Exactly one year ago I waited in nervous anticipation for my first day on campus. With so many questions running through my mind, I had no idea what to expect. Today I am writing this as a quick guide for your welcoming year at USC. These are the myths debunked, reassurances, and pieces of advice I wish I had known prior to the commencement of university.
Myth #1: You cannot ask for any help with assignment work from your tutors, so you are on your own
False. Tutors are not there to watch you fail; they are here to help. Although they cannot read entire drafts of assignments, they can provide crucial information about structure and hypothesis ideas. Do not be afraid to ask for some clarity, either in person or via email, if you are confused.
Myth #2: If you don’t make friends within the first week, or in any of your lectures/tutorials, you will have no friends at uni
False. Friends can be made anywhere! Get involved in clubs, or, if you’re uncomfortable with direct participation, join a Facebook group. These pages are generally created by students, for students, and are always keen for newcomers. Some ideas include “USC Psychology Club Social Group”, “USC Active Minds”, and “USC Social Soccer”.
Myth #3: Once you enrol in your degree, you cannot change your mind
False. The average person will change their career choice four to five times; so do not be afraid to switch if you feel you are not doing something that you love. You have plenty of time to decide!
Myth #4: Your entire GPA is ruined if you get anything less than a HD during your first year.
False. University is a big step from high school, and may take some time to adjust to. If you are unhappy with your first year’s GPA, do not fret. You always have your remaining years to boost it! Try not to put so much pressure on yourself, it only makes things worse.
Reassurance #1: Everyone gets lost, so asking for help or carrying a map around is completely okay.
Reassurance #2: If you feel alone during the first week, chances are someone else is feeling the exact same way. Sit next to someone in a lecture and introduce yourself. Introductory classes such as COR109 include group presentations which require peer socialisation.
Reassurance #3: Lectures/tutorials finish ten minutes early, so do not be concerned if one class is in C block and another is in J, or if you get lost, because you will have time.
Advice #1: The day before classes commence, check your timetable for room changes. This will save you the embarrassment of walking into a chemistry lecture when you were looking for intro to counselling!
Advice #2: If you have a break between classes, be sure to take advantage of the $5 meals at the brasserie. Not only does it save you valuable dollars, but the serving sizes are incredibly generous!
Advice #3: If you are finding it hard to study at home, the library is the perfect spot. Similarly, if you are awake at 2am in an attempt to complete assignments, visit the 24 hour computer labs.
Advice #4: Your first round of assessments is generally due in week five, then week ten/eleven, then exam block. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and be prepared to buckle down or organise study groups.
So there you have it! All the valuable pieces of information I have learnt along the way through my first year. I hope that this has helped destress those of you commencing study, and has urged you to participate in everything USC has to offer. I wish you the best of luck!
By Tayla Dokonal
This is the first runner-up article in the USC Blog-off Competition.