There are things I wish I had known before starting uni…
O-Week (Orientation Week for those of you who have been out of Uni for some time) is upon us and classes are start towards the end of February. For some, this is the beginning of your uni/college/tafe experience and it’s so exciting. Yet, it may be unnerving as the unexpected looms, it’s all new and different, and it’s the final step to the “real world”.
Collectively I’ve been at uni for a little while now – a long time actually – but there are things I wish I had known before starting uni. So here are my words of wisdom for those just starting out.
Get your preferred choice of technology (laptop or tablet) ready and organised. Have your hard drive (HD) backed up or get your cloud service prepped and ready, you’ll be using a lot of space on your laptop/computer/tablet. The more accessible your work the easier your life will be, so back it up regularly. Lecturers and tutors are not sympathetic to last minute excuses for extensions.
Print out your timetable with class locations & subject outlines. Generally speaking these are available 2 weeks before classes start.
Get familiar with your university website, student portal, library portal and online resources. Create shortcuts to these areas and bookmark them so they are easily accessible. These are the most used resources and the main connection you have to the uni.
Use your tech. Download recorded lectures and make a playlist. Find apps that will help you manage your time and workload, help you with referencing (EndNote), and download the apps that are associated with your uni or educational institution.
Utilise the IT Help Desk.
For any query or issue you have with your tech, these guys should be able to help you. Make sure you find your closest IT Help Desk, you never know when you’ll need them.
It’s an anxiety inducing and competitive aspect of uni, I’m not going to lie. But it’s one of the easiest ways to bump up your final marks. From experience, participation marks are anywhere between 10% and 20% of the final grade, depending on how the subject is structured.
Go to every single class. Participation is also your attendance and not just your contribution to class conversation. Get your name ticked off, even if the class is boring.
You might not like it, but you still need to do it.
There will be subjects you don’t like. Some subjects may bore you and provide no substance. We’ve all been there. You’re not expected to enjoy every single subject, but they are necessary. It’s these subjects that you need to apply the most effort. Look at the bigger picture, this is one subject that needs to be completed to get to the next one. To make things more interesting, create good looking study notes and find ways to entertain yourself with the workload. Create a countdown of how many classes to go or treat yourself to a cheeky little present/reward at the end of the semester, something to look forward to.
Semesters on average are about 13 weeks (give or take). Plan your time and embrace the next few months of learning. Ask questions. Read your textbooks. Feed off your peers’ feedback, questions, and answers. Engage in conversation with lecturers and tutors. Discussion boards are a great way to ask questions, these should be found in your student portal. Plan and give yourself plenty of time to do your assignments and to edit them. If time happens to get the better of you, brace for the long nights, frantic study sessions, and last minute essays.
Check-in with your tech.
My last and potentially most important piece of wisdom is to make sure your technology is up to date, is prepared for the onslaught of downloads, and is running as fast as it can. If you’re doing a software update, make sure your device can support the upgrade and don’t do it when you’re just about to start on assignments. Prepare your tech at the beginning of the semester, that way you’ll have some piece of mind your tech won’t fail you when you need it most i.e. when you’re doing a last minute assignment or studying for an exam.
An almost graduate