Getting off to a good start guide – Introduction

Overview: Our Getting Off To A Good Start Guide is a collection of tips and advice for new or returning students who want to start the year as best they can. Originally a print guide, it is now a series of interlinked blog posts that you can bookmark and return to at any point and resume reading. Living online, the guide is constantly updated.


On behalf of the Health, Counselling and Disability Service (we shorten it to HCDS), welcome to Flinders University!

My name is Gareth. I am the eMental Health Project Officer, and I handle a lot of the student communications coming out from HCDS.

Here at HCDS we provide health, counselling, disability and wellbeing support services to current students of Flinders. We see over 2000 students a year and help them find solutions to issues that are getting in the way of their studies.

These might be academic issues (e.g. not having good study habits, procrastination) or personal issues (e.g. relationship problems or mental health concerns).

Having helped a lot of students, we have a pretty good idea of what kinds of things get in the way of having an enjoyable and successful university experience as well as what things contribute to a positive experience.


This is our guide on how to start university well

In this brief guide, we want to share with you some of what we’ve learned along the way.

Whether or not you are coming straight from high school, or returning to study after a longer absence, we realise that coming to university is about taking a very big step in your life. For some of you, it has meant leaving your home, family and country to come and study in Australia.

As a result, we know that you are probably a mixed bag of emotions right now: excitement, trepidation, exhaustion, optimism, frustration, surprise, relief, worry.

A really important thing to remember is that for most students, university is a rewarding and fun experience. Yes, it is hard work, and yes there will be some challenging times ahead, but modern universities, like Flinders, have a lot of supports in place to help students through those times and also a lot of opportunities you can take advantage of.

This guide is all about the things you can do to get off the best start possible, as well as being an introduction to the many services that are available to you, should difficult times arise.

We’ve broken the guide into sections so it is easier to digest and so you can take a moment between sections to connect what you are reading to your own experience. If you bookmark any individual section, you can revisit it later and resume your reading, as each section contains links to all others.

So sit back, grab a beverage, and spend a little time with me as I go through our tips for starting university well.


Sections of the guide 📘


Section reflection 🤔

How are you feeling about starting university? Is it a single emotion/feeling or a mix of them? What are you looking forward to? What are you nervous about?


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