melbourne University. Before you start university, it is a good idea to work out how you are going to travel. Although there are a few carparks near campus, the most affordable options are: riding a bike or using public transport. The nearest train station to university is Melbourne Central station and from there you can either take a 10-minute walk or catch the tram along Swanston St. If your train goes straight to Flinders Street, these same trams depart from the Swanston St tram stop next to the station. All of the Swanston St trams go past Melbourne University and usually come every few minutes. There are also various bus stops surrounding the university, with the 401 shuttle bus going to and from North Melbourne station. For more information on how to get to university from your origin, check http://ptv.vic.gov.au/. Use the ‘Journey Planner’ feature to work out the fastest way (or the way with the least walking!) to get to uni.

A good way to figure out your surroundings around university is to take part in the Destination Melbourne program. This is run at the beginning of the year by the student union, predominately to help those from outside inner Melbourne find their feet. It takes place over a few days at the end of January (about a month before O-Week) and you board at the colleges and get to meet a whole bunch of new people. Many of the activities take place outside of the university, so it is a great chance to see what the city of Melbourne has to offer. As Melbourne University is in the centre of Melbourne, you are around hundreds of different stores. With Lygon St and the City centre all within walking distance, you can always explore and find whatever it is you are looking for.

Moving Out

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For those of you who will be moving out after you finish school, this can come with some big challenges. For those of you interested, college is a great way to live with a group of other students and make friends. For those who are interested in this, search up the colleges and see what each are about (click here). If you want to be around other students but would rather not go to college, UniLodge is an environment you may prefer (check out UniLodge here).

For those who are looking to go to share houses, live on their own, or move closer to university – the nearby areas to Melbourne University are Carlton, Brunswick, Parkville, Flemington and the City. In saying this, do not let this deter you from trying to find housing elsewhere in Melbourne. Melbourne University is at the centre of public transport so there are always accessible ways to reach university even if you are not within walking distance. For those who are interested in student housing, check out the housing page on the Unimelb website.

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If you are unsure on whether you are financially able to move out, check out this site’s budget planner tool. I used this before I moved out and was able to approximate how much living costs would add up to be. As it is hard to estimate how much bills can be, I would recommend having some extra money saved up aside from your living costs so that if worst comes to worse, you are able to have funds to assist you. Everyone is different in terms of living costs but if you have a stable job and enough money saved (that it can keep up with your living costs for a few months), it should be manageable.

When you move out, the responsibility now relies on you to clean, cook, do laundry and ensure your bills are paid on time. What helped me manage this was to try and put aside 30 minutes a day to ensure that I am able to clean up my place, organise my next day and work out what bills to pay (if they are due). Writing down all the different bills you need to pay and on what dates ensures that I can approximate how much money to put aside for such areas. Once again, everyone is different so whatever works for you and allows you to stay on top of your finances should be fine. It can also be extremely worthwhile to research your options in regards to financial support.

Getting a Job

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If only… there are plenty of trees at uni!

Although many students have jobs before university, there are some who do not. Jobs can be a great way to be financially independent and also a way to generate savings. The biggest thing about getting a job is that you are now having other commitments aside from university. This means learning how to juggle social, academic and working life. Each person is different, but it is always good to learn how much you are prepared to dedicate to each part of your life as you want to ensure you are able to manage everything (to avoid getting overwhelmed). Using a diary can be a great way to stay organised. It is recommended by the Student Connect department at uni that a students’ part-time work does not exceed 20 hours during semester (to ensure you can perform at your best!) – so keep this in mind.

If possible, try to find a job that can work around your study. Although this is not always achievable, talk to your managers about the hours you are prepared to work. The biggest tip I could give would be to plan your timetable before you start university, so that way you can schedule your classes in a way that can still allow you to work your desired hours. For those who are looking for jobs, check out Seek and UMSU jobs or head to Union House as they often have job vacancies up on the notice board. You can join the ‘Students at Work’ program offered by Unimelb to get jobs on campus. Check that out here.

