10 O-Week Must-Dos For First Year Students

Although Orientation Week can sounds a bit like a bad pre-year 12 high school prep session, it’s actually a really exciting.

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Although “Orientation Week” can sounds a bit like a bad pre year 12 high school prep session, it’s actually a really exciting and important taste of the fun, freebies, and fraternising that you’ll be getting into when you head to uni.

Some of the below tips may seem obvious but it’s worth listening to someone who’s done many an orientation week in their artsy (and Centrelink-fuelled) uni career.

These tips and tricks will help you make the most out of O-week whether you’re heading into an accounting course, nursing school, or a trade at TAFE.

Milk all the free stuff you can

All the big hip companies with plenty of coin stop by uni campuses during O-week to drop their stock and push their product to all the young’uns. I say, milk it for all you can. Companies like Red Bull, Coca Cola and Big M stop by with their cool cars and coupon cards for you to rake up. Do it.

Check out all the clubs even if you’re only vaguely interested in them

One of the hardest parts about uni is networking. People get really intimated by big lecture halls with 300 people inside or tutes with 50 people crammed into a small classroom. By checking out sports groups, signing up to the Coffee Club’s newsletter, or making yourself known to the uni student publication you’re on your way to meet and greet heaven.

Download Lost On Campus

This app will prevent you from looking like a nob on campus basically. Forget the confusing colour-coded billboards. This will be your ultimate wingman.

Go on at least one pub crawl

If you’re a boozehound and like a few coldies, then make yourself go on at least one pub crawl. Some liquid courage always goes a long way and you’re sure to make a mate or two along the way.

Grab a copy of the student mag

Even if you’re not a wordsmith or not that interested in student politics, it’s still worth checking out the student mag. There’s almost always some cool news articles about campus life – and budget cuts and fee deregulation and all the Abbott jazz – that’s important to keep in touch with. They are also always looking for contributors, whether that be in a writerly, artistic, or design way and will give you free stuff if you help out.

Find the cheap eats

Believe it or not, you will have to actually study, write essays and read at some point in your uni career. If you’re going to be doing the majority of your study (*cough*procrastination*cough*) on campus, then it’s best you acquaint yourself with the cheap eats around the traps.

If you’re thinking off-campus might suit your study need better, take a friend and check out what cool cafés you can find to lunch and brunch at. Bonus points for free wi-fi obviously.

Explore the local area

If your uni or campus is in a major city that you’ve never been to or somewhere in the ’burbs, I recommend you get to know the local area. There might be some secret hangs nearby that offer student discounts.

Get a uni diary and actually use it

Some unis will give these out for free to all students while others now charge students for a diary. If it’s a free one, grab a copy while they last. The academic calendar will be inside and will give you all the important dates for the semester and will help keep you on top of your scholastic game.

Visit the campus library

Nerdy but necessary. You’re going to have to work out where different books are kept, where the good printers are, and scout out a study spot somewhere inside (to sleep and eat and watch cat videos).

Make plans to meet up with one person when uni starts

If you’ve made a mate during a tour on campus or met someone in line at the bookshop, make a plan to meet up in the first week of class. Knowing that you’ll be able to grab a coffee or beer with a new friend is sure to take the edge of first-day nerves.

Nathan Smith is a Master of Journalism student at the University of Melbourne. His writing has been published in Salon, The Advocate, and Overland. He maintains a website at

Image: Kristen Daly, Monash University O-Week 2014