We’re almost nearing the end of February (we can’t quite believe it either), which means it’s time to start preparing for a new year at university. Whether you’re about to start your studies in Australia, or you’re midway through your time here, save yourself some stress by getting organised well ahead of time. First things first – get your student card activated. Next…
Stock up on supplies
Most importantly, you’ll need study supplies. If any of your courses require specific textbooks, you should be notified in advance so you have time to buy them. If you’re looking to save a few dollars, try to buy the books second-hand from university sales (they often run in the first few weeks of semester), find copies online (legally, of course), or even check to see if the library has any in stock – just make sure you borrow them early.
Of course, there’s also pens, pencils, notebooks, and maybe even a laptop upgrade. Many stores offer back-to-school specials, which are perfect for stocking up on stationery.
It’s also a good time to grab supplies such as a reusable cup and some long-lasting lunchboxes. Cafés on campus will sometimes offer discounts to students who provide their own cup (plus, it’s 2019 – think of the environment!), and some cute new lunchboxes could just be the motivation you need to start preparing your own meals and cutting down on the cost of eating out.
Time for timetables
Initial enrolment for modules has been and gone, but if you didn’t get a chance to enrol yet, or you want to make some changes to your timetable, now’s the time. If any particular lectures or tutorials that you need to be in are full, it’s better to chat with your course coordinator in advance to see if they can squeeze you into the class.
For timetabling, try the student-made website UniBuddy – an unofficial Australian university timetable planner. The website will generate timetables based on your preferences; for example, a focus on morning classes or maximising the number of full days off. Once you’re happy with your timetable, print it out, make it your phone wallpaper or copy it down in a notebook – whatever you need to do to make sure you never forget where you need to be and when.
Map the area
If it’s your first time on campus at your new university, it’s a good idea to grab a map and start familiarising yourself with the campus grounds. You’ll likely receive a map soon after arriving in Australia, but if not, there’s bound to be one on your institution’s website. Using your schedule, visit the locations of your new classes in advance so you’re not struggling to find a lecture hall or tutorial room in the minutes before teaching starts.
If you’ve just arrived in Australia, it’s also smart to take a look at public transport routes, as you may be unfamiliar with the city’s transport system. Using a tool like Google Maps, you can gauge how long it will take to get to campus each day and find the most efficient way of doing so.
Set up a study schedule/sanctuary
Although classes haven’t begun, setting up a comfortable study area will help in the long run. Organising all your university supplies, clearing up your desk, unpacking little mementos from home that will keep you motivated… anything conducive to a happy study environment will mean you’re more prepared when the first assignment rolls around.
It might also be worth investing in a calendar or setting one up online, where you can keep track of all upcoming deadlines and exams and start to pencil in specific study dates. For example, if you can see that an essay is due around the time of the international student quiz night (great fun!), try to dedicate some days prior to solid study sessions.
Prepare for rest and relaxation
Enjoying your time abroad is paramount, but it’s entirely likely that university stresses may get you down at some point. In that case, it’s wise to have a relaxation pack or self-care routine ready to go from the beginning of the semester, which will ease you through stressful times.
You could stock up on your favourite treats from back home (either by hunting them down in your new city or seeing if they can be sent from home), buy a book for leisure reading, or put together a pamper pack. Focus on including soothing scents in your pamper pack; buy a lavender candle, hand cream, shower gel, body lotion or whatever else takes your fancy to assist with relaxation, or seek out a rose scent, which is traditionally used to calm and uplift. Something as simple as a facial mist, such as the Rosewater Balancing Mist Intense Deluxe Edition from iconic Aussie brand Jurlique, is the perfect respite from study strain (bonus: it’s also super hydrating and nourishing for your skin, which will no doubt make you feel even more rejuvenated).
Book your holidays
While you’re on that relaxation train, the beginning of the semester is a good opportunity to start booking some activities or trips away. You’ve decided to study in Australia, so make sure you explore as much of it as you can!
Booking holidays in advance, especially purchasing plane tickets early, is considerably cheaper than leaving it to the last minute. Check your university’s calendar for holiday dates and chat to your new friends about organising a trip. You could go on a short getaway from the city to experience some of Australia’s incredibly unique landscapes, or head off on a day trip to check out famous landmarks or wildlife parks.
Check out O Week
One last thing before you go back to university: make sure to attend your school’s O Week (also known as Orientation Week). Usually held shortly before semester starts, this week is dedicated to preparing you for the semester ahead. The university will organise specialised activities and tours for international students that will help you meet new people and scout the university’s campus. There will be giveaways, introductory lectures, pub crawls, food stalls and entertainment all week, so make sure you get involved.