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First Year Survival Guide 2022 Edition

Welcome to the University of Melbourne! Congratulations on making it through a tough 2021 and securing your position here.

Having gone through the ups and downs of first year, CISSA is here with some tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience as a JAFFY.

Clubs and societies are the place to be!

Enjoy a sport but haven’t played it in years? Or maybe you’re secretly a film buff? Perhaps you want to learn more about your future career? Clubs and societies are where you can chill out from the academic side of uni and explore your own interests.

Melbourne Uni has 200+ clubs for you to choose from, with CISSA being the coolest of course from a totally unbiased POV.

Clubs mostly fit into 3 categories as listed below:

  • Course related clubs generally offer events catered around the discipline and will often have many industry and educational events — don’t worry though, there are many social events where you can meet others in your discipline. CISSA would be part of this section.
  • Social/interest clubs will mostly be based around a particular interest. This could include a hobby, music group, sport, or even cheese.
  • Cultural clubs will be primarily based around a culture, inviting students from all backgrounds to join and meet people.

If you find yourself vibing with the people you meet, perhaps even consider running for a committee position! These usually open up around October so keep an eye out. Subcommittee positions usually also open at the start (and sometimes middle) of the year too. Have a look into those if you’re not fully set on being part of the committee but would love to get more involved with the club.

To explore more clubs the UMSU clubs guide is always a great place to start: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/buddy-up/clubs/clubs-listing/join/6917/

If you didn’t get a chance to check out UMSU’s SummerFest during semester one’s O’Week, you have a second chance during WinterFest (keep an eye out for dates on UMSU’s website) to meet all the clubs again. Clubs are always open to any messages on any of their social media channels throughout the year too so slide into those DMs for more information!

Attend as many events as you can

Events are the best and easiest way to start exploring your own interests and meeting new people who share similar passions. No one wants to be slogging through assignments alone so make the most of it and come to as many as possible to get that social life started!

Most clubs usually have three different types of events: social, industry and educational events.

With CISSA, it look something like:

  • Social events include trivia nights, our ‘diversiTEA’ get togethers and our Amazing Race.
  • Industry events like our flagship ‘Industry Connect’ to get a head start on career exploration and networking
  • Educational events such as beginner tech workshops and subject review sessions

Maybe you want to challenge yourself? Have a go and join one of our epic hackathons, where you can meet other like-minded people and create some personal projects which add to your resume indescribably.

If it wasn’t clear already, there’s a super wide range for you to get involved in so reply ‘going’ to those facebook events and make the most of first year!

Write everything down

Uni life can become hectic quickly with so many new changes to adjust to. Teachers will no longer remind you to submit that assignment or do a test at a certain time; it will all be up to you now. A great tip for keeping all those dates organised is writing down all your due dates and to do tasks. Using a calendar app, such as Google Calendar, can be a great way to visually see your classes and deadlines. Whether you use a physical notebook or sticky note on your device, writing down a to-do list can let you have peace of mind as the semester continues.

Popular concentration apps include Forest and Pomodoro timers.

Note taking apps that are often used include:

  • OneNote
  • EverNote
  • Goodnotes
  • Notion
  • Notability

Task related apps:

  • Microsoft To Do
  • Google Tasks
  • Trello
  • Todoist
  • Google Calendar

Time related:

  • Forest
  • Pomodoro timers
  • Tide

Your tutors and lectures are friends

If you’re in the situation where you’ve missed one of your tutes, feeling overwhelmed with your unit, or having issues with assignment submissions and deadlines: please reach out and email your tutors and lecturers.

They are there to help you so please make use of them and ask them any questions. Really, no question is a bad question and they have probably heard it all before. Lecturers are often more than happy to provide clarification with material covered during lectures too. Remember everyone was a student once — some of the tutors and lecturers would have taken the same classes you are taking now! So don’t be afraid to ask.

Try not to leave it to the next morning

It can be so easy to decide to sleep in or miss that lecture time or tutorial and watch it tomorrow morning. Trust us, it always comes back to bite you when you realise you have a large stack of videos to watch and an unrealistic amount of time to watch them — you can only speed up lectures so much. Save yourself the stress and try to attend your tutorials and lectures live either in person or online. Doing most of the assigned homework and attempting those golden tutorial worksheets will set you well to be on track throughout the semester. You will then be able to address any problem areas sooner rather than later and feel confident as you continue progressing.