If you have never had a job before, some good places to apply could be local cafes, fast food restaurants, clothing stores, newsagents and cinemas. They are often hiring and are often open to take those who have had no experience. If you would like to become more qualified, you could always look into taking a barista course or getting your RSA certificate. This can help you become more qualified in specific fields, which many employers do look for when selecting employees.

Hopefully, some of you found this post useful in highlighting some of the things to expect after school. Remember to allow yourself some time to adjust to a new environment and that even if things do not go according to plan – you may learn a valuable life skill and lesson.  


5 Things That Make You Appreciate UniMelb When on Exchange

Makenzie is a current UniMelb student on exchange at Jean Moulin University Lyon III in France for a semester.

When it comes to university admin and facilities, we have all done our share of complaining. We know too well of the moments when University admin gives us a run around or when the Wi-Fi drops out when we need it most. It is often that we take these simple glitches in our system for granted and melodramatically complain about their inconvenience when, truth be told, they are rare occurrences and are almost always quickly amended.

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For the past six months I have spent my university semester on exchange in France. Attending a new university has somehow left me with a yearning for those UoM portal crashes, strict word count limits and the occasionally overbearing tutor who takes attendance like its border control.

Whilst at my French host-university there is the added bonus of an abundance of delicious pastries and cheap student cafeterias. Sadly the array of decent snacks aren’t all a university student needs for sustenance. It turns out we actually are very well off at The University of Melbourne and here are just a few things that I miss about that beautiful campus I am able to call my university.


I will begin with something obvious; any university that attempts to function with poor Wi-Fi instantly presents a dilemma. For some reason accessing the Internet at my French university is hugely difficult, unless you are that one lucky person in the classroom sitting in the magic zone, which has a radius of about 30cm. There has even been the odd occasion where my teachers haven’t had Wi-Fi access which blows my mind.

Toilet Seats

It seems weird to say it out loud but for some odd reason all the bathrooms at my host-university, and in greater France, lack the toilet seat. As an Australian standard in public bathrooms it is certainly been an experience adapting to French bathrooms and it still baffles me each time I enter a bathroom that is sans toilet seat…

source: personal
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Teaching Methods

This has probably been the most interesting obstacle to face. It appears that the French teaching method approaches classes with an even more self-motivated teaching style then at the University of Melbourne. Oral presentations were frequent throughout each of my classes and assignment structure was continually modified throughout the course, with optional extra credit assignments being offered for those motivated enough.

The laissez-faire approach to assignments has also been very different to our assignment standards at UoM. For me personally, I like having a word count. A strict set of guidelines for an assignment is ever so helpful and plagiarism checks are without question at UoM. The French system has instead dealt me the ‘5-10 pages’ version, a direct submission to the tutor via email and no cover sheets or strict referencing procedures. As someone who enjoys structure with assignments I find this system different and it always left me wondering about the academic quality of my work.

French Administration

This is a big one. Around the world France upholds a reputation for having terrible long-winded, time-consuming bureaucratic systems that make any kind of administration difficult. So believe me when I say the rumors are true.

Even at the halfway point of our semester I still had friends caught in the university administration current or dealing with visa administration. It is frustrating, but unfortunately you really can’t avoid this one. So if you are travelling to France, just be prepared.

The University ‘Portal’

At the beginning of semester we were taught how to access our university Intranet, which is basically the same as UoM’s Portal. I assumed that we would use this for each class for all the usual things. Well since that day I can say I have not used it once, and even some of my teachers don’t know how to use it.

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A lot of the things I have listed could be attributed to the fact that we were in an international student program. It could be just French university systems. Nevertheless, they say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and the French system has certainly left me with a desire for all things Unimelb. Exchange however is exactly that. It is all about trying something different, getting out of your comfort zone, and experiencing another lifestyle.

Whilst I may miss the numerous student study areas, the word limits, sufficient wireless, and decent lattes, that fulfill all my coffee dreams at Unimelb, I wouldn’t change my exchange University. Undertaking an exchange semester or year is something I couldn’t recommend more. Prepare yourself for a different learning environment and experience, and you may just be surprised with what you find.

