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Your First Week of Uni: A Survival Guide

Author credit: Natasha Anderson, WISE Webmaster

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent the dying hours of Sunday night madly scrawling dates, notes and reminders in your diary in a bid to wrap your head around the fact that uni was starting tomorrow.

Well, by the time you read this, uni will have started.

So, where should you start?

Figuring out the semester

For those of us doing STEMM subjects, the semester can get pretty (note: very) hectic. The first (and probably most important) thing you need to do is work out what’s ahead of you. For me this took the form of the mad diary sesh I mentioned above.

Get a diary, app or whatever works for you (Google Calendar is great!), and map out your timetable, tutes, pracs, mid sem break and *insert jaws music here* assessments. Knowing what you have, when you have it and what you have to do for it makes the whole uni concept seem so much more approachable.

Most, if not all, of this info is available to you through the LMS.

A diary related note: Labour Day is not a public holiday at UniMelb - you still have classes!

LM… what?

The LMS (or Learning Management System, for those in the know), is the uni’s online portal for all your subjects. You can access it from the icon in the top bar when you log on to

It’s through the LMS you can access all the resources you need, from lecture notes and recordings, to staff contact information, assessment submission links, prac allocations and subject schedules.

It’s also through the LMS that you receive announcements from your lecturers, so be sure to check regularly for any updates.

Another note: it's worth checking what your attendance requirements are and how regularly your pracs run for each subject, as they can vary!

So, I know I have class, but where do I actually go?

Finding your way around campus is one of the most daunting parts of starting uni. Lucky for you, there’s a little app called Lost on Campus that will become your new best friend.

To get it working, download it from the app store, enter your campus (University of Melbourne, Parkville), and you can search for anything from buildings to lecture theatres, tute rooms, bubble taps and toilets. It even shows you where you are on the map, and where you need to go!

Yet another note: You have 10 minutes to get between classes. Classes start 5 minutes later and finish 5 minutes earlier than what it says on your timetable (e.g. an 8am-9am lecture will actually run from 8:05am-8:55am), so you have plenty of time to make your way around!

On the subject of friends

The easiest way to make friends at uni is by talking to the people in your lectures, tutes and pracs. Uni’s not like school where there’s people you ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ talk to. At uni, chances are if someone’s not talking to you, it’s because they’re also shy and hoping you’ll talk to them! So, make the first move, sit next to someone new and get talking!

A fun story: I met one of my closest uni friends by talking to her in a queue in O-week (shoutout to Tess if you’re reading this)!

If you need a bit of extra help, don’t stress, you have us!

Here at WISE, one of our biggest aims is to create an inclusive and dynamic community for all women in STEMM at UniMelb. If you find yourself a bit lost and in need of someone to talk to, you’re more than welcome (encouraged, in fact) to reach out to us! Whether it’s through our facebook, instagram, twitter, email, website or in person, if you’re ever in need just shoot a message our way!

In terms of events, we’ll be at the Faculty of Science’s Industry Networking Night on March 5, and we’re holding a welcome back mixer with board games and other fun stuff on March 14 from 12pm-2pm (watch this space for more details)!

The WISE Committee - aka friends you've already made!

Good luck to all of you in the WISEdom, we look forward to seeing all of your amazing faces throughout the year!

Some other great sources of friends, help and info

  • Stop 1 (for all things enrolment, timetabling or administration)

  • UMSU (for all things student union)

  • Your course’s student society (for all things social and fun)

  • Your lecturers, supervisors, and tutors (for all things academic)

  • House of Cards, Castros, Standing Room, Professors Walk (for all things caffeine)

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