Surviving the First Week at Monash University

Monash Business and Commerce student, Hayley, gives you a hands-on guide to enrolling, surviving and enjoying your time at Monash Uni. Hayley provides you with great tips of accepting your offer, where to go and what to do on enrolment day, to where to find the best coffee and study places.

Accepting your Monash Offer and Enrolment Day

Beginning uni can be a completely overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to enrol, select subjects, choose your majors and organise your timetable, but you have to find your way around a huge new building.  Having faced the terror myself, I’ve come to learn all the tricks of surviving the first week of uni and have created a guide to make sure you come out alive too!

How to Accept Your Offer and Enrol
When you receive your offer letter from Monash, it will contain a lot of important information regarding acceptance and enrolment. Each degree will have an Enrolment Day, where you come to campus to enrol and select subjects. Your offer letter will include details of the time and date of your Enrolment Day so make sure you are able to attend and know how to get your campus.

When the big day rolls around, there are a few things you will need to take along with you:

  • Your offer letter: This will prove you actually received an offer from Monash and will contain your student number which is essential in the enrolment process.

  • Photo ID and a pen.

  • Do some pre-Enrolment Day research: Visit the Monash website to confirm times and have a look at the Monash University Handbook for information about your degree.

Once you get to campus, you will be bombarded with heaps of enrolment information and instructions. It really is essential to listen carefully and follow directions so you don’t have to go back and repeat the enrolment process again. Monash acceptance and enrolment is a six step process that you complete on the day in one of the faculty computer labs.

Completing Enrolment: Creating your Monash Computer Account
The first step in acceptance and enrolment is to create a computer account. You will need to visit to do this. A step by step guide of how to enrol can also be found at this address. To create your computer account you need to register for a new account using the student ID written on your letter of offer from Monash. After you agree to the terms and conditions you will be given an Authcate user name which along with your student ID, you will need to record.

Once you have established your account you can begin step two, ‘Start WES Tasks’. Here you will log into the Monash Web Enrolment System, which is basically a student information system that contains your academic record, exam timetables and scholarship offers. After you log in you need to select if you are in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) student or a Full-Fee student, then click the ‘Enrol/Re-Enrol link’. In this section you need to provide your contact details, complete an enrolment questionnaire and supply information for HECS-HELP. You must record all transaction numbers during this process as they are required for collection of your student ID.

Selecting your Subjects
With all your degree information in mind you can start the next step ‘Enrol in Subjects’. To do this, log into WES select ‘Enrol/Re-Enrol’ and then go to ‘Unit Selection’. You will need to click ‘To add units click here’ and type in the subject codes of the units you would like to do. I recommend having the Handbook open so you can confirm subject codes and go back and double check possible electives before you enrol in them.

Each year Monash releases a Handbook outlining each degree available and the majors and subjects within them. It is really important you go online and check out what subjects you can choose for your degree, if you can choose them, before you enrol! It’s an awful feeling turning up on enrolment day and having to randomly pick subjects you have no information on!

Once you have a clear understanding of the rules regarding your subject choices, you can start to look through the Handbook and get an idea of what you would like to do. Look at subjects that you think you would enjoy because if you don’t enjoy it you won’t study for it! For some degrees you may not know what your area of interest is in your first week, but remember you can always contact your faculty to change your subjects as you discover what areas you would like to pursue. Just remember to do your research and you will make the right subject choices!

Collecting Your Student Card
Finally it’s time to collect you student card! Each campus has their own Student Services Centre, where you will need to go to have your photo taken and collect your card. Make sure you smile because you will have this same card for the whole of your degree (unless you lose it, in which case it costs $70 to replace).

Surviving the First Week at Monash Uni

How to Find your Lectures and Tutorials
Once you have your timetable you actually have to turn up to class. This might not be as easy as it sounds. Regardless of the campus you’re on, finding your way around is going to be difficult in your first week. Each campus uses its own system of organising buildings which is quite logical once you figure it out. My number one tip to find your way around is to grab yourself a free student diary from the student services centre. Not only is it a great tool for checking important dates and writing down when your assignments are due, but it also contains maps of every campus in the back. Once you have the maps on hand it’s easy to follow the signs around the campus and find your lecture theatres and classrooms.

Where to find the Best Coffee and Food
Surviving long hours of study would be rather difficult without a good dose of caffeine, not to mention the occasional study snack. Monash is home to many coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and grocers that cater for all your nutritional needs. Each campus has their own selection of food facilities and with so many on offer that Monash has released the Monash Good Food Guide 2012. The guide provides details on each food outlet and awards five outlets per year for the best service, best value, best coffee, best chips and a green award. You can download your own copy of the guide on the Monash website.

Where to Study
When it is time to study, your safest choice is likely to be your campus library. Each library will have separate areas for students to study in silence as well as areas for groups to work in. Everyone will prefer a different environment when they are studying, so it is a good idea to have a look around your campus and library to find an area that is suited to you. Each day will varying in the amount of people around and noise level making it essential to have a back up study area. Gippsland campus students should explore the three story library in building 1E. It includes several ‘Silent Study Areas’, desks and computer areas with a closing time of 8pm. While the downstairs area of the library is debatably the quietest place in the whole uni, upstairs is a great place to gather for some study with friends.

5 Tips for Your First Five Days

1. Get to know the lecturers and library and support staff
The lecturers and library and support staff are there to help you and answer all of your questions, so make sure you get to know them in your first week! Familiarising yourself with the staff ensures you know who to go to with any queries or concerns. When you’re stuck writing your first assignment, having a knowledge of the staff that can help you out is really beneficial, so make sure you introduce yourself and write down all contact details.

2. Organise the Purchase of Your Textbooks
You will receive your booklist on enrolment day and it is really important to check it out straight away and organise the purchase of your books. Each campus has a Bookshop that sells all of the textbooks you need, but I recommend to first have a look at the library. The library will sometimes have your required textbooks on the shelf, so you may be able to borrow them and avoid the cost of buying. However, if you are lucky enough to have the library stock your books you really have to get in early in the week as they get borrowed out really quickly! If you can’t find what you need in the library the bookshop is the next best place. Most students purchase their textbooks in the first week so the Bookshop often runs out of copies and will put you on a waiting list. It’s hard to avoid this in your first semester because you get your booklist so late, but in later semesters you will know to get in there early!

3. Go to O-Week!
O-Week is a great way to familiarise yourself with your new campus and find out any important information you may need to know. While you will have to participate in games and activities that initially seem rather ridiculous, they are actually a really helpful way to get to know your peers and the campus staff. Heaps of pamphlets and resources will be handed out that will inform you of campus services and events you may be interested in.

4. Make Friends!
Making new friends is one of the best aspects of uni life. Each campus is buzzing with potential friends that can be easily met through the many social events held in the first week. You may also choose to join clubs and societies to extend your social circle and get fully involved in the university experience. Talking to people during O-Week activities and at campus events will help you to get to know people in your degree and make classes more enjoyable to attend. You will make uni friends eventually so you may as well do it in your first week!

5. Have Fun
I know the first week of uni can be filled with complicated administration issues and thousands of decisions about your degree, but make sure you have fun! The first week is filled with social events such as free BBQs and uni nights. It is the perfect time to relax and take advantage of what’s on offer before you’re swapped with assignments. You only have one first week of uni so make sure you get involved!