The first year at uni can be daunting, but it needn’t be – there are ways to ensure that when you get to class you’re ready to learn. By Raewyn Court

Summer’s over and the first day of uni looms large, causing a few nerves about where to go and what to do, while trying not to look uncool in the process.

One of the best ways to get good intel on uni life is to talk to a current student, and for advice on how to settle in and get the most out of the experience, second-year uni student Kalia Andrews looks back over her first year.


Kalia lived at home and commuted by scooter and ferry from Waiheke Island to Auckland
City’s AUT in her first year of a Bachelor of Design, majoring in digital design. She says living at home made uni a lot more affordable. “I didn’t have to pay rent or for food, which only really left travel costs.” The downside, she says, was that the commute could be very tiring as it meant getting up at 6am for an 8am class.


Orientation programmes held at the end of February combine faculty tours with presentations and social gatherings designed to inform and connect new students with
others. Kalia went along to AUT’s orientation day and found it a good way to get better acquainted with the uni space and where to find things. Kalia’s digital design degree is project-based rather than study-based, so she found that, while the lectures and events on the day were interesting, they would have been more useful for exam-based courses.

Student mentors

AUT’s Student Ambassador, Unitec’s SUCCESS and the University of Auckland’s UniGuide programmes connect first-semester students with a student mentor who can advise on everything from buying books, using public transport and where to get a good coffee.

Practice run

It can be useful to have a ‘practice run’ before the semester starts, to see how long it takes to get to uni and find your first class. Kalia didn’t bother with a practice run but she says, “I probably should have, because I missed the ferry by two minutes on the first day of uni! Luckily for me, almost all of my classes were on the same floor and relatively easy to find. But I would say you should try to find your classrooms during O-week, especially if they’re in the main building or if there is one class away from the rest of your classes.”

Source: Education Central | Future Focus


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