Ten Tips for First Years

1. Join CAHS

Joining CAHS is an easy way to settle into your new degree as you will make new friends with like-minded first years, as well as many other students of different levels, with whom you can attend have a number of social events throughout the year. In addition to this, you will have access to our amazing student-run mentoring programs, CLAMO! and MUSA.


2. Gain the upper hand

There are a lot of workshops and seminars during O-week as well as weeks one to three that aim to help first years navigate their way through the most common aspects of university. Some of the most useful ones to attend are the library tours during O-week, an essay workshop that your ancient history tutors will prepare for you in the first few weeks of classes and also a library research seminar that is scheduled for your first or second week of tutorials. Have a look on the UQ orientation website (www.orientation.uq.edu.au) and keep your eyes peeled around campus for other sessions that you think will be useful for you to attend: it’ll be worth your time!


3. Map it out

On day one you’re going to find out how much assessment you have for the coming semester – if you haven’t already via course profiles. Don’t stress! Instead, make a chronological list of every piece of assessment that you have for all of your subjects and stick it on your wall. Make sure you know how much each assessment item is worth and when it is due. It’s important to give yourself enough time to both research and write your assignments, and make sure you’re ready for exams. Therefore, the next step is to map out, in your diary or calendar, when you need to start these sorts of things and when they need to be completed. Try and give yourself as much time as you can – you don’t want to write all your assignment the night before! Give yourself at least a week to write each one and you’ll be a lot less stressed in the long run! Before you know it, you’ll be ticking the essays off one by one.


4. Prepare and participate

One of the biggest shocks for most students when they first come to university is how much reading they have to do each week for lectures and tutorials. Make sure you map out a time every week to do those readings, whatever way works for you! For example, you might want to punch them all out in one or two days or maybe read a handful of pages a day over a week. Those readings actually will help you when it comes to class – you’ll know what’s going on, be able to ask smart questions and even answer them, and be in a much better position come exam time. Sitting back and listening to lectures and tutorials without doing the weekly required readings will not get you good grades. They’re also extremely useful for essays and exam prep – so make sure you don’t neglect them! If you’re running short on time, try to read the ancient sources on your topic at least.


5. Have a game plan

It’s important for you to figure out how you are going to take notes to make the most of your lectures and tutorials. Almost every lecturer will post lecture notes on blackboard before lectures or produce a course booklet for you. Many students choose to take these notes to class with them since a lot of the lecture content is already written up for them and they don’t have to take down as many notes. Some students may take these lecture notes as guidelines and add to the notes they took while doing their weekly readings. Other students need only a pen and paper. Try out a few systems and find out what works best for you.


6. Think ahead

Previous end of semester exam papers for both Ancient History and Classical Languages can be accessed via the library website (see the resources page to find out how). Try printing some of these off in week one or two and familiarise yourself with the format of the exam and the sorts of questions that you might be asked. Exam study works differently for everyone, but knowing what to revise makes it much easier.


7. Ask for help

It’s important to remember that there is always someone to whom you can turn for help. Make the most of CAHS’ mentoring programs, CLAMO! And MUSA. Drop into the help sessions whenever you feel you need help or send your mentor an email at anytime; we’re more than happy to help! In addition to this, both your lecturer and tutor have a consultation hour every week in which you can arrange to meet with them to discuss any troubles you are having with the course. Other students, CAHS mentors, BA @ UQ mentors, teachers, HPRC administrators, Student Help on Campus, Student Services, librarians, IT technicians and many others are all here to help, so don’t be afraid to ask (contact details for all of the above mentioned can be found throughout this booklet).


8. Have a break

Fact: If you want to achieve distinctions and high distinctions at university you are going to have to work hard. However, it is important to recognise the difference between working hard and running yourself down. By mapping out your assessment and planning your weekly readings you will naturally find spare time to spend with your family and friends or to do other things that you enjoy. Giving yourself a break from your desk allows you to maintain a positive attitude towards study. On the other hand, being disorganised or simply choosing to overwork yourself will make you a slave to your desk and lead you to despise your studies. This never ends well, and you owe it to yourself and Classics and Ancient History to do your best!


9. Look after yourself

I’m looking at you, school leavers! It is much easier to be a productive student if you nourish yourself with healthy meals, regularly participate in an exercise you enjoy and allow yourself to get enough sleep – especially at times when you have assessment due or exams!


10. Roll with the punches

Being a first year isn’t always easy. At times you will find yourself stressing over your readings, not understanding assessment, getting a lower mark than you expected to receive, finding it difficult to not have your high school friends with you and struggling to come to terms with how impersonal the university system can be outside of the school of HPRC. Don’t let it get you down! Take all of your good and bad experiences in your stride and simply remember to learn from them and keep rolling with the punches.


Good luck! 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s