Starting university is a pretty terrifying time. I feel like the header photo from a uni party does a good job of summing it up; me (right), is smiling even though I have no idea what is going on and I have this look on my face like someone is threatening to shoot me if I don’t act like I know what is happening.
Sounds pretty accurate, if you ask me.
Since I graduate this year (and have to become an official adult… brb crying) I thought I’d share some of my wisdom (I say that sarcastically) as to what the hell university is all about. I wish I had someone explain all this stuff to me before I started!
- Tutorials and Lectures.
Yes, yes, uni is all about parties and societies etc etc… but don’t forget that the REAL reason you’re there is because you want to learn something and eventually get recognition for learning it. This means you need to know about the classes going on, and try not to sleep through your alarm every morning.
For me, lectures are usually optional, and to be completely honest it’s rare that I go, because I can catch up online. That said, I do find I perform way better in assessments if I go to the lecture and take good notes.
Tutorials are like school classes, and compulsory. Again, taking good notes helps a lot, and I find that summing up the class at the end in a sentence or two and highlighting it helps me revise a lot quicker when it comes to finals.
I recommend a 4/5 subject notebook that you can take with you to every lecture and tutorial, saving the need to carry more than you have to.
- Assessments suck.
Uni is mainly assessments, sorry to break it to you. You HAVE to look at the weighting as soon as you get the assessment, to know how much time to spend on it. UTILISE YOUR PLANNING SKILLS. Trust me, doing a 60% the night before will only ever lead to you having to repeat the course when you fail it.
Also, learn how to reference properly depending on what your uni asks for. This is usually worth >10% of the assessment. Remember that most unis offer extra writing and referencing support if you can’t get the hang of it.
- Yes, there are parties. Lots of parties.
Uni is very much a social experience, so definitely get involved where you can. At my uni, there are tonnes of different societies to join, from cultural ones, to Quidditch and Game of Thrones. Get involved, go to the uni parties, and make sure you enjoy it all. Trust me, when the real responsibility of finding a job comes around, you’ll regret it if you didn’t spend your young years living it up.
- A degree will get you nowhere.
I know, this is not what you want to hear. But it’s so. Damn. True. A degree alone shows you have no experience, and honestly the things you learn in uni are not super applicable to real life. You aren’t going to be asked to do something, and have to refer back to some reading you did in the middle of Semester one, are you? No. So, use your contacts, your parent’s contacts, and every other bit of help you can to get internships. Doing a few of these in your (stupidly long) holidays will look fantastic on your resume and put you miles ahead of the majority of graduates when the times finally comes to throw the cap.
- Textbooks and readers are stupidly expensive.
This is fairly well known. If you can, buy a reader off a friend in a higher year for cheap, and rent your textbooks off places like Jekkle, or buy them second hand. You’d much rather be missing one reading and have spend $20 on your book then be out of pocket $200 for no reason. Also, if you really can’t afford the textbooks, borrow them for a few hours in the library and photocopy, scan, or take photos of the pages. This has saved me from buying literally tens of textbooks.
- You’re going to have to do your readings.
I know, you can convince yourself that you don’t really need to read this, and that it’s all just bullshit. But, we both know that the time you skip a reading is when a question regarding it is in the final. Just do the readings, you end up on top of things and don’t feel like you’re being set on fire.
- Don’t wear heels, and don’t use a handbag.
Backpack and sneakers. That’s the life motto. When your campus is kilometres big, and has some killer stairs, you’ll know why. Carrying a heavy laptop and textbooks on one shoulder whilst teetering around in stilettos is not going to help you.
I hope this helped at least one person out there! Love you guys,