Written by: Emma Woodward
Friday, 14 January 2022
First days can be daunting, so here’s a list of tips to help you out on day one of your campaign.
Make sure you equip yourself with all the supplies that you’ll need. Start by finding that info pack or student guide that listed textbooks and other requirements.
Depending on the course you’re taking, you might need a pen and paper to take notes, or a laptop for notetaking and logging in to learn about the student systems, software, or programs that you’ll be using. Find out if you need to download resources or organise logins for anything prior to class. You might need your student ID to log in to the computers at uni or to use the Wi-Fi.
Whether you prefer a laptop, tablet, or parchment, make sure you have some way to take a LOT of notes. This is definitely something you will thank yourself for later.
Fill your backpack with everything you’ll need for a potentially hectic day - Food, water, a fully charged phone, headphones, etc.
If your course is online (either because it’s planned that way, or because our friend COVID-19 has got in the way again) then equip yourself with everything that you’ll need for that scenario too. You’ve already got virtual learning and communication skills - now is the time to use them. Make sure your devices are set up and that the internet’s working.
Decide how you’ll get to uni, and how you’ll get around campus once you’re there. Here at AIT, both our Melbourne and our Sydney campuses are located close to public transport options - you’ll just need to top up your myki or your Opal card and you’re good to go. But not all colleges are the same. For some, you’ll need to drive or carpool – which means planning the trip and parking at the other end.
Once you’re there, you’ll still need to get around campus. This could be as simple as finding the right floor and room within the building, but many campuses are quite spread out. One notorious Melbourne campus is so large that it has its own postcode, and students often use bikes to get around. Another university has buildings scattered throughout the CBD.
Plan your first day at uni the way you would plan your first day at a new job. Figure out your commute and plan to be there early.
You’ll be responsible for being in the right place at the right time, and you might find that you either don’t have breaks between classes, or that you have long gaps in the middle of the day.
You’ll probably get lost on your first day, and you might have little time to get across campus between classes. It’s at this point that you’ll be glad you found a map and packed plenty of snacks!
Try to have a little flexibility in your plan for the first day or the first week as well. This is the time to figure out your new routines. Maybe you’ll find that those empty hours in the middle of the day are the perfect time to head to the library to work on your endless assignments (are you really going to do them once you get home?). Or maybe you’ll find that your commute is the best time to listen to a recorded lecture or audio version of the required reading. In that case, you’ll need to remember to carry your headphones, and to download those resources in advance.
Then, of course, there are the important things like finding the most efficient way to your new local dumpling place.
If you’re an extrovert, then you don’t need me reminding you to make friends. But for us introverts, it can help to remember that everyone else is new too, which means the first day is an excellent time to start meeting new people. All those notes you took earlier might help you win some friends too if someone else has forgotten to take their own in the midst of those first day nerves.
You’ve spent the last six years (maybe even the last 12 years) hanging out with the same people from the same school or suburb. This is a chance to make friends with like-minded people from all around the state, country, or world. Assemble your party and set forth on your quest.
If your university is huge, then you might want to join a student club so that you can get to know people with similar interests. If you’re at a smaller college like AIT then right from day one, you can start getting to know everyone in your course. AIT fosters a collaborative environment where students work together as production and design teams. Some of our graduates have even gone into business together!
Now that you’re here, facing your first day at uni, you might find that your excitement has turned into fear. If that’s the case, then it’s time to turn that fear back into excitement.
Remember why you’re here, why you chose this course, this college, this campus. Remember your motivations and focus on all that you hope to gain. If that doesn’t work, then don’t worry too much - first-day nerves can only last for a day!