Messenger City 19/10/04 58499 Stock photo Health / Lifestyle Study Vs Sleep Year12 / University students. Picture: roger Wyman
Messenger City 19/10/04 58499 Stock photo Health / Lifestyle Study Vs Sleep Year12 / University students. Picture: roger Wyman

How to succeed in your first year of uni

THE first year of university is meant to be the start of best time of your life; the annual Orientation Week features numerous parties and loads of free stuff on offer and you've finally chosen something that you want to study. In theory being a first year student should be easy, but in practice, the situation is much tougher.

For some students, it's the first time they're living independently or conducting independent learning. Throw in the increased workload, a changing social scene and the pressures of work, university can become a pressure cooker which some students can struggle to handle.

It's a situation that universities are aware of and institutions like Southern Cross University, which ranks in the top 20 per cent across Australia for student support, are trying to fix.

"I think all people struggle if its their first time at university to try and understand what is required of them … the tendency is to try and understand everything you need to do and what you need to do over the next three to four years which can be incredibly overwhelming," Professor Nan Bahr, deputy vice chancellor (Students) at Southern Cross University said.

Prof Bahr said there are several ways students can prepare themselves to handle the university workload.

"The biggest mistake students that struggle make is they don't engage early enough with their course materials … students who are reading ahead, looking at their online materials and looking at their assessments are in a better position to get support.

"Unpack what the assignments are asking you to do and connect with each other, it's no good going through it alone, you need to connect with other students in your program and try to support each other through the process."

Prof Bahr also says that friends and family can play an important role in getting students through their first year studies.

"It's hard for some parents, especially if they haven't been to university themselves or don't understand the course but just asking the right questions at the right time about how they're (the students) going with the assessment and when it's due and whether they need quiet time around the family, those sort of conversations can make a big difference," she said.

"One of the things about friends that we've been working on at SCU is how to help our students identify when their friends are going through a tough time … and how to identify students in need and direct them to the right support," she said.


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