Everyone considering further study worries about the practicalities of their decision. Life as a university student is a creative combination of lectures, tutorials, group work, study, work, and even work experience. Depending on your study commitments you may also like to get involved in university sport or cultural activities.
Universities can seem like big scary places when you compare them with a school. Some campuses are huge, with lots of buildings and thousands of students everywhere. Other campuses are much smaller and easier to find your way around. It's easy to feel a bit lost and alone when you think about your first day at universty - but remember that every other new student is in exactly the same situation!
Try out our brand-new interactive Callaghan and Central Coast campus maps, which include photos of many of the major buildings plus a selection of useful information such as the location of bus stops, emergency phone locations and more.
Studying at university will probably feel very liberating when you compare it with the structure of your school environment, especially as you usually won't have to be on campus all day every day. Your university timetable might only require that you're on campus for a few days a week, and not even all day on those days.
In most degrees your contact hours are made up of:
- Lectures - a large class where the lecturer presents information to a large number of students
- Tutorials – a smaller interactive class of up to 40 students
- Pracs (depending on the course).
Degrees vary, although you can usually expect to have one lecture (usually 1-2 hours) and one tutorial (usually 1-2 hours) for each subject that you study per week. So if you're studying 4 units (a normal full-time semester load) you may only need to be on campus for 10-12 hours per week, depending on the length of your lectures and tutorials. How easy is that?
Keep in mind that even though you might not have to be on campus, you will still be expected to be working on each subject for 10 or so hours per week, including your class time which may equal a 40 hour study week.
When you add part-time work, family responsibilities, social and leisure time and so on - your week will probably be fairly full. Good time management is an essential skill when studying at university- so if you haven't developed this skill yet, you'll definitely get the chance to do it at university.
University students will need to become familiar with computer technology in a variety of software systems. Some examples include: enrolment, using student email, accessing library resources and submitting assignments.
Many students, particularly those who are not recent school leavers, worry about their ability to deal with the information technology used by tertiary institutions. The University of Newcastle offers computer literacy programs to commencing students through Foundation Studies.
Help for new students is also available on the University of Newcastle's New Students website.