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Five tips for settling into student life

Is this your first semester at university? Are you feeling a little daunted? You’re probably not alone. There are loads of things to think about as you settle into your new life as a student. Here are five cool tips for navigating your way around your new surroundings and transitioning into academic life!

Tip 1: Head to O-Week

Starting university brings you into contact with people from here, there and everywhere – and with so many new faces it can be a daunting experience for some. But that’s where O-Week lends a helping hand. O-Week helps you ease into the new and exciting ways of uni life, and also helps you get familiar with what your uni has to offer and meet some of the people you will be crossing paths with for the next few years. There are sure to heaps of cool student groups, sports clubs and on-campus services you need to know about to help you to make the most of being a student in Sydney. O-Week is the place to go to find out about all of these social clubs, and where you can enjoy some of the most fun-filled days of freebies and great times.

Tip 2: Create an assignment calendar

With so many classes, labs, tutorials, seminars, and workshops to prepare for, making sure you hand in every assignment on time can be hard to manage. Take the burden by creating an assignment calendar: a week-by-week sheet you can pin above your desk or bed, with a list of what’s due for the entire semester. That way you can easily check what you’ve got coming up every time you sit down to study (…or watch YouTube).

Tip 3: Make sure you back-up

The age-old excuse of, “But I saved over my files!” won’t work at university. Due dates are generally pretty non-negotiable, even when it’s a technical error. A lot of students back their files up on a USB thumb drive or external hard-drive. This is a good way to make sure you don’t lose that major assignment you’ve been working on but, if you really want to protect your hard work, nothing beats storing your assignments on a cloud server like MEGA, pCloud, Dropbox or One Drive. You’ll get a free storage space when you sign up – which should be more than enough to save a few essays or lab reports.

Tip 4: Make sure you take time for yourself

You will have a lot of study to do but everyone needs to take a break. So it’s a good idea to find ways to relax, get some exercise and give your mind a rest. There are lots of things you can do. Hit the gym – your building might have one or you might be able to get a good student membership rate at one nearby. Do some yoga – great for the body and the soul. Relax, stretch and take you mind off the books for an hour or so. Simply head out for a walk – the great outdoors beckons and always helps to clear the mind and refocus. Have a screen free day – have you fallen off your chair at the suggestion of not checking your phone or iPad every second? We dare you to try it. Maybe just dip your toe in the water and give it a go for an hour.  You will be surprised at how refreshing it is to ‘switch-off’ from the world for a while.

Tip 5: Choose the right accommodation (… best done before you arrive)

University can be a real struggle if you’re trying to do assignments in the backseat of a car. It’s something that many people assume they can do last minute, but the truth is that the best places fill up well before the start of semester. With so many options to choose from – on-campus or off-campus student accommodation, homestays, private rentals – there are lots of things to consider to ensure you find the find the one that best suits you. For uni students, usually the biggest question is whether to live on or off-campus. For some hints and tips to help decide, check out our blog about the benefits of living off-campus.

Tip 4: Speak to a student advisor about choosing electives

Lots of degrees will require that you take electives outside of your major (and even outside of your faculty). However, be careful what you enrol in! Tree Climbing 101 or The History of Jellybeans might look like interesting subjects at first, yet they may also distract you from taking classes that will add an extra punch to your degree. If you do have the freedom to choose from a general list of subjects, have a chat to a student councillor or careers advisor at your university about their recommendations. You might find that you pad your resume with a minor more relevant to your field of study, take internships in lieu of classes, or take on subjects that prepare you for more advanced stages in your degree!

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