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Ten things my first year of university taught me

Ten things my first year of university taught me


Are you starting a uni degree this year? Charlotte Penhall shares the deets on how to get through your first year of uni!

Written by Charlotte Penhall

Charlotte Penhall is currently studying a Policing and Public Safety degree at our great Port Macquarie campus.

This blog follows her top ten things she learnt from her first year of uni!

First years, get some paper and a pen, you may want to write this down…

  1. Build a routine:
    While having a routine may not be for everyone, I know that for me personally, I do better with routines.

    This can be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, making sure you are ready in time for class and leaving for class on time.

    The best thing about building a routine for yourself is that you get to decide how much time will be between things.
  2. Try new things:
    Make sure you try new things because they’ll be the things that shape you in the future and the people you surround yourself with.
Charlotte and her uni friends.

3. Set up automatic transfers into a savings account:
I found setting up automatic transfers to go into my savings account ensured I had money incase of emergency.

I recommend doing so if you wish to be financially independent from your parents or guardians.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a break:
University can become stressful at times, especially if life gets in the way.

Just remember to take a break if you need one, and you’ll come back stronger when you’re ready to tackle university work again.

5. University is not high school:
I know this goes without saying, but when you get to university, remember that it is exactly that.


Not high school.

You won’t be surrounded by people your age all the time, you have to keep an eye on when assessments are due, and your lecturers won’t chase you up on them.

You are held more accountable in university than you were in high school.

6. Scholarships:
Apply for every scholarship you can!

Having the extra money for rent for the university residence or money to buy new supplies for classes, ensures you won’t be stretched thin if money is tight.

7. Try and get ahead on bills:
I recommend trying to get ahead on bills if you can afford it.

I personally liked being ahead on rent by a week, so in case I didn’t have enough money one week, I knew I was still covered.

It’s also a good habit to get into when you move into rentals in the future.

8. It is okay to ask for extensions on assessments:
Your lecturers will understand that life can get in the way sometimes and that you may not be able to get your assessments done in time.

They want you to look after yourself and your well-being. Just don’t abuse this because they can still say no to extensions.

9. Set boundaries with work surrounding university:
I recommend setting a hard boundary with work in regard to university.

Your classes and assessments take priority, and while most workplaces I’ve seen are pretty good with this, some aren’t and need to be reminded that you are a university student first.

10. Have fun but look after yourself:
University is often the time to find yourself.

Have fun!

Find stuff you love to do and make new friends!

Remember to look after yourself. You don’t want to burn out.

If you need to hide in your room and watch movies for a couple of hours, do so!

Useful links

To find out more about Charles Sturt Scholarships click here.

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