O-Week Rookie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them



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Whether you’re coming in straight out of year 12 or back from a gap year there’s stacks you need to know about how to make the most of orientation week at your university. So don’t be a rookie, check out these common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Rookie Mistake 1: Staying on the beaten track

Campus is huge. But during O-Week, they tend to keep you corralled to certain parts of the uni. While you’ll learn plenty on the official tour, don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking that’s all there is to campus.

Solution: Go Dora the Explorer

There’s probably no way you’re going to find every secret spot on Week 1, but you can try. Get out there and explore the hidden nooks and crannies. After all, it’s going to be your home for 3-5 years at least, you want to know where all the good spots are. Keep an eye out for:

  • Quiet places to study
  • Bars and lunch spots away from the crowds
  • Entries and exits for better access to buses etc.

Not only will you know the lay of the land, you’ll be the go-to in your social group for the best spots on campus.

Rookie Mistake 2: Thinking you’ll sign up later

O-week is when all the societies and social groups are out in force, putting their best foot forward to grab your attention (and as many signups as they can).

You might be tempted to say: ‘Hey that seems cool, I’ll sign up some time.”

That’s a rookie mistake my friend. Once semester kicks off, you’ll probably be too busy to chase down the Frisbee Club and join their mixed social team. And the Cooking Society? Take it from a veteran, unless you’re happy wolfing down mi goreng for the next 12 months put you name down, pronto.

Solution: Lean in

If a club or society grabs your fancy, lean into it. Ask a few questions and engage with the club members. Societies are a great way to meet people, make friends and do interesting and fun activities. Who doesn’t love that?

Rookie Mistake 3: Missing out on the campus tour

Campus tour? Who needs it. You’re smart, you’re capable, you can find your own way to the quad. The Campus tour is more than just an official guide to every admin building on campus, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the history and culture of your university and potentially ask a few questions as well.

Solution: Swallow your pride and sign up

O stands for Orientation, so jump on a campus tour as soon as you can and get the lay of the land. While campus tours can sometimes be a little cheesy, you will get plenty of insight into what, where and how of university geography.

Rookie Mistake 4: Skipping the library

Cunning O-Week operators might tell you to skip the library for an early lunch or trip to the uni bar. Be forewarned, only rookies skip the library. As far as degrees go, it’s where the magic happens.

Solution: Library up, Nancy Pearl

Regardless of the degree you’re studying, you’ll be spending time at the library. It’s a quiet place to study and find essential resources that will give you the edge. O-Week is the best opportunity to learn how the library works. Everything from the Dewey Decimal System to how the library computer systems work to where to find the study rooms (and how to book them). It’s not the most exciting part of O-week but it will help you hit the ground running.

Image Credit: iStock

Rookie Mistake 5: Lining up to buy your textbooks

“See that long line that’s barely moving. That’s where I wanna be,” said no one at O-Week, ever.

Solution: Get digital

O-Week is NOT the time to line up for textbooks. Got it? Order your textbooks online, or grab them from a second-hand bookstore. There’s no reason to waste time waiting in line on O-Week. Trust me.

Rookie Mistake 6: Running out of fuel

O-Week rookies beware of the blight that comes from an empty stomach. Running out of fuel on O-Week will see you moving slower than a tenured English Professor’s lecture on Shakespeare.

Solution: Cram in the carbs

O-Week is a marathon, not a sprint. Stuff a few snacks in your bag to avoid the queues and make sure you grab all the free food you can. There’s nothing worse than low blood sugar during O-Week. Still, if you are struggling, make sure you drink plenty of water and maybe take a nap in the quad.

Rookie Mistake 7: Worrying about being awkward

O-Week isn’t a spectator sport. You got to get involved. Rookies worry about being awkward, pros jump right in.

Solution: Forget your fears

Look, everyone’s trying to make friends, sometimes it’s going to get a little award. Don’t worry too much about it if you don’t click with someone right away. 99% of the people you’ll meet at O-Week are in the same boat. The best thing about university is there’s so many people, you’re practically guaranteed you’ll find a niche.

Rookie Mistake 8: Going too hard, too early

Uni parties are fun, but you’ve also got years of them to look forward to. Rookies go too hard on O-Week, pros know it’s a distance game, and enjoy the journey.

Solution: Take it easy

Don’t go too hard on the partying during Orientation Week (or ever, really). Enjoy yourself, make friends, and save some of the fun for later.

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