7 best things to do in your first year at La Trobe

7 best things to do in your first year at La Trobe

So, you’ve stocked up on stationery and Mi Goreng noodles, and you’re ready to immerse yourself in your first year of university study.

Naturally, this is going to be a significant transition from school life. It can help to have a few pointers to navigate you through your La Trobe experience, so you’re not completely overwhelmed by lunchtime on day one.

Here are our seven top tips to get you adapting to uni life and embracing your time at La Trobe.

1. Ditch the digital vortex – attend your lectures and tutorials in person

While it can certainly be tempting to skip class and hit up the online lecture later, there’s inherent value in attending your lectures and tutorials. Think of it this way: if you were to pay for a gym class, would you make sure you went along, or would you say, “Stuff it, I can do it online,” and proceed to train yourself at home via a YouTube video?

According to 2017 La Trobe graduate Sarah Gonzalez, the face-to-face contact hours at uni are worth it:

I found I was more likely to pay attention when I sat down in class and had the visuals to accompany the audio. I loved the in-class discussions I was able to listen and contribute to. University isn’t just a degree – it’s an experience. How could I experience #unilife without even attending a class?”

Attending classes in person helps focus your attention and connects you with fellow students, so you can team up for group assignments.

2. Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you

Plenty of beautiful relationships have blossomed at uni – just look at Hamish and Andy! Getting to know the person next to you in the lecture theatre could plant the seed for a lifelong friendship (or a world-famous comedy duo). It can be scary striking up a conversation with a stranger, but the worst that can happen is you don’t click, in which case you simply move on with no harm done.

“Uni is great for meeting people from all different backgrounds,” says Sarah.

“I just had to get over the initial awkwardness. Once I introduced myself, I realised the person sitting next to me was just as shy as I was! It was great seeing them every week, and when it came to group work, I already had someone I could work with.”

3. Join a student club, society or sports team

Signing up to a club, society or sports team at La Trobe is one of the best ways to explore your passions while forging strong relationships at uni – after all, you’re hanging out with people who share the same interests as you.

The La Trobe Student Union runs a whopping 90+ clubs and societies, ranging from course-dedicated societies to clubs for Harry Potter fans, card gamers and humanitarians. We also have 23 affiliated sports clubs that participate in social competitions and University Nationals events throughout the year.

From French Club to mountaineering, La Trobe University offers more than 90 clubs and  societies and over 20 affiliated sports clubs for you to join.

4. Find the best coffee on campus

It’s the fuel of students: that delicious aromatic beverage that can jostle the brain cells awake after a night at the local uni bar. Each La Trobe campus has a range of cafés on offer, all with their own take on the coffee experience. Finding a go-to for your daily dose of caffeine not only creates routine in your uni lifestyle, it also gives you a familiar study spot between classes.

Specialty coffee is the order of the day at Writer’s Block, located inside the Borchardt Library at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus.

5. Avoid assignment meltdown – chat to your Peer Learning Advisers

The work you complete at uni is often vastly different to the essays and assignments you would have completed at school. Our Peer Learning Advisers are here to descramble that flustered brain of yours.

Otherwise known as PLAs, these high-performing students are trained to help you with your studies and answer any questions that have you scratching your head. You can find PLAs at all campus libraries (excluding our Sydney Campus), as well as online via live chat.

6. Familiarise yourself with referencing

While on the topic of assignments, we might as well touch on that thing that makes everyone groan: referencing. Yes, it can be a hassle, but it’s vital to every piece of work you’ll submit while at uni, so you might as well nail the process during your first year.

Save your sanity by bookmarking the referencing tool on the La Trobe library site, which includes all the types of referencing you’ll be dealing with over the course of your studies.

La Trobe’s online Referencing Guide can help you crack the code on citing sources in your assignments.

7. Register with Unitemps for paid work opportunities

Available to all students across all campuses, the benefits of our Unitemps on-campus recruitment service are multiple:

  • It’s an avenue to earn money while studying, which means you can swap your baked bean dinners for something a little more substantial
  • You have the chance to develop career ready skills and gain practical experience in your field of study
  • The program offers highly flexible work structures, including casual, part-time, short-term and full-time roles, and
  • You’ll have a spruced-up, gap-free resume before you graduate, with clear evidence of experience and professional referees who can vouch for your capability.
Use La Trobe’s Career Ready programs to connect your experience with what employers are looking for.

Unitemps is part of our broader Career Ready initiative: a suite of programs to help you become a highly employable graduate. In her student days, Sarah says she ‘loved’ using Career Ready:

It connects the dots from what you’ve done to what employers are looking for. If you’re feeling unprepared, or you don’t know what to do to land a job, it’s such a great program to tap into.”

Whether you eagerly latch on to all seven points outlined here or decide to give one or two a red-hot go, keep in mind that your time at uni won’t last forever. Our ultimate tip – explore and experience everything you can while you have the chance!

Interested in studying at La Trobe? Find a course that suits your kind of clever.