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Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

Moving away to start university will be the most exciting and terrifying thing you will do. Most first-year students have chosen their university based on degrees and not always because their best mates go there. In this case, you may not know anyone and can be nervous about starting at university.  So here are six things I wish I knew before starting university here at UNE. 

Spreading out your study load.

A full-time study load at UNE is typically four units in your first trimester and four in your second trimester. While you may believe you can handle this because of the class load you took in high school, this is not always the case for university people. One reason for this is that the study load for one unit is around 10 hours of study a week (just to pass), which is a lot if you are undergoing four units. If you don’t work for the length of your degree, this could work for you, but if you hope to work or undertake an internship during your time of studying, then two to three units per trimester spread out over three trimesters may be more suited to you in the long run. 

Don’t party all the time.

If you are planning to live in a college, it’s great to have fun and make friends, but it is also vital to stay on top of your studies.  College life will seem very exciting as you are somewhere new and want to make friends quickly, but you have to remember that you worked hard to get to university and are still required to complete your degree. Colleges and UNE put on orientation week for a reason. It starts a week before your classes commence, and this is the opportunity to get involved with meeting all the new freshers and other important people around the university. Once classes do begin to make sure you aren’t playing too much or studying too much. There will always be time for play, and a time to do your university work, so make use of your time wisely.

But do get involved with university life.

Getting involved with UNE right from the start is a critical tip to remember. There are so many clubs and societies here on campus, and some are even relevant to your degree. For example, are you studying law, well there is a Law Student Society that you can join.

To check out a complete list of clubs and societies check out the UNE Life website.

Or why not sign up to be a volunteer with us here at, Tune FM. We are a student-powered radio station on campus, and we can give you great on hands experience that will provide you with a killer resume upon graduation. It doesn’t matter what degree you are studying. We will find something for you!

For more information, check out the Tune FM website.

If sports are more your thing, UNE also has many sports clubs to get involved with and a swimming pool that is complete with a gym full of classes and equipment.

Protect your GPA.

It is okay to fail one unit. However, it would help if you evaluated why you failed the unit in the first place. Did you not do well on an assessment, or did you fail your final exam that caused your GPA to drop? Get in the mindset of protecting your GPA from the moment you start your degree. That way you’ll be eligible for any internships, graduate employment, and post-graduate degrees that catch your eye. If you begin a trimester and realize that your study load is too much, you can drop units but do this before the desired closed off dates.   You can find the withdrawal dates here.

Two of my favourite apps/websites.

One important application that is extremely useful is the web app Grammarly. Grammarly helps detect potential grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, tone, and style mistakes in writing which when you’re coming up to a midnight deadline is incredibly helpful. There is a free version available that does the basics but it’s worthwhile considering paying for the full app.

Forest is a popular productivity app that helps people stop procrastinating and avoid distractions. Users can earn credits by not using their cell phones and plant real trees worldwide with the credits they earn. With Forest, users can have a delightful experience to spend less time on their phones and focus on what they need to get done.  Using Forest can help get into an effective study routine as it has been proven that taking regular breaks while studying can help you retain information better.

Changing Degrees.

It is most definitely okay to change degrees! If you are not doing well in your degree, consider looking for other degrees that better fit you. And if you’ve followed my advice, you shouldn’t have any issues because your GPA will be high enough. If it isn’t, it is possible to get a provisional entrance where you have to pass some units before your place in the degree is confirmed. But generally, when UNE states that your GPA is essential, believe them.  

If your grades weren’t excellent in high school and you didn’t get into your dream degree, getting some high grades on your transcript in a degree with lower admission requirements and then applying to get into the degree you want. You can often take the units you’ve done into the degree as electives, so that’s a bonus!