Coffee spot or catch up areas are your saviours

Studying and meeting is often about finding that perfect quiet spot in the corner or the best coffee to keep you awake. The uni has many great spots to do individual silent study as well as group study sessions. Don’t forget to book one of the multiple rooms available at most libraries if you want to have a group discussion (booking link for all libraries: https://bookit.unimelb.edu.au/cire/login.aspx).

A couple of awesome coffee places to check out include House of Cards, Carte Crepes, Castro’s Kiosk. If you’re personally a coffee enthusiast check out this coffee showdown post for more recommendations https://www.facebook.com/UoMLoveLetters/posts/510898713002759.

Good places to catchup or study on campus are the South Lawn, Baillieu Library (lovingly nicknamed Balulu Library), the Melbourne School of Design (MSD) building and the newly renovated Eastern Resource Center (ERC). There’s even a bean bag room in Union House!

Some more cool places to check out include:

  • House of Cards [Coffee place]
  • Carte Crepes [Crepe & Coffee place]
  • Castro’s Kiosk [Coffee place]
  • MSD Library/building (for some sweet aesthetics to study in)
  • Baillieu Library (Epic and Divine: Dante’s World is an exhibition currently showing on level 1)
  • South Lawn
  • The Bean bag room in Union House
  • Student Pavilion
  • Eastern Resource Center
  • Melbourne Connect!
  • Arts West building

Subject handbook and Stop 1 are there to help you

When mid year subject selection deadlines come along, don’t stress if you realise you have no idea what you are doing! If you’re completely lost, booking an appointment with subject advisors at Stop 1 is the way to go. They will orient you and make sure you know all the requirements you need to go where you want.

Don’t forget to book an appointment online to be able to speak to someone. Hot tip: booking earlier is better than later as they get very busy during subject selection deadlines (https://students.unimelb.edu.au/student-support/advice-and-help/stop-1). Otherwise the subject handbook is your go to resource to find out about any course you’re curious about. If you’re especially keen, you can always email the lecturer listed under dates and times with particular questions or concerns.

Reach out to others in classes

Find someone in your tutorial or lectures you vibe with? Take the first step and gather up some courage to say “hi” during class, invite them to catch up later or grab some socials and send a message. Don’t stress, everyone is in the same boat even if they seem calm on the outside. We, a committee of poor uni students, would put money on them being just as lost as you. Why not find a buddy (or a few) to be confused together with? By the end of it, you might realise you have now found some great friends to hang out during your time at uni.

Meet some people who have come out on the other side

Try to meet some older students who are doing the course you’re studying. They would have taken the subjects you are doing now and are more than happy to help out. Having been in your shoes they might have some valuable tips or tricks to help make life easier or give a little sneak peak at what might lie in the future. If you can’t find any naturally, come talk to CISSA members!

Reddit is your best friend

Unimelb has an entire reddit page where you can find many posts on subjects, teachers, opportunities and general advice. If there is ever a question you have, r/unimelb will have an answer. High quality answers are not guaranteed though.

You can find support when you need it

The university has many systems of support in place to help you get back to your best throughout your time as a student. All first years have the opportunity to get support through your peer mentors and mentor group. The university also has free counselling and health services available for students.

More information can be found in the following link: https://students.unimelb.edu.au/student-support/health-and-wellbeing.

Further information can also be found on this UMSU page: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/communities/disabilities/resources/ .

Remember to look after your mental and physical health. Uni can be tough, especially as it is such a large change from high school. Please reach out to someone or one of these services if it does get stressful; your wellbeing is most important.

Overall: Take breaks, enjoy your time at uni life. It’s not all about studying, after all some of the most valuable learning you do occurs outside the classroom. Sometimes the real treasure is the friends and memories you make along the way.

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The Computing & Information Systems Student Association at the University of Melbourne

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Publicity Team @ CISSA

Publicity Team @ CISSA

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