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Woman with backpack at UQ Lakes walkway

Moving smoothly from high school to uni

Uni life
Published 15 May, 2023  ·  4-minute read

So, you’re keen to start uni. Now what?

The best thing about uni life is that it can be whatever you make it. You’re in control. And you might be surprised to learn that getting good grades is not the be all and end all of success.

You’ll need to master a few more skills to make the most of your experience. Here are our 7 top tips to help you.

1. Learn how to manage your time

A graphic of a clock on a purple background with the text '1. Learn how to manage your time.'

Yes, you’ve probably heard this one. At uni, you’re treated like an adult, but that means you’ll have to manage your time like one too.

At first, it might be very tempting to look at all your free periods and see endless relaxation. But remember that you still have to study and complete your assignments. Not to mention other little jobs you may have to start doing solo – like laundry, cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping. If you don’t know how, now’s the time to learn. Ask someone to teach you before you move out and you’ll be right at home once you’re at uni.

Now, we’re not saying you need to spend every waking hour working and studying – because that’s not what uni life’s about either. It’s about finding the right balance between work and play. Your physical and mental health are just as important as your grades, so make sure to enjoy some down-time.

Pro tip: Try using our Day Planner (PDF, 73.2KB) to stay on track.

2. Go with the flow

A graphic of a person meditating on a purple background with the text '2. Go with the flow.'

As important as it is to have a plan, it’s also important to know when to ignore it. The UQ campus is a vibrant melting pot of people from all walks of life, and you never know what you’ll find.

Don’t be afraid to join that game of ultimate frisbee on the lawn or check out the bands playing at the Red Room that night.

There’s a uniquely chaotic energy that only exists on campus. Embrace it.

3. Find the freebies

A graphic of a sausage on a fork with a 'free' tag dangling from it, on a purple background, with the text '3. Find the freebies.'

Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” has clearly never been to uni! If you know where to look, freebies are everywhere. Make the most of them.

Pro tip: Don’t miss O-Week – it’s freebie heaven.


4. Join a club

A graphic of a group of people high-fiving on a purple background with the text '4. Join a club.'

UQ is home to hundreds of clubs and societies catering to just about every interest imaginable. If you’re into it, there’s probably a club for it. Keen to debate whether the book or the movie was better? Check out the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Society. Want to flex your macrame skills? Join the Handcraft and Art Club. 

Joining a club is a fantastic way to make lifelong friendships, have fun, and get more out of your uni experience. For first-years, it’s also a chance to build up your support network, as you'll meet plenty of older students who’ll be happy to pass on their knowledge.

You’ll also develop fantastic ‘soft skills’ that employers love, like teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving. So yes, we can’t stress this one enough. Join a club!

5. Get moving

A graphic of a person running on a purple background with the text '5. Get moving.'

Uni may be the first time you are solely responsible for your own health. Without a PE teacher or sports coach to encourage you, it might be tempting to become a couch potato. But staying fit and healthy will help you sleep better, learn better, make new friends, and build your immunity.

Be sure to plan some regular physical activity into your routine. It doesn’t matter what your fitness level, we’ve got something for everyone: tennis courts, pools, athletics tracks and gyms – not to mention numerous competitive and social sports opportunities.

6. Get to know the campus

A graphic of a map marked with a trail on a purple background with the text '6. Get to know the campus.'

Getting around campus can be confusing at times, but there’s no shame in asking someone for directions. However, we recommend taking the time to explore and really get to know your campus.

Scope out all the secret study spots. Figure out where the best coffee is. Discover all the hidden shortcuts between your classes.

Pro tip: Check out the UQ Nav app or use Google Maps

7. Ask for help

A graphic of a raised hand on a purple background with the text '7. Ask for help.'

Just because you’re treated like an adult now doesn’t mean you can’t still ask for help. We have lots of support services available to you, including mentoring, counselling, religious services, financial support and more. We’re here to make your time at UQ as positive as possible, so never be afraid to reach out if you need to chat.

Going to uni for the first time will be one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do in your life. It’ll be exhilarating, scary, incredible, exhausting, magical and confusing – somehow all at the same time.

When all else fails, just remember that you’re not alone. Welcome to the UQ family.

Now you know how to survive and thrive in your first semester at uni, discover some of the lingo you'll hear every day.

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