The ‘First Times’ You Can Expect at UniSA

By Nicolle Vale

Artwork by Josh Evans


So, it is that time of year again. The wave of lectures, tutorials, and assignments is fast approaching and it is time to prepare ourselves for the start of a new academic year. It is around this time that many of us are dragging ourselves up from the nurturing floors of festivals, pubs, bedrooms, and beaches, shaking off our hangovers and slapping our brains out of their summer hibernation. Those of us beyond our first year of uni can look forward to being one year closer to graduation and the amusing spectacle of newcomers who decide to wear stilettos to class. For those who are new to university, it can be a nerve-wracking, confusing, hectic and exciting time that’s full of new experiences.

You may be at any one of the UniSA campuses, each with their own different atmospheres and characteristics. There’s Magill with its lush gardens and creek, lack of crowds, and cheap parking; City West with its unique culture, art galleries, and the recently renovated Academy bar; City East with its proximity to the mall and various bars and eateries; Mawson Lakes with its modern, well-manicured design, cheap parking, and planetarium; and of course, there are UniSA’s distant and mysterious rural campuses. Whichever campus you’re frequenting, there are many first time experiences that are universal to all new students and, as your local tellers of the truth, we are here to enlighten you.

Your first time enrolling

I warn you, enrolment is a dreadfully confusing time in your first year and it doesn’t get much better throughout your degree. Always be sure to make a timetable plan before the enrolment open date so you know exactly what classes you want and have the best chance of getting into them. Another tip is to be at a computer before 9am on the day your courses open for enrolment. This will ensure as few problems as possible.

Your first week of classes

Don’t stress about your first week of uni work. You realise quite early on in your degree that the first week of classes are usually a big bludge. They will involve a brief explanation of your assignments for the semester and a lot of chatting and getting to know your classmates. This is perfect for making friends in your first year and by your third year you might even know everyone’s hobbies off by heart.

The first friends you make

Speaking of making friends—be sure to make many, many new ones! It’s not advantageous to stick with your one friend or posse and be standoffish to everyone else. Chances are, you will end up in a class without them anyway so it’s better to know a few friendly faces around the place.

The first time you get lost

This is a fact for all uni newcomers. At some point you will get lost, no matter which campus you attend. Campus maps do exist, however, they show you the building names and not the classroom numbers. If you are a lucky lost person, fate might take you to a bar or Aroma instead of class, or maybe to Magill’s secret balcony garden (shhh, it’s seeecret).

The first time you attend a cancelled class

There will be an embarrassing and annoying moment in your uni life in which you will sit in a classroom or lecture hall for half an hour and wonder why you’re the only one there. Either you are in the wrong place or your class has been cancelled. Silly billy.

The first time you forget your USB

An even more annoying experience will be when you forget to remove your USB from a uni computer, despite the shrieking alarm that goes off. By the time you get back there, it may be gone. You will go, feeling hopeful, to the security hub and search through lost and found. Either you will be lucky and find it or you won’t.

A few other ‘first times’ you may experience at uni include:

  • Taking your place in the great fight that all UniSA-goers must endure; the ‘UniSA not SuperTAFE’ debate.
  • Experiencing your first time living solely off of two-minute noodles, beer, and coffee.
  • Participating in your first heated uni debate. Or watching the more entertaining spectacle of two overconfident know-it-alls go at it in a never-ending battle of knowledge.
  • Doing hardly any work throughout the term but transforming into a crazed, intellectual hermit crab come exam time.
  • Attending your first pub crawl! (Make sure to check out theAdelaide Uni Engineering Society’s pub crawl held early every year… but…um…UniSA ones are better. Of course!)

It is likely you will get drunk at pub crawls, at a uni bar or any nearby pub. You might go to the Masked Ball, a UniSA BBQ, a degree-specific dinner or quiz night. You will experience lovely lecturers, evil lecturers and crazy lecturers. You might get HDs or Fs (hopefully more of the former). You can join clubs, groups, councils, sports teams or even write for this magazine! There are so many new things you’ll experience at university that we can’t even fit them all in this article. It is up to you to make the most of your time at UniSA. Make a uni bucket list if it helps. Above all, have fun, pass your courses, and hug every uni mascot you see. Obviously.


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