This is what you need to keep in mind during your first 30 days in the university!
Written by: Isa Padilla, (Veterinary Medicine - University of Sydney)
1. Literally nobody knows anyone too. I remember walking into the freshman Faculty of Science orientation, and I was so scared because I was the only Filipino. On my way to the auditorium, a random girl stopped me and said, "Please tell me you don't know anyone too." And that's how we became seatmates and friends! Don't be afraid to approach people! They're just as nervous as you! Most of the people I met in my orientation turned out to be my classmates. I made friends who also turned out to be great groupmates for projects!
2. Go to your classes. Lectures are recorded in Uni, but the practicals and tutorials aren't. It just really helped to be physically in class when the topic is being taught. That way, you can immediately ask your professors any questions you have and you get first pick when there are projects. It's a good habit to pick up on. On a more important note, classes is where you will meet your friends! Whether it be lectures, practicals, or tutorials, you are bound to meet some people! Try planning for some group studying or even answer a quiz together (yes, some professors allow this). Classes are where you can meet and bond with people, so take them seriously.
3. Join clubs and organizations! There are dozens of clubs to join - from conservation to anime to food. They hold lots of barbecues, parties, picnics, etc. I suggest you join some activities! You meet so many people with the same interests as you. The first club I joined was the USyd Filipino Society. We had lots of barbeques (Filipino style of course) and kwentuhan sessions! They definitely helped me feel more at home. In the Women of Science Society, we had wine nights with women scientists!
4. Explore the city before school really hits you. For the first few months of Uni, I used Saturday or Sunday mornings to take a walk to the city and explore a bit. It helps to be familiar with the place. The people here are also really nice, and they will help you with directions if you're lost. Also, exploring the Botanical Gardens or Darling Harbour is a great way to de-stress! The Botanical Gardens is a favourite in my college. We would take walks and have picnics there too. Whether it be night life or just an afternoon stroll, going out of your bedroom is important to help keep you sane.
5. Keep in touch with friends and family. Feeling lonely is inevitable. There were times when I got frustrated because I wasn't making friends as easily. That's why it's important to keep in touch with friends and family back home. They're your anchor and your constants. They were always there to push me to go to social events or to stay up one more hour to study.
6. If a topic in class interests you, immediately email the lecturer for any volunteer opportunities. This is one of the most valuable things I learned. Last semester, I had a really great lecturer for one class, so I immediately emailed him asking questions. A few weeks later, he emailed back with some volunteer opportunities. Making those connections are important. Show that you're truly interested in a class, and the professors and lecturers will really go out of their ways to help you find opportunities to further your learning.
Ofcourse, all these six things won't be enough for the rest of your study period or your university life. What's important is you open your doors to new opportunities and explore the world around. It's now just, and the rest of the world at your fingertips!
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