Tips for a good first year


Here are some tips to get you on your way to a successful and enjoyable first year at University.

Be brave

You have nothing to lose. Most students starting university don't know anyone either. It's worth saying 'hello' and starting a conversation because you might just make a new friend. Making friends is important socially and because friends share experiences, offer advice, help improve understanding of new ideas and concepts and can be an important source of emotional support.

Ask questions

You're expected to follow up on anything that you have questions about - staff actively encourage students to ask questions. The Academic Course Advisor or Director of Academic Program can help you with choosing the right units to enrol in, assessments and any questions about your course. Student Central can help you with all non-course related questions. You can call the Student Central Infoline on 1300 668 370, email them (from your student email account) at studentcentral@westernsydney.edu.au or visit them on campus.

Make the most of every opportunity

University life is not just about academic study and we want you to have the best experience possible. Read the list of ways you can get involved on the 10 practical things I can do webpage.

Plan your time and be organised

University study is very independent and self-directed and that might be different to what you're used to. Make sure you know the important dates that relate to you and set reminders for them. You'll find these dates in your unit outlines and on the important dates webpage. Make sure you include all social, family, work and study commitments in any time management plan. If you have trouble with time management and organisation, you can go to a skills workshop to help get you started. There is also a daily, weekly and session planner available to download free on the Counselling Service webpage.

Learn new skills

Learn new skills and aim to become more self sufficient. Whether you live at home, with friends or on your own, university is an opportunity to become more self sufficient and independent. Be open to learning new skills like cooking, cleaning, public speaking, computer programs, hobbies and sports. There's some really good advice in the NSW government's Consumer Guide (opens in a new window), the guide is written for international students but the information is helpful for everyone.

Set short, medium and long term goals

Starting university study has many unknowns and setting goals of the things you want to achieve can help keep you motivated and give you a sense of certainty. Make sure your goals are achievable and meet all your needs (including your study and non-study life).

An example of a short term goal is to set up a comfortable study area, free of distractions. A medium term goal might be achieving a credit or better in your first year of study. A long term goal might be achieving your career goals.

Manage your budget

Living and studying in Australia can be very expensive. The costs for food, transport, accommodation and socialising can easily get out of control. Be aware of how much money you have, how much you can spend per week/month/session and plan how to get the most value for your money. It's also beneficial looking into money saving tips like taking your lunch from home, using carpooling, living in student residences or share accommodation. The money matters webpage has some great ways to stay on top of your budget and money saving tips. If you want to know more about budgeting or are experiencing financial difficulties contact the Student Welfare Service.

Stay healthy

A healthy body is essential for a healthy mind. Make sure you have good nutrition and exercise 3-4 times per week. You can join the gym (opens in a new window) at a discounted student rate or sign up for the Get Healthy program.

Manage your stress

An overly stressed mind is an inefficient mind. Take timeout every day to unwind and relax mentally as well as physically. Make sure you have normal sleep patterns and do not miss sleep for work or study. Relaxation recordings are available online for you to use. There's also lots of information and resources available on the mental health and wellbeing website.

Explore the area

Western Sydney University has five main campuses in different areas of Western Sydney. These are vibrant areas with a range of recreational and entertainment options. Check the local news paper or the local council's website to find out what's happening in the community.

Understand University terminology

There are lots of terms you need to understand so make sure you check the online glossary.

Know where to get help and don't be afraid to ask

The University provides a wide range of services that are free for students to access. Services include skills workshops, disability assistance, counselling and welfare support. There's also a student advocate, campus safety and security and online services including eCounselling (for answers about personal and study issues) and 'The Desk' (a tool box for success and wellbeing) that you can access.

Westen Sydney University Careers can help you with getting work, work experience and your long term career goals.

The Multifaith Chaplaincy service provides facilities to meet and pray, an opportunity to mix with other students from the same religious background, as well as spiritual guidance.