The Beginner’s Guide To Uni

University is back on, four weeks in – yet the Hyde team understand sometimes it can take a while getting back into the university mode, after a long break! We hope our contributors can help you!

Raquel’s Advice

The following list contains advice I wish I had received before I started university, fresh out of high school.

  1. Do your research. If you don’t want to be wandering around on your first week asking students for help, then have a look at the university’s website and systems (MyVU Portal, VU Collaborate and student email). Also make sure to organise your timetable before the semester begins and arrive early on the first day to get an idea of the campus. There is nothing worse than turning up late on the first day because you didn’t leave enough time to find a parking space. VU’s app (available on Apple products) has great maps of the campuses.
  1. Talk to people. Connections are what make on-campus university different to online courses. By getting to know your lecturers, tutors and fellow students, it will be easier to get the assignment done and you will be building industry connections. Contribute in your classes and your tutors will appreciate it.
  1. Get to know the people doing the same course as you. You will be seeing them in lectures and tutorials for the next few years, so it is better to make a positive first impression than only introducing yourself when you need something from them.
  1. Get involved in the university. The best way is to join a club or society is in orientation week, but you can also become involved in contributing to Hyde Magazine and using the VU facilities. You want to be able to say that you did more than just arrive for you classes then go home. Choose something related to you course or interests.
  1. Get out of the high school routine and be proactive. Some lecturers and tutors will remind you each week about the upcoming assignments, but not all of them will. They will not chase you if you don’t submit an assignment by the due date. There is little room for negotiation once the deadline has passed, so talk to the tutor early if you have issues.
  1. Be flexible. You may prefer to use only pen and paper, or maybe you default to typing your notes. Either way, it is prudent to have notebooks and a tablet or laptop. On several occasions I have altered an assignment just before submitting it based on a comment the tutor has made, or changed a presentation slide minutes before presenting it. If you normally use a device to take notes, ensure you always save your work in two different places.
  1. Keep up with the workload. My course coordinator, John Weldon, told me not to judge the semester’s workload on the first four weeks. He was right because once the assignments’ due dates were looming, it was more difficult to keep up with the readings. Organisation is key, as is not working more than twenty hours per week. Buy your textbooks in the first few weeks of the semester and when you are doing the readings, make notes so when the time comes to cite then in an essay, you will have already done the work.
  1. Enjoy yourself. Beginning a career you are passionate about can be daunting but make the most of the time you have at university.

Writer: Raquel Stevens

Photographer: Courtney Howes

Chloe’s Advice

Making Friends:

You’re going to meet a fair few people on Orientation day and the first few weeks of university, and the course you are doing will determine how long you will know them for. For instance, in a science degree, you will mostly likely be surround by the same group of friends for the entire course. Compared to an psychology course, where everyone will split up into their selected majors after the first year. So you friend group may change.

Keeping all this in mind, don’t write off anyone you meet. You may just meet your new friend in your psychology degree and have a ‘one semester only’ friend for your singular design unit.


Know your teachers and have your teachers know you. You don’t have to be teacher’s pet, but don’t be afraid to speak up in class. When you get to your later years of uni you’ll appreciate this more than you’ll even know.

Where to study:

Footscray Park campus, Building E, Level 3 is a great area to study; it’s quite, there are bathrooms nearby, and there are a few big tables that are handy for group study sessions. You’ll need to bring you own laptop/tablet.

St Albans campus: If you want to study solo, the back end of Building 4, Level 1 has couches tucked around all kinds of corners where it’s lovely and quite. If you’re studying as a group, the upper level in the library has big tables and a couch area where you can speak out and talk among yourselves.

When to study:

If you live a fair distance from campus, do all your homework and study at university after class. You’ll find the hour-long (or longer) train trip will kill all motivation for studying once you get home.

Writer: Chloe Watson.


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