My French university showed me just how good we have it at the University of Melbourne. However, the University of Melbourne just doesn’t have the same accessibility to fresh croissants and good, cheap wine like in France.

For anyone who is considering a student exchange as part of their degree, Unimelb has some amazing partner universities, check them out here: (http://www.mobility.unimelb.edu.au/outbound/index.html)

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– Makenzie

Top 7 Asian eateries around campus for under $10

John X. is currently a third-year biomedicine student at the University of Melbourne. John graduates this year and aspires to study post-graduate medicine (Doctor of Medicine, MD) there.

Asian food. Some say it’s cheap, some say it’s yummy, and some say it gives them a taste of home. Regardless, most of us are poor university students looking for some cheap feeds around campus. Here I’ll take you through my top 7 asian eateries around/near campus for under $10 and tell you why.

7. Uni square cafe


If you’re hauling long study hours at the Law Library, Giblin Eunson or The Spot student lounges, this cafe is convenient for a quick bite to fuel your hungry brains before burying your head in the textbooks again. They offer the standard asian dishes, most being under $10, with a small handful being an extra $1 dearer. You can find this cafe a short way up Pelham st, in the direction of Swanston st.

6. Saigon noodle bar


If you feel like noodle box fresh from the wok, then this is the place. You can choose from a pre-selected range of dishes, or you can mix and match to your own liking. They also serve broth-based dishes too. Be mindful that there’s no eating in so you’ll have to take your meal elsewhere. You can find this bar outside Union House, between the Commonwealth ATMs and The Tree.

5. Norsiah’s kitchen


A cafeteria style restaurant for Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines during lunch times, you pay for a bowl of rice, with your choice of side dishes. You can get 2 servings of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $7; 1 serving of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $6.50; extra bowl of rice for $1, half a bowl for $0.50; extra meat for $2, extra vegetables for $1. You can also order straight from the menu. You can find this place on Swanston Street, opposite Lincoln Square and its tram stop.

4. NL house


Craving mi goreng or nasi goreng? Char kuay teow or curry laksa? If you have a thirst for spices, then NL house really knows how to hit the spot. I’ll be honest, I lied in that this place isn’t under $10 – dishes range from $11-$13, unless you want the mini snack boxes ranging from $6-$8. But apart from the premium price, I just had to mention this place for the quality of food and service. You can find this house on the corner of Grattan Street and Cardigan Street, towards Lygon Street.

3. Egg sake bistro


If you haven’t heard of Egg, then you’ve been living under a rock. This underground place is swarming with hungry students every lunch time. It has a cafeteria section in the centre where you can get a standard don buri (bowl of rice with a side dish of your choice) for $7, or a bento box (bowl of rice with 2 side dishes of your choice) for $8. Alternatively, if you want to beat the queue you can order from a different range of dishes (including udon noodles) at the left entrance, or grab some reasonably priced sushi towards the right entrance. They also have a Choya bar in front of the sushi store for coffee or alcoholic drinks. You can find this place underground at Union House.

2. Oriental house


Similar to Norsiah’s kitchen, but for the Chinese cuisine. You can get a large bowl (about 1000cc)  for $7.5, or a smaller box (about 500cc) for $6.5. The portions for the large bowl is huge, and you get even larger portions if you tell the staff that you’re eating in. You get a choice of 2 side dishes with the large, and a choice of 1 side dish with the small. They also have 3 dim sims for about $2.50. It gets busy during lunch time, but you can get through the line quite quickly and may be lucky enough to find a seat if you’re eating in. You can find this place at Union House, between Pronto’s Pizza and the East entrance.

1. Don Tojo


Although it may not look like much from the outside, this Japanese restaurant wins my heart for value. Dishes range from as cheap as $6.3 to $9.0, portions are good and dishes are made fresh. Need I say more? It’s a little walk from campus, but you can find this hidden gem on Cardigan Street between NL house and the university’s own Health Service clinic.

– John

EDITOR’S NOTE: if prices quoted in this article have changed, please let us know via our Facebook page. All the images in this article are the author’s own.