Agony Aunt Tackles First Years

Helena Ruse from Leftovers | @leftoverssketch

So you’re starting university and you have no idea what to expect, right? University is the place where you’re finally on your own. No more Mum, no more spoon feeding teachers and if you need help you’ll be contacting about 15 different people who’ll pass you onto another department and will come to the assumption that they cannot help you with your query. You’ll simply have to deal with the timetable clash or HECS HELP fee problem all by yourself. But you know what, it’s not all bad, your resident Agony Aunt is here to help with petty first year problems and ridiculous childish questions.

I’m nervous about making friends at uni. I had a lot of friends at high school but none of them are coming with me to RMIT. How do I make friends?

YOU WON’T. Uni is about learning, not socialising with the hot boy from your tute- duh. Number one thing you’ll learn at uni is that you’ll rarely make friends. Especially if you thought you were awesome at high school, trust me you ain’t at university. You can try sitting next to people and maybe even having a conversation, but they won’t remember you and they definitely won’t wave to you or even acknowledge you when you walk past them on Bowen Street. Good luck kids, my bet is join a club and don’t act too eager. Everyone can sense the nervous, awkward, overly keen kid that wants to make a friend. If I saw that I would avoid you.

It’s my first day of university and I’m scared that I won’t be able to find my classroom? I’ve looked at the map provided but it’s all very confusing. Please Help.

Hey there first year, suck it up. Life is hard and if you don’t develop some street smarts then you’re going to be pounded down. Google Maps won’t get you to your class and the RMIT map will only get you so far. Do yourself a favour and get there early for once. Maybe look up from your iPhone and actually look for the classroom in the flesh. And guess what? You can actually ask people. Even though most RMIT students are too cool to speak to you, at least they might have the energy to point you in the right direction.

I’m excited to start university and meet people who inspire me. I want to learn to collaborate and share ideas with others. How can I do this?

Let me tell you a thing or two first year. Instead of finding people that challenge and excite you, most of the time you will meet people who introduce themselves as “filmmakers” or “authors” or entrepreneurs”. The truth is, they are lying to you! These people are just students, who’ve barely written a line of dialogue in a film, published something other than a Facebook status and created less than a buy-and-sell Instagram account. These people love to throw these words in your face, usually to make themselves appear cooler and more established than they actually are. The reality is they’re just poor students like you, hoping to find a job upon graduation. When you find yourself in a situation with a person like this, just nod and emit confidence, maybe give a few words of feeble encouragement and be on your way. Of course not all students are like this, you may encounter students that radiate intellect and vision. However if you do, my advice is to avoid them, they make you look useless and inadequate.

I would love to get more involved at university, how do I do that?

Most first years think they will be involved in many extracurricular activities, like joining the Spanish Club or Dramatic Arts society. Hoping to build their skills and divulge themselves into new and exciting communities. Let me be honest and tell you now, you are too lazy and will never go to more than the introductory meeting. Once you discover that RMIT doesn’t have compulsory attendance, your 15 hour study load will drop down to 10 hours, then to 5 hours and before you know it you’ll be catching up on 40 hours worth of lectures online. You’ll begin to wonder why nobody in your tutes looks familiar, then remember this is only the second time you’ve attended all semester. So my advice is, unless you see yourself attending every tute and every lecture, don’t get yourself entwined in a tangle of clubs and societies. You’re not only letting yourself down but the people who actually attend club meetings and organise activities down as well. They will begin to despise you and no one needs enemies at uni, especially when you need to cling onto as many friends and acquaintances as possible. So do yourself a favour, if you’re lazy don’t bother, because ignorance is bliss (I’m joking that’s horrible, but don’t be a shit and never attended meetings you said you were going to go to).

So first years, I hope I’ve helped! University is a Wonderland with new and exciting endeavours. Enjoy yourself and don’t take it too seriously, it’s only $9000 a year that future you will be paying off for years.  Take it easy and realise that it trumps high school or full time work as you feel busy but don’t actually do much at all. Get ready for a year full of possibilities and welcome to RMIT.


Your Agony Aunt.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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