Uni Life

Back 2 School: Student Survival Guide

Starting university? Thomas Birch compiles a list of tips to get you through those first painstaking weeks; your very own student survival guide.

For first years, starting uni can be hard; in fact, it can sometimes be so unbearably difficult and overwhelming that the real accomplishment is merely just surviving (can I get an amen?). That is why I have put together a trusty list of tips that can help you through those first painstaking weeks (you can thank me later).

Wait, “but I’m not a first year!” I hear some of you exclaim. Fear not, these tips can also help even the most seasoned of student. Think of it as your very own student survival guide.

Without further ado (drum roll please).


Navigating your way around a new place can be hard, that is where this app comes in handy. Available to download on Android, iPhone and Windows, Lost On Campus is an app that helps you navigate through the university wilderness. Being Australia’s biggest campus mapping app with 42 campuses and over 36,000 locations, you know you’re being guided in the right direction. Aside from having a map of the entire university in the palm of your hand, you can also search thousands of rooms, lecture theatres, labs and offices. Busting to go to the toilet but can’t remember where the nearest bathroom is? It’s got you covered. Wanting to get a coffee but can’t remember where the nearest coffee shop is? It’s got you covered. With over 100,000 users and monthly updates, this app is the freshest item on any student’s phone. Download it now and become acquainted.


Channel your inner social butterfly. Connecting with other students is important. While we are all here to further our educational journey and fill our minds with knowledge, the people around you will play a significant part in your life at university. From group assessments to the occasional study group, having a few good friends at uni will go a long way. The University of Newcastle (UoN) has over 150 clubs, societies, and groups that you can join and is a great way to meet new people while expanding your horizons; we even have a Quidditch club (yes, you read that correctly)! Remember, there’s no need to be shy, we are all in the same boat, so pick up a paddle and get involved.


It’s likely that you will be required to purchase a text book or two for your courses at uni, which can quickly put a hole in your budget. To help ease the pain, sign up to the largest and official supplier of textbooks in Australia, The Co-Op. You can do this online or on campus and by doing so you can get access to discounts of up to 50% on textbooks and other products; another idea is to also search around online for cheap deals as many students sell their unwanted textbooks for low prices. Having a computer or a laptop is almost a necessity these days and owning one will definitely help you during your time at uni (it’s not uncommon to see a sea of laptops in lectures as students furiously type notes). However, if you don’t have access to a laptop or computer, never fear, you do now! UoN has a wide range of iMacs and Windows computers that are free for students to use. In saying that, even though technology devices are being used today for a wide variety of tasks, it’s still advisable to have a pen or two handy. Finally, a good, durable bag will assist you by leaps and bounds when you transport all your essentials from lecture to lecture.


At university, you’re in charge of your own learning. However, with freedom comes responsibility. You miss an assessment, that’s your fault. Miss a class, your fault again. (Unless you have adverse circumstances.) Unlike high school, teachers won’t chase you down constantly and ring your parents for not attending class. It’s up to you to be proactive and manage your time wisely. Having some sort of diary is paramount to your success at uni; whether that be the calendar on your phone, or an old school book and pen, keeping track of important dates such as when assessments are due, is vital.


Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Instead of falling behind in your work, make sure you reach out and talk to someone. Whether that be a friend, a lecturer, or a counsellor here at the university, it’s important that you voice your concerns. Don’t be afraid, we’re a friendly bunch!


This is all starting to sound pretty full on, right? Don’t worry. Everyone gets nervous before starting uni, it’s a big step; keep in mind that you’re not the only one feeling this way. Besides all the stressful stuff like essays, exams, due dates and so on, remember that uni is also fun! In fact, it will probably be one of the best times of your life! Keep calm, look after yourself by eating the right foods and getting enough sleep, and stay positive! You can do this! I believe in you! (no really, I do!)


Finally, expanding on my previous point, don’t forget to have fun while at uni and take time to wind down. Take a stroll around campus (while using your Lost On Campus app!), have a bite to eat at the many cafes, bars, and shops that uni has to offer, read the latest uni magazine! You’re probably going to be spending a lot of time here for the next few years so make it your own and get comfortable!

Did you know that being a student has its perks? Here are five things that students didn’t know were available to them.

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