I wish I could say that I remember my first day at Uni. We are talking a long time ago.
It obviously wasn’t too bad. I’d remember if I did anything really dumb.
But I also think that university was simpler then.
In contrast to my orientation (which I remember as lining up to pick up a timetable, diary and student card), the modern student orientation is bonkers. So much information in such a small period of time. Presentations, stalls, events, emails, concerts, social media etc. 18 year old Gareth would have been curled in a ball in the corner with the modern student orientation.
I don’t envy the modern student during their first few weeks.
With everything going on, it is perfectly possible that you did something to stuff up your first day or week.
Here are some common ones:
- Arrive late and can’t get a car park. If you do, it is miles away from your first lecture. Forget to pay for parking.
- Forget a pen
- Turn up to the wrong room, repeatedly
- Turn up to the right room but 15 minutes late and have to do the walk of shame. Only front seats left.
- Start a really awkward conversation with a stranger
- Drink slightly too much
- Find out that the Cannibal Corpse band t-shirt you are wearing might be sending people the wrong message
- Forget your glasses
- End up on the wrong campus
- Walk into something whilst on your phone (saw a dude do it today).
- EXTRA ONE – Get a really bad photo on your student ID. Here is mine for reference.
And you know what?
It is ok. If you did something dumb during your first week (or first week back), it is totally OK.
Being at University is a rhythm that can take a little while to develop.
You’ll start out a little unco.
Then you’ll work out where you are supposed to be and when (timetable). You’ll find that people are happy to direct you to the right room.
Then you’ll start to get the hang of FLO.
Then you’ll meet some new people and make some new friends. Perhaps even the person that you had the really awkward conversation with during the first week.
With a little bit of comfort will come curiousity. You’ll start exploring more widely what the university has to offer – https://students.flinders.edu.au/ You’ll discover that the Student Association (FUSA) does a lot.
As the assignments become due, you’ll shit yourself at first, but start to settle into a study routine. Your first grades might be good and give you the motivation kick you needed. But if they aren’t, don’t worry. It might just mean you need to get some Student Learning Centre or Studiosity supports in place.
And if you find yourself 6-months in and you don’t feel you have your Uni groove in place, start a conversation.
Start with yourself – “Hey me, what is going on? What isn’t working? What could I do to try and solve these problems?”
Move to family and friends – “I’m not enjoying this as much as I thought I would. What do you reckon?”
See if a topic or course coordinator is happy to have a talk – “I’m struggling with the topic. What could I do to improve?”
Book in to see a counsellor – “I’m a bit lost.”
Uni is a multi-year danceathon.
You’re allowed to take time to get your moves in place 🙂