For some of us, transitioning into university life is easy. For others, the new-found sense of freedom may ironically make it more challenging. Trying to make new friends, adjusting to the new study load, having to travel longer to your university, and getting lost around the campus are some aspects of university life which you may encounter and find challenging. But of course, there are also a lot of things about going to university that are much much muuuuuch better than going to high school! Below are a few things which you can expect to see (and also a few tips as well!).
Orientation Week; Clubs and Societies
Every single university has a week at the beginning of the first semester of the year (some at the beginning of both semesters) where there are various kiosks where you're able to find out and join many different types of clubs and societies. If you feel lonely, this is your time to shine and have a fresh start! Clubs and societies are a great way to meet new like-minded people who you can hang out with during the semester. If you can't find a society you like (which would be rare because the variety is huge!), you can always start one yourself. You never know, you may even become an executive of a society if you participate a lot, which may lead you to many opportunities and it probably wouldn't look too shabby on your resume as well.
Universities are very diverse places, with people from all walks of life. You may find this slightly challenging, but it can also be highly rewarding! You either will go into a university basically knowing no one or only a few people, or you may come together with a huge group of people from the same year in the same high school as you.
If you're going into university alone and because of this you feel a little anxious, just remember, there are so many people in the same situation as you and would love to make new friends as well (so no need to worry!). In saying that, university is not like high school where everyone is required to stay there and mingle with each other, so it may not be as easy to make very close friends. A lot of people just come for their classes and then leave straight away. However, as long as your proactive, you will settle in nicely and build relationships with many different people. Like I said before, clubs and societies are always a great place to meet other proactive people as well. Furthermore, tutorials aren't that bad a place to connect with other people as well. Who knows, you may end up with a lot of new friends there, or even somebody that’s a little more special! (Okay, sorry, being too cheesy I know)
Of course, if you're going to a university that is very popular for graduates of your high school and many people from your year are going to go there too, there's high chance you may feel like you'll stay in the same friend groups as high school and it would be hard to branch out to meet new people. However, just remember, nothing's stopping you in meeting new people; making new friends and keeping your old friends are not mutually exclusive. You can still participate in different societies and do the same things as somebody who is just by themselves could do (don't let your fear stop you and shy away). Even better, use the fact you already have friends to your advantage; you guys can do things and join societies together! It'll be less daunting and you won't have the fear of being alone; just make sure you guys are joining things YOU want to do rather than always putting group interests first and not fully enjoying your university experience. Remember though, if you're doing things as a group, always try to meet new people there as well and not just bundle up by yourselves. Don't be scared because others there might be as well and would love it if you were confident enough to talk to them.
If you thought the HSC was hard and had a huge study load, think again. Each semester at university is like one year of the HSC, crammed into a much shorter period of time.
Studying in university is likely to feel very different to studying in high school; you will not be pushed at all by others and you will honestly need to be able to manage everything yourself. As there is no one to really keep check for you with how much studying you're doing each week, you really need to be able to maintain a good work-life balance. Why not try to experiment with agendas or create studying timetables beforehand during the HSC in order to become better at managing your time?
For many universities, going to lectures may be optional and many students may end up not going to some. However, it is of course still important to attend all your lectures; even if your lecturer isn't the best, it pushes you to keep up with the content and not fall behind. While tutorial attendance is usually checked, it still requires you to push yourself to complete all of your homework and be participative in class. Most of the time, your tutors won't bother to push you to participate and it is up to you to be engaged. Furthermore, while some subjects do check whether you've done your homework, there are answers for a lot of them online and it is very easy for you to cheat; it is up to you to complete all of your homework with integrity if you want to do very well in a particular subject. From many years of studying in high school, you should know that copying down answers is not very helpful at all; you're likely to not be able to understand the content or remember them very well.
Thus, just remember, high school is where others may push you a little, whether its your tutor or your teachers. However, in YOUniversity, it is all about YOU.
What better way to end this blog post by telling you to remember that it is YOUniversity, where YOU are challenged, where YOU will grow, and where YOU will be inspired. (Gee, I should be working on the USYD marketing team)
Jack Zheng | N° 31