The start of classes is fast approaching, and I think we’re all starting to feel a little bit anxious already! If it is your first semester, the process of starting uni can be a little bit overwhelming (we’ve all been there). But, making a strong start into your semester can make a huge difference on your uni experience and help prevent tears, stress and panic in the future. Read on to find some helpful advice on how to start your semester like a real pro.
Attend Orientation Week
Attending O-week is really important. I made the huge mistake of missing O-week when first coming to uni and oh boy, what a mistake. Going to your orientation events is particularly important if you are an international student (trust me, I know). O-week gives you all of the necessary information to you get you up and running. From campus tours to an introduction to your course, everything you need to know is addressed in this week. It really makes your transition into uni a lot easier. All the information about Orientation can be found in our previous post.
Find your course related info
Finding and understanding information about your course is essential. How long is it going to take me to graduate? What subjects should I take? All of this is outlined in your Course Structure. This document outlines what subjects you have to take in order to complete your degree, the duration, and other important information like the name of your course coordinator. A Course Structure will be provided to you when enrolling, and staff will be there to assist you with any questions you may have.
Also, you may access your Course Structure at the University Handbook. My personal recommendation is to adhere to your structure as closely as possible, it will be easier to track your progress and choose subjects each semester.
Go to class
Sounds quite obvious, right? Well, since attendance (in some cases) is not taken at university, many people think that skipping classes is fine. But I’ve found that actually going to class is the most powerful way to learn. You get the chance to ask questions and see what parts of the class the professor emphasises the most. Going to class will also allow you to connect with fellow students and make new friends! Forming a good study group early on is very important and will make studying a lot easier.
The same applies for tutorials and laboratory practicals. It is particularly important to attend these as problems solved here are similar to those in assignments and final exams. Keep an eye out, as well, for consultation sessions or other support methods available in your different subjects.
Be organised and prepare everyday
Lecturers in uni advance FAST and catching up with classes after a few weeks have passed can become a very difficult task. That’s why keeping up to date with classes week after week is my favourite way to study. Preparing this way allows you to detect your weak points early on so you can work on them which makes studying for finals basically just reviewing! Studying a little bit everyday can really make a difference. The worst feeling is being a few days away from exams and realising you have doubts from weeks 1 and 2. This strategy has helped me make uni more approachable and a lot less stressful.
Also, try to make a calendar as assignments come up, and organise yourself to start working on them early. Sounds a little bit too much, but once you do it, you’ll notice how easy it is to study this way!
On a final note, make sure you check out Ready4Uni. This webpage has a lot of useful information for you to read in case you miss an O-week event or have any questions.
So, welcome to La Trobe University, you can do this!