I've been at uni waaaaay too long, and along with some fun extra knowledge on law, creative writing and a dash of PR I've also gained a lot of knowledge on how to survive university. From saving money to how to get an extension, I've got you covered.
1. Find out where the maps are on campus
This one might seem obvious, but walking around campus lost on your first day is not something I'd recommend. You generally have classes in at least one new building most semesters, so it's not just a first-day problem. Most universities have physical maps around campus, but looking up maps online then screenshotting them is the best option.
2. Know your transport services
You know what could make walking around campus lost even worse? Doing it when you're late because you caught the wrong bus. My first year of uni, I wrote down the buses going from the city to campus that I could catch. Most cities have some kind of transport app which will make your life easier, and if your uni has multiple campuses many have free shuttle buses between them.
3. Find the lockers
Lugging your laptop, textbooks, stationary, lunch, sweater for the ridiculously cold classrooms, multiple lip balms and more around all day? No thank you. Most universities have lockers on campus where you can stash your things for 24 hours. This also comes in handy when you're convinced to go out drinking with your friends and don't want to lug your things around where you'll inevitably lose your favourite sweater by leaving it at a bar (RIP my favourite minkpink cropped white sweater).
4. Find the microwaves
Don't spend all your money on crappy foodcourt lunches. Just don't do it. Making your own food and bringing it with you is cheaper and often healthier. Find out where the microwaves on campus are so you can heat up food, some universities will have whole rooms dedicated to them while others might just have one single microwave in a random room. The internet is your friend.
5. Buy your textbooks secondhand
Avoid buying textbooks full-price if you can. I'd recommend waiting until after your first lecture to buy them, because often lecturers will admit that some of the assigned texts are just suggestions. Once you know which ones you need, you can hit the secondhand bookstores. Most universities have their own on campus, run by the uni or guild/union. It's also a good idea to check sites like studentvip, and join the relevant Facebook groups. Some universities have specific secondhand book Facebook groups. Many courses also have their own Facebook groups where previous students will sell their old textbooks.
6. Carry your own keepcup and/or use a loyalty card
This might seem like a simpler tip, but saving money and looking after the environment is damn important. Generally cafes will offer a small discount for bringing a keepcup, and in combination with a loyalty card you're slowly but surely going to save a decent amount of money. Also, straws hurt our ocean friends and your general single-use coffee cup can't be recycled because it's made of both paper and plastic. Look after the earth, dude.
7. Read the Uni Policies
At my university, this is called the MOPP, or the Manual of Procedures and Policies. It contains important info on things like academic integrity, the student code of conduct and more. It's pretty crucial information that is absolutely good to know. It's also important to read up on things like extensions, special consideration, exam deferrals, review of grades and how to change your course or major. Generally these can be found by simply googling your university in combination with one of the above topics; all the info is generally kept in the same place.
8. Join your Facebook groups
Like I said before, student Facebook groups are one of your greatest resources. They're great for buying textbooks secondhand, getting advice from other students, discussing class topics and even sometimes getting notes. There are a range of Facebook groups you can join. There are groups for individual classes, courses overall, cohorts and universities.
9. Join your faculty club
Joining your faculty club is one of the best things you can do, trust me. It's a good way to make friends, gain knowledge and tips from other students, and they also generally hold invaluable networking events. Many clubs will also have their own Facebook groups where they share internship opportunities, which can make or break your chance of getting a job post-uni.
Good luck this semester!