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Tips and Tricks for First Years

By Brian Shih and George Kopelis

Illustration by Angus Marian

Picture this: you are about to stride into a new stage of life. A stage in which you have to learn and study independently, write essays or reports that require perfect citing and referencing. This transition may be overwhelming, however, we’ve complied a list of the best tips and tricks that you can follow to bolster your confidence and performance so you can make the most of your first year at university!

Get A Map
Turning up late to your first tutorial because you couldn’t find the room is embarrassing – take it from us – so plan ahead and figure out where on campus your classes are. Download the Lost on Campus app or even the Monash app to make sense of all the building numbers and addresses. If you’re still lost in the middle of endless corridors, ask someone who looks like they are walking purposefully for directions.

Study On Campus
Classes don’t take up a whole lot of time at university, so make good use of your spare time and do some work on campus. The Louis Matheson library is the go-to study space at Clayton but with the refurbishment works all year, some sections may be closed.
If you want to do some serious study, check out the quiet upper floors of the Law library. More interested in chatting with friends and not getting work done? The Hargrave- Andrew library is perfect for that.
Brian says: There are plenty of alternative study areas, like the informal open space lounges in the Menzies building or the secluded John Medley library in the Campus Centre.

Actually Go To Lectures
You’ll struggle to get a seat in week one. However, by the mid semester break, half the lecture theatre will be empty. Keep up your routine and attend your lectures. Turn them into a social occasion – get your friends and hang out on the campus lawns or grab lunch as a group and suddenly you’ll have a reason to show up every week.

Extreme Couponing
Make your dollar go as far as possible – take advantage of weekly free/dirt cheap breakfasts and barbecues organised by the MSA or other clubs and societies. Carpooling costs $75 per person for a year and is way cheaper than forking out $400 for a blue permit. Pick up an MSA Card for $20 and get access to a whole range of discounted food and other goodies on and off campus. (20% off everything at Sir John’s Bar adds up after a semester).
George says: Before buying your textbooks, have a look online on Monash Marketplace to see if anyone is selling your book second hand and at a much more affordable price. Make sure it’s the right edition though.

Practice Your Signature
You’ll be signing up to plenty of clubs during O Week, which is a great time to find groups that match your interests. MSA cards give you free membership to most clubs on campus. Don’t feel obligated to go to every event if you sign up and feel free to drop out of any group if you find them too boring/too rowdy/too time consuming.
Brian says: I started uni in the middle of 2015, and with no major exhibitions for clubs and societies in July, I missed out on being properly introduced to a handful of clubs and societies. Take the time during O Week to find like-minded people outside of lectures and tutorials because it’s a great chance to do so.
University is a place where you learn and create memories. Do not be afraid of making mistakes and always remember that you are not alone. – There are plenty of resources at Monash to reach out to. Now, embrace all challenges and start exploring!

George Kopelis

The author George Kopelis

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