These are some nuggets of wisdom I obtained during my first year of university.
I now bestow them upon you.
Some are more significant than others.
Prioritise them how you see fit.
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01. Use initiative
Don’t be that kid on your course Facebook page who asks what the layout and referencing requirements are, or what your course coordinator’s email is, or when the assignment’s due. One of the key differences between high school and university is that you shouldn’t have to be spoon fed. Go on a voyage of discovery and check the student handbook—or Google it.
You WILL regret wearing your lanyard around campus. It’s okay, it’s a common error of judgement (I will personally own up to this) but it’s not too late to pass it off as a satirical jab at fresher culture. Unless of course, wearing your lanyard is a means of self-expression, in which case, no judgement, you do you.
03. We be clubbing all night and day
It’s very easy to get sucked into the madness that is club sign ups. It’s super fun and beneficial to get involved in as much as possible, but be somewhat selective about what you put yourself down for, or you’ll end up feeling guilty about deleting emails en masse.
04. You’ll last longer
It is TOTALLY acceptable—scratch that, ENCOURAGED—to wear flat shoes when clubbing. Hills and heels are like Heathcliff and Catherine, and drunkenly manoeuvring the Dixon or Church street steps is significantly less difficult when not on stilts. Unless, of course, having broken ankles makes you feel beautiful, in which case, no judgement, you do you.
05. The Halls Have Eyes
Be aware that there is a possibility that you are being watched.
Start watching a Dota stream, or reading Johnlock fanfic during a lecture, and you may find yourself on the Overheard/Overseen at Vic Facebook page. Make of this what you will.
06. Don’t screw the crew.
It’s been said before but it appears it needs to be reiterated. While I personally know couples who are a proven exception to the rule, falling madly in love—or even just sleeping with—the person in the room across the hall from you is a Big Risk. There’s a 2.5 per cent chance that you two will end up being the real life Carl and Ellie from Up, and a 97.5 per cent chance that something will go embarrassingly wrong.
If you’re really keen on them, wait a couple of months before making a decision. Witness them at their most tragic: help put them to bed and make sure they’re not lying in their own vomit etc. Know what you’re getting yourself in for.
07. Expand your horizons
Chances are that the people you are best buds with in O-Week will not be your long-term friends (see 06 above for potential explanation). The best course of action, strategically, is to make as many acquaintances as you possibly can. It’s scary as shit, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Sit by strangers in your lectures and tutorials (it does help if you actually go to these) or join a table of strangers at lunch. Most people are just as alone and overwhelmed as you are and they’ll welcome the interaction.* You’ll expand your social circles, have a wider selection of candidates to participate in certain activities with and maybe meet some friends for life.
*Prime window of opportunity: the first two to three weeks.
08. Posses are passé
For most, the time spent at university will be the most social period of your life. You are surrounded by people constantly. But being content with your own company is a skill everyone should cultivate. You become more self-sufficient, you aren’t limited by the wants and needs of others and you don’t have to wait around for people, who don’t know what they want, to make a decision.
(Also, for my singles out there, being able to pull in clubs becomes infinitely easier when riding solo—just make sure you’re safe).
09. (Sometimes it even gets stolen…)
For God’s sake, if you put laundry on that is due to finish at 2.30pm, you better be standing there, waiting at 2.29. Washing machines are almost always in high demand (especially when people have tests and exams coming up) and if you aren’t keeping to a tight schedule, then you better make sure that you’re okay with the possibility of strangers touching your underwear.
10. 40-60 winks
You may not have had a nap since you were in kindergarten, but all of a sudden, at university, Naps Are Everything. It’s a strangely universal truth and I have no idea why it happens. Once upon a time you could do six hours of school, 10 hours of internet and then crash at 3am. Now, you sit down to do a four-page reading and boom, you’re out. Naps are glorious, but when abused they can seriously hold you back from achieving things. If you feel yourself fading, set an alarm on your phone. Anything over an hour and you’ll either wake up feeling groggy or just hit snooze and call it a night—even if it’s only 10am. Everything in moderation, kids.