Top ten tips for surviving & thriving as a student at the University of Adelaide

UofA Students

Starting university can be an overwhelming experience. You might feel like an ant in a zoo, where chaos and uncertainty run rampant. The thought of study at a tertiary level might intimidate you and you might begin to doubt your academic abilities.

The good news is that you aren’t alone. All students feel like this when they start university. As a student in my fourth year of study at The University of Adelaide, I can guarantee that this feeling will melt away within weeks. In the meantime, I’ve shared some handy tips to make your social and academic transition as smooth as possible.


1. Attend O’Week

Orientation week is the most lively and fun week on campus. It’s here that you can sign up to clubs, go on walking tours of the university and, dare I say it, pinch dozens of cool freebies!

Scared of going by yourself? No worries – that’s normal! Many students go to O’Week by themselves. Three years ago, I met my current best friend on a faculty tour! Attending orientation week is a fantastic way of meeting new people and becoming comfortable on campus.


2. Join a club

There are over 150 clubs on campus, ranging from drinking clubs to history and role-playing clubs. When I started university, I was intimidated by the thought of joining a club in which I didn’t know anyone. Now, however, I look forward to Thursday night dance lessons as part of the Salsa Mania club!


3. Respect deadlines

Unfortunately, those traitorous things we call deadlines are very important at university. If you’re struggling to hand an assignment up on time you should contact your tutor or lecturer well before the due date and fill out an extension form.


4. Stay caffeinated

Coffee: a student’s best friend. A quick fix can be found on campus at Grind & Press and Taste Baguette, both located on level 4 of the Hub. The Art Gallery also offer a sweet student deal on Thursdays, with a regular coffee priced at $2.50! Just show your student ID at the counter.


5. Ground level of the Hub is called Level 4

Don’t ask me why. It is here that you will find food and coffee shops.


6. Avoid the kitchen between 12-2pm

Unless you enjoy lining up for half an hour to use a microwave.


7. Familiarise yourself with MyUni

All of your course content, including assignments, grades, reading material and lecture recordings, is located online on MyUni. It is worth getting familiar with MyUni early on as it will be your primary point of contact with coursework. MyUni Learning Centre can be accessed on MyUni by clicking on Help>MyUni Learning Centre after logging in. This online page is a good reference point for anyone struggling to navigate MyUni.

MyUni can also be viewed on the Canvas app for mobile devices.


8. Travel!

Study ecosystems in Sweden. Watch Shakespeare’s plays at The Globe in London. Unwind in hot springs after class in Japan.

The amount of travel opportunities provided by the University would surprise you. These are made financially possible for Australian citizens by OSHELP loans. Keep up to date on travel opportunities and don’t shy away from the lengthy application process!


9. Know where to ask for help

The University of Adelaide provides free academic assistance and personal support.

The Maths Learning CentreWriting Centre and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)  are friendly drop in services designed to accommodate all standards of literacy and numeracy. No question is a stupid question; these learning centres are encouraging, welcoming and extremely helpful. Make full use of them!

Student wellbeing services such as Unicare and Counselling Support offer confidential and free appointments for students. Keep the phone number of these services in your mobile – you never know when you might need them.

A full list of the University’s services can be found here.


10. Take care of yourself

This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Understand your limits and listen to the needs of your mind and body, especially during exam season.

Every student is in a different situation. Whether you are struggling to juggle work with study, facing personal complications or feeling anxious without knowing why, it is important to take some ‘me’ time. Identify the problem and, where possible, the solution. The University of Adelaide’s Counselling Service can assist with this.


You are now ready to surge into the madness of the zoo. Be patient and present and remember to enjoy your years at University. They will fly by quicker than you can imagine.

Sarah McLean
Student & Learning Enhancement Officer

Sarah is a 4th year University of Adelaide student who is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced), with double major in English and Philosophy. As part of her degree, Sarah studied abroad at Cardiff University for a semester and has completed an internship at ABC Radio Adelaide. After completing her studies, Sarah is interested in working for the Department of Education.

Tagged in Learning Enhancement & Innovation, Student Partnership, Guest Blog