Surviving the First Week of Uni at Melbourne

It is a truth widely acknowledged that the first week of university has the potential to be simultaneously the most hectic, terrifying, panic-stricken and also entertaining week of your undergraduate degree. Clubs and societies are working over-time to win you over by hosting a cavalcade of open parties, while high school acquaintances dart through crowds, shouting down mobile phones, trying to find each other in a sea of undergraduate students. Not to mention the hosts sponsored by the university who will drown you with kindness. It’s like Boxing Day sales at Chadstone or Eastland, but actually pretty fun by comparison. Amongst this hype you are expected to find some clarity and decide on the subjects you will focus on for the next four months. Striking a balance between immersing yourself in the mass hysteria and bunkering down to make decisions for the birth of your academic life can be tough, which is why we have prepared the guide to ‘Surviving the First Week of Uni’ which will endeavour to act as the Lonely Planet guide for your journey into the Melbourne undergraduate society.

Surviving the First Week at Melbourne Uni

O-Week (Tuesday 26 February - Friday 1 March 2013)

I cannot over-emphasise this: get out during O-Week and meet as many people as you can. During this time, the clubs and societies go berserk trying to sign up new students. Thinking back to my first year O-Week, I recall joining the Scandinavian Club on the proviso that they supplied free pizza every Thursday for their members. ‘This is hardly a typical Northern European arrangement’, I thought to myself, but signed up regardless. The promise of free pizza in fact turned out to be good, and on top of that I was able to meet a stack of lovely Nordic patriots along the way. To this day, the Scandinavian Club still invites me to their events via Facebook. It was a bond over pizza that was never to be broken.

Pizza parables aside, O-Week is a unique time of year that brings out the best in university culture. Everybody’s willing to try new things and the university’s clubs and societies are more hospitable than words can give justice to. Go to every day possible and enjoy!


It might not seem like the most fun thing to do during your first week at university, but try and attend as many lectures as possible. Trust me, you don’t want to select four subjects that sound nice, only to find that you’ve fallen asleep after the first or second slide of your lecturer’s Week Two presentation. That kind of routine can get pretty old pretty quickly. Instead, shop around and make the lecturers work for your enrollment!

Also if you get lost, don’t panic. The university employs over 3,500 academic staff alone, and most of them are happy to help dazed and confused first year students find their lecture theatres. If you can’t find them however, just run up to one of the volunteers in blue shirts working on behalf of the student union, they’ll guide you on.

Best Food Spots

Plush Fish: Located just at the front of the Student Union building. It’s the one-stop shop for the student staple diet of coffee and sushi. We know what you’re doing right now, making repulsed expressions at the thought of raw fish and milk blending together. It’s time to stop acting coy, we know you’ll try it at one point or another, in your rush to the John Medley or Elizabeth Murdoch building, we won’t judge you for it either.

The Ian Potter café: Located on the outskirts of the university on Swanston Street, the Potter often takes students a little while to find. It’s a little pricey, but it’s a nice get-away from the super-charged environment of Union House, which is invariably positively bursting with activity at the start of the academic year.