Ah, the summer holidays post high school graduation – also more commonly known as the BEST MONTHS OF YOUR LIFE. Whatever you got up to over the break, you survived.
However, it’s likely you haven’t given much thought to preparing for uni. And that’s okay. We’ve all been there!
So as February approached you probably started to get a bit nervous. Something new, something different, something daunting was getting closer.
Lucky for you we know how to calm those nerves.
Here’s ten MUST-DO tasks you can get working on now so you start your uni adventure on the front foot.
1. Attend Orientation Week
You might have an older brother, sister, cousin or friend telling you to skip out on O-Week… but don’t listen to them.
Gone are your days of school uniforms, packed lunches and starting the day with homeroom. University is a little different, so it’s best to familiarise yourself with the campus and the way of uni life before your first class.
Wanna make the most of O-Week? Check out our blog post ‘6 Steps to Surviving Orientation’ and settle into your new, exciting life as a uni student.
2. Get a Casual Job
Now is the time to be financially independent rather than still being supported by your parents.
Most uni students find it’s crucial to hold a casual job while studying. Not just to pay the bills and bar tabs at the local uni tavern, but also to show valuable experience when seeking a job after you graduate job in a few years time.
If you can find a causal job (or plan your shifts at your current job around uni) before classes start you’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to work these things out while you’ve got a stack of assignments to complete. You should aim to find an employer who will be flexible with your uni demands so your studies aren’t impacted by rigid work rosters.
Don’t have a casual job? Now is the perfect time to start looking. We’ve got an added bonus at the end of this article that will help you find that great casual job while you’re studying.
3. Find Out About Study Allowances
Your casual job isn’t enough to make ends meet? You might be eligible for a study allowance from the Australian Government.
Depending on your personal circumstances and study load, you may be able to gain an extra couple hundred dollars a fortnight just for studying!
However, it’s best to look into this before uni starts because the application can be quite tedious. You can read more about study allowances or take an eligibility test here.
4. Organise Your Piggy Bank
You probably won’t meet a uni student who doesn’t complain about being “poor.” So, know that you’re not the only one who is stretched for cash and DON’T STRESS.
Think about it this way; you’re investing in yourself now to expand your earning capacity for the future. However, this doesn’t give you an excuse to lose control of your finances. Simply estimate what your weekly income will be and compare your expenses. If you end up with some cash leftover our next tip will tell you exactly what you should do with it.
5. Save for a Rainy Day
Yes, leavers may have been a blast, but we can almost guarantee your liver isn’t the only thing still in recovery. Your poor little savings account may be looking a little worse for wear too.
Before uni gets too hectic set up a rainy day fund in a separate bank account and put your weekly savings straight in there. Make this account a little harder to access (ie. don’t have a bank card linked to it) because you only want to be using it for unexpected emergencies. This means your car breaking down, phone being stolen, a speeding fine or culled work shifts… not rounds with the boys or a Kookai sale.
Hot tip – The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape provides a great introduction into how to manage your finances as an adult.
You should be able to borrow a copy from your local library.
6. Pick up a New or Old Hobby
Did the pressure of Year 12 force to you give up doing something you loved?
Well, now’s the time to pick it up again.
Whether it’s playing the guitar, social sport or photography, we all need something to take our mind off studying and work.
And don’t give it up again when uni becomes busy. Make sure to literally schedule in time for the activity and that way you’re less likely to go weeks or months without doing what you love.
If you’ve never really had a hobby, O-Week is the perfect time to explore the activities your university has to offer which may lead you to discover a new passion.
7. Organise University Transport
There is nothing worse than missing a compulsory tutorial because you couldn’t find a car park on campus. Trust us, it happens.
If you’re thinking about using public transport, plan your journey carefully and ALWAYS factor in peak hour traffic. If you’re planning on driving, you’ll need to budget for parking costs and arrive early to secure a spot.
Most universities either sell parking permits or use a parking app (which charges to a linked bank card), so make sure to find out which method your uni uses. Like a lot of things, parking is first in best dressed, so think about alternative options such as riding a bike or even carpooling with friends.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s best to get it organised before your first day!
8. Get a Diary
Uni goes from 0 to 100 real quick, so you need to stay on top of things. In high school you might have been able to get away without a planner or a diary because all of your activities – study, co-curriculars and hanging with friends – occurred in the one place.
Uni, once again, is quite different. You might need to study at home, submit an assignment on campus, go to work and catch up at your friend’s house all in the same day.
Don’t try to schedule your whole life in your head. Buy a diary or planner and get into the habit of writing in time for classes, study, work, family and friends – oh and don’t forget your hobby!
Also getting into the habit of scheduling sets you up work working life. Successful people schedule their work.
9. Prepare Your Week One Materials
Week 1 is approaching and you might try to calm your nerves by thinking it will be like the first cruisy week back at school– “surely they won’t try to teach us anything yet.”
Wrong. Your Week 1 classes will include some introduction to your peers and uni life, but you’re also likely to be taught some important content.
Get ahead of the pack by logging into your student portal and downloading your unit outlines. They will tell you everything you need to know about each class you’re taking.
Also try to complete the pre-readings and questions for Week 1, but don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t understand anything yet. You’ll probably be one of the few who bothered to look!
10. Learn How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping isn’t about cooking bulk amounts of bland chicken, rice and green beans to eat after a workout.
For uni students, meal prepping is simply the best way to save money on food and make sure you’re getting a balanced diet.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying lunch on campus or ordering Uber Eats after you get home from a long day of study, but these habits will significantly cut into your savings!
Instead, prepare a few different meals on Sunday and then freeze some for the times when you can’t be bothered cooking.
Just search for ‘easy meal prep recipes’ or ‘simple one batch freezer friendly recipes’ in Google or on social media to get started!
Remember we promised to tell you about the exciting new way you can find a casual job whilst studying?
Here it is:
Studium is an online platform which allows university students across Australia to connect with employers who recognise the unique skills and attributes students bring to the table. They want to know about you as an entire person, rather than just a degree or a grade.
You can simply fill out your profile and start connecting with potential employers immediately. To get started with Studium go to studium.work – it’s free!
Ticking these items off your to-do list before uni starts will make your transition into this next exciting chapter a whole lot easier!
Make sure to share this article with someone who is about to start uni!