Your Ultimate Crash-Course to Surviving Orientation at UTS

Fatima Olumee divulges some insider tips to make the transition to uni student life as smooth as one can manage.

Going into a new phase in your life, it’s impossible to not have a whole raft of expectations that will inevitably collide with reality. We humans tend to strive to do everything perfectly for the first time, or at least appear to be experts. I was among the flock of terrified first-years last year, overwhelmed by a truckload of new information that would teach me the art of “adulting” at university. All I wanted was to look like a pro, even though in reality, I was timidly dipping my toes into a pool of the unknown. Here are some tips to make the transition into a university degree a little more graceful.

 O'Day 2017

O'Day 2017

1.    Open yourself to unfamiliar experiences that make you feel vulnerable.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… The first step to surviving your first week on campus is to allow yourself to make mistakes and be unsure. Ask questions, get to know your surroundings and meet new people. Be open to being a little vulnerable, remembering that there are about a gazillion other freshers feeling the exact same way as you.

2.    Get to know the campus through exploration, campus tours and maps.

Getting to know your UTS campus is key. Don’t forget to explore different routes between the main spots, and to take mental notes of some shortcuts that will save your life between classes once the semester begins. Going on one of the Peer Network’s campus tours or downloading the Lost on Campus app is also extremely beneficial. Initially, UTS will feel extremely foreign and expansive, but over time, it will become your second home. Embrace the new experience of discovering the campus instead of anticipating being an expert on your surroundings.

 Viki Gerova & Isha Bassi at O'Day 2017

Viki Gerova & Isha Bassi at O'Day 2017

3.    Sign up for orientation sessions and events to meet new people.

Orientation is the time where you’re exposed to many new faces. Don’t be afraid to turn to the person next to you and just say hello. Relieve yourself from the pressure of having to make solid life-long friends right away, because you will find those people organically at your own pace.

The first person I met at uni was an International Student from Norway. I also had my first embarrassing uni moment when I accidentally asked her what SWEDEN was like, forgetting she was from Norway (internal face-palm). I recoil at the memory to this day, however, there’s a valuable lesson to be learnt from it. Starting university means meeting a whole bunch of people whose personal details you’ll instantly forget the second time you meet them.

Making friends in your first year can be quite tough, especially when UTS is such a big campus with so many students studying different degrees. It's highly likely that you'll never cross paths with those that you meet in your Semester One tutorials after your shared classes conclude. Just be yourself and tune into finding others you click with. Which brings us to ... 

4.    Join clubs and societies to meet new people with shared interests. 

An excellent way to meet new people who share your interests is to join a club or society on campus. O’Day is a must for anyone interested in being a part of one of these groups. It’s always helpful to join your faculty’s society, but don’t forget that you're free to join any club that sparks your interest. This way, you’re able to spend time with likeminded peers at social gatherings and events whilst also sharing a hobby or interest you’re comfortable with. While you're at it? Join UTSoC. 

All in all, the best advice I can give any new student is to accept that you will never be completely prepared for whatever university throws at you. Just sit back, strap on a seatbelt and enjoy the unexpected bumps and thrills along the way.

This article was brought to you by Fatima Olumee, a second-year Journalism student. Besides being an absolute bookworm and obsessed Potterhead (not to be confused with Pothead), her passions include yoga, horse-riding, and Bollywood movies. This girl is a big bag of weird… the good kind, she hopes.