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After surviving my first year at uni, here are my top 5 must-dos to prepare for uni:

Buy a calendar and a diary/planner. Write down all your due dates of your assignments, dates of quizzes and tests. The more places the dates are written down the better. Most lecturers/tutors won’t remind you when things are due and I watched too many of my friends realise at the last minute and not do as well as they had hoped.

Invest in good pens/stationary. The more organised you are, the better you will feel starting your first week.

Don’t buy textbooks until the first week. They are ridiculously expensive, especially if you are doing science/health/law, and they are not always necessary to buy. Most lecturers will tell you if they think it is necessary for you to buy them and 2nd/3rd years will give you their opinions on how useful they are. Most university libraries will have the textbooks so you can borrow them for the short time you need.

Stay open-minded and branch out of your comfort zone. Your first year is such a learning experience, especially if you are moving away from home. You will learn and grow as an individual if you allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.

If you can afford it, invest in a good quality laptop. You will likely use it for everything and there is nothing worse than your old laptop (that hasn’t been backed up since year 8) dying halfway through your first semester.


Sophie Nelson is studying a Bachelor of Pre-Medicine, Science and Health at the University of Wollongong. She grew up in Broken Hill, in far west NSW, a whole 1113km away from Wollongong. Sophie is about to start her second year at university, and is a recipient of CEF’s McLean Foundation Scholarship.

Read more about Sophie’s experiences here. 

More tips, tricks and advice on how to survive your first year at university in our University Survival Guide


Author ashlea

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