Surviving the First Week at CSU

Studying at CSU can be some of the best years of your life, but a lot of students can be overwhelmed by the changes that come with being a uni student. Bathurst campus resident, Sam, gives us the lowdown on settling into student accommodation, joining in on the O-Week fun, working out your uni timetable, and generally getting into the spirit of uni life - whichever CSU campus you're at!

Making the Most of O-Week

The O-Week programs offered across CSU campuses are a great way to get your first taste of life as a responsible, scholarly university student (right?!). The programs naturally encourage meeting and partying down with fellow students, but they also have a lot of helpful seminars and opportunities to take some of the uncertainty out of this big life step.

2013 O-Week Dates

Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Orange, Wagga Wagga: Monday 25th February - Friday 1st March

Dubbo: Tuesday 26th February - Friday 1st March

Port Macquarie: Thursday 28th February - Friday 1st March

Wangaratta: Tuesday 19 February

Canberra: 26 February

Parramatta: 25 February  

Campus Accommodation

For students who are moving into on-campus accommodation, you can look forward to what many students say is the quintessential university experience. Living on campus gives students a great deal of independence, but can be the most daunting part of transitioning into university life, particularly if you are moving cities to study.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering ‘What do I need to buy?’ This all depends on the type of accommodation that you will be moving into, as CSU offers catered, semi-catered, and self-catered options. Catered accommodation means that students will be able to get their meals from the campus dining room while not having to cook. Self-catered accommodation includes shared kitchens where students will be responsible for their own cooking. Students opting for self-catered accommodation will therefore need to shop for food. Semi-catered accommodation is a mixture of the two, with students staying in self-catered residences but also having the option to have four meals per week at the campus dining room.

Aside from groceries, other essential items include toiletries, laundry products, and stationary. CSU accommodation includes dryers, washing machines and clotheslines, and for the forgetful, many campuses have a mini-mart for those last minute supplies. CSU Bathurst’s printery also offers calendars, diaries, and notebooks to keep you on top of your study. One thing that CSU does require of every student is internet access, so a laptop or a desktop for your room is essential. Wifi is available across all CSU campuses, and the Department of IT will be around during O-Week to help the computer illiterate numb their tech headache and get set up.

 

Making Friends

Socialising is an undeniably important aspect of university life, and friendships made during these years can last a lifetime. Given that many students relocate to study at CSU, O-Week places a lot of importance on offering ample opportunities to go out and meet new people, with events running everyday of the week. Previous years have seen trivia and poker nights at the uni bar, op-shop formals, and Bathurst’s (in)famous dorm boot camps, where first years will be marched downtown with their dorm and ordered to complete hilarious and embarrassing tasks to the amusement of onlookers. Think crawling across busy pedestrian crossings, being ordered to hold hands and skip joyfully, and facing the wrath of super soakers should one choose to dissent.

O-Week is also the perfect opportunity to sign up for the many student-run social and sporting clubs, many of which run inter-campus. Joining a number of clubs at CSU is almost like an unofficial requirement for graduation, and puts you in touch with a group of like-minded individuals to share and discuss the important things, like guitars and video games. Favourites include the Music Club, which organises open mic nights and Bathurst’s Beeramid Sounds Festival and Village Fair; DK Pool Club, which holds weekly pool competitions and is one of the biggest nights of the week; and sporting clubs for just about any sport you could ever want to play and every sport you didn’t know you wanted to play, including fencing. Fencing!

Beyond O-Week, ‘Club Day’ is held in either the first or second week of Semester 1 and provides the next best chance to enlist. Held across most CSU campuses, the library lawn becomes an instant market of student vendors all vying for your membership, many for the incredible price of $0. You just can’t afford to be unsociable. But even if you can, you can create your own club so long as one doesn’t already exist for your area of interest, and if said area of interest is being unsociable then you just might be in luck.

Once your classes actually begin, most lecturers treat the first week or so as a ‘getting-to-know-you’ period, and everyone has the chance to say who they are and what they like. If club day hasn’t gotten you out of your shell yet, then sparking up a conversation with the people next to you will. Even if you’re a shy one (myself included), remember: it’s everyone else’s first day too!
 

Organising your timetable

Now that you have scoped out the bar, joined the water polo club, and made a bunch of new besties, it’s time to figure out what the heck exactly it is you are supposed to be doing for the next year (at least). The number one thing O-Week student leaders get asked about is how to pick and enrol in your subjects and find your timetable. Even the best of us have been known to struggle with this, but brochures will be on hand to guide you through it, and student help desks are on standby to do it for you if it gets too complicated.

Essentially, you choose your subjects according to when they are available (Semester 1 or Semester 2), and then you cross-check their timetable arrangements to make sure there are no clashes. This is all done on CSU’s online student learning system called Interact. Once you have your subjects chosen, you can write your timetable down in your new CSU diary. Handy, eh? Now all you have to do is find the right room. Campus maps will be handed out during O-Week, but PDF’s are also available by visiting www.csu.edu.au/about/locations, and following the links to your campus.
 

Textbooks

Last, but certainly not least, is textbooks. Your textbooks will become your Bible or a roadmap to navigate through your subjects, and they form the basis for the entire structure of a given subject (pro-tip: the lecturers get most of their exam questions from them). CSU campuses have a Co-op Bookshop outlet, which stocks all of the textbooks for all of the subjects on offer. Even if they run out, never fear. They will gladly order in extra copies, and in the meantime, the library often has a few extra copies that can be borrowed or photocopied (copyright permitting).


So with your accommodation, new friends, club memberships, timetable, and your textbooks all organised, it’s time to go and get smart! Good luck!