Your First Day of University

O-Week is over and you’ve settled into your accommodation. Now comes the biggest step of all – your first day of university! You may feel nervous, but with some preparation beforehand, everything will go smoothly. We’ve come up with some handy tips to help get you through your first day of university in Australia, from what to take to uni, what you might need to buy before the first day, and other essential uni advice.

Before your first day

  • Check out public transport options 

It’s good to understand your transport options for getting to and from university and between different campuses. Preparing your transport route in advance can also ensure you’re not late for classes. Research your bus, tram or train options, top-up your transport card and check your eligibility for discounted tickets with your student concession card. Your university or on-campus accommodation may even organise a free shuttle bus service. If you want to ride a bike, it’s important to learn the rules, so check our guide to bike safety in Australia.

  • Check all essential services provided by your university 

From library guides to tech support, there is a wide range of university services you can access for free! Make sure you are aware of them to help you transition on your first day. For instance, get your email account set up and all relevant software installed before classes begin.

  • Explore your campus 

To avoid getting lost on your first day, take some time to find your classrooms, lecture theatres (including any shortcuts to them), student service centres and international student office. You can also keep an eye out for ideal study spots and eateries.

  • Refer to timetables and study guides 

You should have access to your lesson timetable before the first day. Some courses may have prerequisite tasks that need attention, so make sure you check the course content before classes begin. Download or print out any lecture slides and readings for easy note-taking during lectures. 

  • Create a study timetable 

Organise a routine around your classes, allocating time for study, socialising and relaxing. Being organised in advance will help you prepare for heavier workloads later in the semester. Remember to be flexible, as you might want to take on extra classes or activities outside of your contact hours. There are a range of scheduling apps and digital calendars you can use to help set your routine.

  • Pack your first-day uni essentials 

You won’t need a lot of things on your first day, but it helps to be prepared. Make sure you’ve got: 

  • Student ID (otherwise, collect this from the relevant office as soon as possible)
  • Diary/notebooks 
  • Campus map (either a printed version or digital) 
  • Textbooks for your subjects that day
  • Stationery including pens, pencils, highlighters and folders
  • A laptops/tablet
  • Cables for electronic devices 
  • Lunch and snacks 
  • Money for coffee! 

Pack all of these into your bag the night before so you’re not worrying about it the next morning.

  • Charge your devices 

Make sure you charge your laptop and phone. You don’t want to run out of battery halfway through your second class!

  • Prepare a reliable Internet connection 

Before starting university, it’s important that you have a reliable Internet connection, especially if you are studying online or are a remote/offshore student. 

  • Get your outfit ready 

Australian university fashion is very casual, but if you’re worried about what to wear, decide on your outfit the night before.

  • Set your alarm 

Don’t forget to set your alarm! Try 15 minutes earlier than you think you’ll need, just to give yourself a little extra time. 

On the first day 

  • Get up on time 

Don’t sleep in – you want to start your day unhurried and relaxed. 

  • Have a decent breakfast 

Not to sound like your parents, but a nutritious breakfast will set you up for the rest of the day. You don’t want to be thinking about your stomach during your first class. If you’re looking for the perfect breakfast options to start your day off on the right food, check out our guide to the best food options to give you extra brainpower.

  • Double-check your schedule 

Make sure you know where you’re supposed to be and when to avoid showing up to the wrong class on the first day. Get to uni early!

  • Bring a water bottle 

Keeping hydrated is the key to staying focused, and it is advisable to drink 2-2.5 litres of water every day. Get your own good-quality water bottle and save time waiting in line to buy one!

  • Stay sun smart 

Sunny days in Australia can be hot and harsh on your skin, so it’s important to stay sun safe while wandering around campus. Keep sunscreen handy at all times, along with a hat and sunglasses. 

After the first day 

  • Organize your study area 

As soon as you get back from class, spend a few minutes putting together your first-day notes, books, and papers. When your study space is tidy, it’ll seem like less of a chore to sit down and work later. Include some personal touches in your study space, like photos of friends and family, or a nice scented candle, as the comfort they bring can do wonders for keeping your mind focused.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

There is plenty of support available to you as an international student. Reach out to your lecturers, tutors, program coordinators, and other university support services anytime you feel stuck.

  • Congratulate yourself 

You did it! You made it through your first day of uni. 

It may have been stressful, but take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that the first day is always the hardest. You’ve prepared, so try to relax, and go with the flow. 

We wish you all the best on your first day at university!