A few tips for an amazing first year at ANU

21 September 2018

If you are reading this… congratulations, you are vastly more prepared for university than I was. No seriously, it turns out that my application to university hadn’t gone through and it was only until February that I knew where I was headed. By then, I had a few days to find accommodation and genuinely thought I was going to be homeless.

As someone whose first trip to campus was to buy tickets to a toga party, I have written these tips with the hope that you’ll have more ups and fewer downs than I did.

1) Get out of your comfort zone

Lucky for you, ANU is one huge melting pot of cultures, opinions and personalities. Ignoring the Canberra-haters, I guarantee you that there is always something to do, somewhere to go and someone to meet. It is easy to stick with what you’re comfortable with, but if I didn’t push myself to venture outside, then I never would have met Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s sister.

2) … But know your limits

This applies to everything from the amount of units you take, to the number of times you decide to put on pants. Your parents are no longer here to tell you to bring a jacket and your professors won’t remind you about the due dates for your assignments. Basically, you’re your own person! And with that, of course, comes responsibility. Look out for yourself and for your fellow freshers.

3) Prioritise

Every man and his dog will be telling you to say yes to everything. Whilst that’s a good strategy for making the most of O-week, there are actually twelve more weeks in the semester. As millennials, we all suffer from FOMO. The cure? Figure out what your priorities are and stick to them. I promise you the party you miss this Thursday is no different to the party next Thursday. In fact, every party at Moose is the same.

4) Learn from your mistakes

You will make mistakes. Perhaps you didn’t study all semester and you have three exams tomorrow or you’re handing in an essay a week late. Either way, it will all be okay. Unless you’re Hermione, you cannot go back in time to change what has already happened. The only thing you can do is to learn from your mistakes and ensure they never happen again. Instead of focusing on the pass you got, ask your lecturer how you could improve. The time you spend worrying about things you can’t change could actually be used for more productive things, like highlighting the entire page of your lecture notes.

Final word of advice …

Your first year at university will be amazing, but it will not be without its hardships. I spent a significant amount of my first year feeling inadequate, struggling to maintain my friendships and failing to balance my studies with my work commitments. All of you will struggle in some way and the best way to get through it is by helping each other out. Reward yourself for your successes and never struggle alone – there is always someone at the ANU who is willing to help.


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Updated:  21 September 2018/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications