What I learned in my first year of University


What I learned in my first year of University

Jason Lee


Like many, the first time I walked the Main Walkway, my head was filled with thought - 

it was a new beginning, the next stage in my life. I couldn’t help but ponder what was so special about University, something I strived to attend for years in high school. After getting my fair share of freebies at O-Week, I also learned a bit about the society life that makes UNSW.

Lesson #1: It is okay to be lost

The first lesson, everyone else is just as lost as you - you will meet people with concrete goals, that work every day to achieve them, however, I guarantee there are just as many that don’t know what they want to do, who they want to be. Even after over a year at the same campus, I still don’t know how to find my classes around the big maze of UNSW. A big consideration as you work towards the end of your first year is choosing majors, and though it may sound daunting to choose a topic that may shape your working life as a whole, it is not something that you have to stick to. There are many functions in university that make choosing a path much easier, as the ability to change your courses and majors if it doesn’t align with your interests alleviates any pressure that you may feel.

Lesson #2: You only get out what you put in

Moreover, a big factor that has really shaped my university life thus far was the BSOC Orientation Camp, where I learnt that university is really structured upon the quote “you only get out what you put in”. This really rewired my thinking and made me more open-minded to try new things that I may have been previously scared of doing. Thinking like this has really allowed me to kickstart my road to better myself without much overthinking, such as enrolling in case competitions, to not only practise my analytical skills but my public speaking and presentation skills.

Lesson #3: Friendships

Making friends over and over again is never easy - and Uni is no different, however as UNSW is such a tight-knit circle, with many social events held by countless societies, mingling with new people should be less of a challenge than high school. Joining societies, and taking part in these events will make it easier to find like-minded people to be friends with. Though, throughout my first year at Uni, I have begun to understand that genuine friendships are hard to come by, and being amongst a group of great individuals is such a blessing. A bit of advice I can definitely attest to as someone who usually sticks to himself is not to disregard the friends you already have and invest all your time into your newfound friends.

Lesson #4: Control what you can

Something in my first year that I wish I could have back is definitely time. This leads to the last lesson, which is really about practising good time management. Through all the socialising events, new friends being made and even part-time work to fund the fun parts of your life, there may be time lost in other important fields - such as studying. Although it is far from the most important thing in your first year, as my Mother kindly reminds me every day, “You are a full-time student”. So I urge you all to take action to plan your time and activities, with platforms such as Notion and Google Calendar to assist you.

Ultimately, even with all the things you have to do for your education and all the extracurriculars, I urge you to leave some time in your busy schedules to do the things you have always loved to do. I urge you not to give up on your passions, fitness and other things that have helped you wind down and have kept you sane for your whole life up to now.

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