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#unilife: 8 ways to embrace first year

By February 12, 2021February 26th, 2021No Comments


It’s fun to get caught up in the hype of ‘O Week’ but have you thought about how you want to spend your year? If you have, great – if not, here are our best tips for making the most of it. And don’t just take our word for it, we have included wise words from some of our past CEF grant recipients as well.

Don’t forget to join the conversation by tagging us on Instagram using #cefstudentlife.

Share your new life with us – your favourite views of home, your new besties and even share some of your own tips on surviving uni.


Coming from a rural or regional area, chances are you new home town is going to be pretty different to what you are used to.

Embrace where you’ll be calling home for at least the next three years. Find the best beaches, restaurants, hang-outs and insta-worthy spots – there will be so much to see and to explore.

My one piece of advice would be to not be afraid to go somewhere you have never been to study, yes it may be daunting to have to leave your home town but it will definitely be worth it.
Max, Boorowa – Charles Sturt University.


Colour runs, sports, mentoring or that club you find that finally has other people who like the same weird thing you do. Try news things and embrace the freedom to find out who YOU are.

This year a stand out for me was joining, and loving, the Hamilton Ducks League Tag team. This was something new and scary for me, putting myself out there and trying a new sport with no experience, but I loved the team and the sport.
Bernadette, Moree – University of Newcastle.


Coffee, tea, whatever your poison, go on the hunt for your favourite beverage and new chill out sanctuary.
Soon enough they will know your order… and your name.

My favourite place for coffee is Gang Gang Cafe (ACT) – it’s in a quiet neighbourhood so it’s a great place to relax.
Ben, Orange – Australian National University


Don’t be afraid to ask questions you don’t know the answers to, there are people around to help, and you won’t be the only one figuring out this new life.

I was worried about how different uni would be to high school and that I would be on my own, but this year the tutors haven’t just left us to it. They have been there to help… but you have to ask for it and don’t be afraid to do this.
Christie, Kapunda – University of South Australia.


Find your new campus hangout. Is it outside or inside? Do you like it busy or quiet? Whatever spot or time of day that makes you happy and productive  – claim it. Oh, and remember you can have a few favourites.

I learnt that I rely on the social aspect of study to stay motivated, so I created a playlist on YouTube of ‘study with me’ Pomodoro vlogs to trick myself into staying on task!
Danielle, Great Lakes – Charles Sturt University


There’s no point continuing on with something you hate or just don’t get.

There is no set road ahead, you can change your mind if the course you THOUGHT you would love just isn’t you after all.
This is your time, and while the advice of others is always helpful, make sure you spend it doing the thing you want to do

Pursue study you’re passionate about it. Choose your degree because you want to do it and try not to worry about what other people will think. It’s also fine if you’re not 100% sure you want to do, just try to make sure the choice you make is for you and no one else.
Kelsey, Broken Hill – Monash University.


It can be anything – painting, running, computer games, photography – but take some time to do find and do the things you really love doing.  Study is important, but following your hobbies and interests are just as important.

I found volunteering at Riding for Disabled a great way to contribute to the community, have a break from studying, keep fit and help with homesickness and missing working with animals on the farm.
Rebekah, West Wyalong – University of Canberra


Make sure you sleep, study and hand things in on time. But remember, your world won’t end if you decide to have a laugh and chill out. In fact, it’s also pretty important.

Read your unit outlines as early as possible to get an idea of the assessments over the semester, keep a planner or calendar to track what is required and when it’s due, and finally find a healthy balance of downtime to avoid burnout.
Liam, Braidwood – University of Canberra.

Finally, don’t forget to check out these great CEF resources for a little extra help!

CEF grants are available to ALL students aged 16 – 25 from a CEF area undertaking post school education, See if you have a local foundation HERE.

The CEF Scholarships Guide lists 100’s of available scholarships from various universities and organisations. Check it out HERE.

CEF Extra is a national program providing scholarships and other opportunities from partners and supporters. A full list can be found HERE.

‘Make it Possible’ is the CEF rural and regional inspiration hub with advice, resources and tips on undertaking education after school. Read more HERE.


Author Ashlea

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