1. Thou shalt not be a hermit.
Be friendly and sociable in your first few lectures, no matter how weird the people sitting nearby may seem. In most degrees you’ll eventually get to know everyone anyway but you’ve got to start somewhere. You don’t want to build a reputation as a recluse.
2. Thou shalt not fret over textbooks.
First mistake you’ll make as a new student: “But I need all of them before I can start studying, right?” Wrong. It’s all to do with your tutors, who come in two species. Those who do everything by the book; faculty-fearing disciples of the course outline, who daren’t stray from so much as a tutorial sub-topic all semester. And those renegades, who simply disregard the mere existence of a course text and allow their classes to descend into a free-for-all discussion. It’s as simple as going to your first tutorial, classifying your tutor and purchasing textbooks accordingly.
3. Thou shalt not apologise profusely after showing up late to a first-week tutorial.
Second mistake you’ll make. You might feel the urge to approach your tutor after class to explain your timetable confusion/bus issues/wardrobe being unexpectedly free of clean pants. But it’s your problem, not theirs, and you’ll look funny. Especially if you’re grovelling to a Type 2 renegade tutor.
4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s computer.
You’ll quickly learn there’s never a free computer on campus when you need it. After several disappointments you may begin to get quite angry at the world. Keep calm and carry on, though – people come and leave. One day a vacancy will appear. It does happen.
5. Thou shalt learn to use a photocopier.
Don’t wait until halfway through second year for someone to teach you. Even if the librarians don’t unintentionally patronise you with their motherly manner (“and THIS is where you put the CODE in”), you will become a spectacle for bored students in need of a laugh. Get it out the way in week one.
6. Thou shalt be humble in domination of the table tennis table.
Nobody likes a rec-room hero, especially not at Magill at 5pm. It’s around that time when – for some reason – the Caf becomes full of silent, studious types. Until a psych PhD candidate gets to the bottom of the phenomenon, it’s probably better to keep the peace for sake of majority. There are only so many exclamations of “SHOT!” the book-worming masses will tolerate. And they keep their pencils rather sharp.
7. Thou shalt be aware of the nearest place to purchase Red Bull.
Maybe you’ve started uni already addicted. Or perhaps you’ve managed to stay clean all these years. Either way, as the semester wears on this will become a location more important to know than the bathrooms, so make sure you find out.
8. Thou shalt remember Pub crawl Day – and keep it holy.
Pub crawls are a key part of the social calendar and great fun, but there are standards. Ladies, stay relatively classy and uphold the honour of the university logo you’ll be wearing on your back. And fellas, as tempting as it may be, this is not the moment to hit on a classmate. It’ll be some tutorial the week after if you fail.
9. Thou shalt not steal.
Don’t plagiarise. The computerised checking system always wins. Don’t hoard library books because the library will fine you and hold a savage vendetta against you. Don’t grab a handful of condoms every time you pass the UniLife office. Fight whatever strange compulsion is within you to flog computer keyboard legs because you just make life annoying for everyone else. And those Caf sauce squeezer packs cost 15 cents, don’t you know?
10. Thou shalt persist.
Last but not least, for goodness’ sake don’t walk into uni like it’s a prison. Walk into it like it’s a playground. This is likely to be the final chapter in the period of your life that allows you to waft through your days using the term ‘student’ as both an excuse for not having to do much for yourself and a password for cheap social services. So enjoy the experience, and down as much student union fairy floss and slushies as possible.
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