What I wish I had known in first year uni

Uni students year round lament the fact that they didn’t quite learn quick enough about just how different uni is to school. How does it work, how do I choose subjects, how do I go on exchange, where can I buy a good ham sandwich, which lectures can I miss, and where can I buy cheap textbooks? Here, students from universities across Australia tell you first-hand what they wish they had known when starting out at uni.

“How useful clubs and societies are for making friends. They seem cliquey at first, but everyone’s always really inviting.” – John, Bachelor of Arts, University of Melbourne

“To stick it out and get more involved in clubs and societies.” – Ella, Bachelor of Fine Arts, UNSW (COFA)

“I wish I sat down with my course convenor and discussed how my degree would work, and actually thought about which subjects I would want to take later on so I could plan my degree better.” – Kirit, Bachelor of Digital Media/Bachelor of Computer Science, UNSW

“That university life is such a luxury, so you ought to really embrace all the opportunities available to you while you can!” – Ivan, Bachelor of Music Performance, USyd

“If you want to study Middle Eastern Studies, do Arabic in first year!!” – Pip, Bachelor of Arts, USyd

“Listen to the library staff presentations at O-Week. They’ll give the same presentation nine times, but listen properly at least once, or studying will be exponentially harder.” – Felice, Bachelor of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, UQ

“How to better manage my personal finances.” – Kirsten, Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Monash University

“I wish I had known not to expect to get great marks and a group of new friends straight away. These are both things I managed to achieve gradually over a period of time. To most administration people, you are just a student number and a nuisance, don’t expect to get any special treatment just because you ask nicely.” – Penny, Bachelor of Fashion and Textiles Design, UTS

“Don’t bother with Ref coffee. Make sure you wear gloves in Chemistry. Try and stay awake in Botany lectures otherwise you’ll have to sit a supplementary exam.” – Will, Bachelor of Science, University of Tasmania

“Volunteer, enquire and get involved with as many things as possible (but make sure it doesn’t severely affect your grades.)  It only takes your involvement in one event to give you contacts that may potentially be your future employer.  It’s all about networking, and I wish I had realised the importance of it earlier.” – Danielle, Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Creative Industries, QUT

“More about what to expect at uni. It can be a bit of a shock.” – Tom, Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Griffith University

“I wasn’t aware that students could get help from the librarians with referencing, if I had known I would have saved my self a lot of marks!” – Xana, Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), Swinburne University

“That no matter your problem at uni – whether to do with study, personal stuff, managing your finances, or finding an internship – there is always a solution, you just have to know who to ask.” – Luke, Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Relations, La Trobe University

“I wish someone had told me that the annoying group assignments I was forced into doing, would end up introducing me to some of my closest friends at uni. I may have been a bit more enthusiastic going into them! I wish I had known that going to class is not completely nerdy, but actually can be the key to passing. I also wish I had known to check my uni email address everyday.” – Emma, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Communications, University of Queensland

“Some degrees don’t leave you much flexibility in undertaking Bond’s amazing internship programs. Be sure to speak to your program advisor and plan out your degree preference from day one.” – Milly, Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of International Relations, Bond University

“How bad parking was.” – Robert, Bachelor of Environmental Science, Deakin University

“P’s (Pass marks) might get degrees but they wont get you a job. It’s easy to lose focus at uni and not put in effort but in the end, graduate recruiters look at your transcript.” – Katarina, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce, USyd

“That five hour breaks don’t mean you can go watch a movie and explore the city every Wednesday.” – Alex, Bachelor of Journalism, RMIT

“Where to get a cheap drink!” – Anna, Bachelor of Arts, USyd

“What you do straight out of school will not determine the course of the rest of your life. Do whatever you think is right for you at the time. If it’s a three year Commerce or Arts degree then do that and if you then decide you want to Med or Law or Aeronautical-Engineering then do that. You’d be amazed by how many people stick around after finishing a degree to do something else. Three years will fly by and you probably won’t want to leave uni. Don’t stress. It’ll all work itself out.” – David, Bachelor of Laws, USyd