A letter to my first year self

First-year CSU students walking back from class in Wagga Wagga

Everyone at high school has an idealistic view of what university is meant to be like. For me, I imagined uni to be like a Hollywood film where people go to college and it’s pretty laidback. Nothing like the stresses of completing your HSC in year 12.

Having attended Charles Sturt uni for over a year now, there’s definitely some surprises that have come my way, but they have made me a more independent and hard-working student.

Here’s a letter to my first year self that may help with any concerns you may have commencing your first year of uni.

Hey,

Moving away from home is a pretty big step – from living in a comfortable environment to stepping outside your comfort zone is an incredibly brave thing to do.

It’s pretty crazy how much you learn to rely on yourself and truly become an adult when you attend university.

Living on campus at Charles Sturt, you will learn how to take care of yourself; doing your own laundry, making sure you have enough food to feed yourself, cooking your own meals and cleaning up after yourself.

Whilst it can be tiring, it’s definitely a huge accomplishment learning to do all of this own your own. The best part is, Charles Sturt have such an amazing ResLife team that provide you with all the information you need to get access to the right services.

Not only are you blessed with the well-equipped kitchens and free washing machines, but most of the time they provide things like laundry detergent and washing up utensils. A huge life-changer when you get to uni, trust me!

You will have to make your own decisions. You will often contemplate at some point in your degree “what am I doing with my life?” You will learn to rely on your own thoughts and follow your gut feeling, only you know what is best for you. If this means changing degrees, then so be it.

The staff at Charles Sturt, lecturers and academics are so reassuring if you have doubts about your degree, and the subject coordinators are so flexible in addressing your needs. Make sure to say yes to more opportunities. Get involved in as many extra-curricular clubs and sporting teams as you can.

You will definitely regret it in your later years if you don’t make the most out of your Charles Sturt experience. Not only is it a great way to make long-lasting friendships, but it is a great way to learn more about yourself and take a break from study. Remember, you’re never alone.

Reach out and make study buddies to lift the work load and make it more enjoyable and head to the library when you want some quiet time. There’s always a ResLife coordinator around who’s ready to help you and everyone’s so friendly – so reach out and talk to people (and don’t be too shy to ask for help). You’ll be surprised how many people are feeling just like you!

Also remember, it’s just as important to have a break, stay active and stay social. Be true to yourself! If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel pressured by your peers or feel forced into things you are not comfortable with, learn how to say no. No one is going to judge you!

At uni, you will be challenged, laugh, cry, make friendships and find your passions. Decide how you like to have a good time, whether that’s going out and partying, or chilling with friends.

Remember, you will always find people who align with your interests, just remember to always be yourself. Embrace who you are, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help!