By Brooke Cahill
I began my first year of Commerce studies at Macquarie University back in 2014. Being someone who absolutely hated high school, I was terrified of what I had gotten myself into. But eventually I found comfort in the reassurance of others that University was going to be a whole new world away from the traditional schooling system I had once resented so.
I remember my first year being full of both excitement and dread as I attempted to navigate my way around the confusing enrolment process, class registrations, the online learning systems, course material requirements, and just figuring out my way around campus. Sure enough, I’d come to realise that I had indeed entered a whole new world of education.
You will still find certain similarities to high school such as mandatory attendance to some (but not all) classes, as well as, assignments and core subjects (the ones you don’t get to choose). But the most distinguishable quality, I found, was the freedom to choose your own path. You now have the ability to define your education and not simply let your education define you.
So if you are officially a university student or contemplating enrolling in a business based course consider this list your Zombie Survival Kit for university. You will need:
1 x wall calendar
1 x diary
A divided subject notebook
Quad pens (great for exams)
Whole lotta highlighters
Scientific calculator (you will be doing a lot of maths your first year)
The university app – Maps will be your best friend.
Unidays - discounts for students
Student Mentors – These guys can help you out with any questions you may have and are generally easy to get in touch with.
Student Advisor – If you want help understanding what classes and activities you should enrol in for a particular area of interest, these are the people you will want to talk to first.
By now you’re probably already feeling overwhelmed with the unknown of what to expect or what you even want to study. DON’T STRESS! You are not alone in this confusion. I guarantee you almost every other first year student has no idea either.
The best advice I can offer you at this point, if you are completely unsure of what area of business you wish to follow is, don’t choose your major yet. Spend your first year completing all the core units required to satisfy your degree. Choose the electives you think you will like the most, perhaps even choose some you hate!
Sometimes it works out that the ones you hate, you love and vice versa. By this point, you’ll have a clearer idea of which areas your interests lie and you can pick your major and sub major from there. Voila!
Now that we have the essentials covered, lets talk about the best parts of your business studies experience. Welcome to three solid years of opportunities, friends, self-growth, and MANY new venture ideas that you will probably never get around to launching.
It’s important that you make yourself aware of what opportunities your university can provide you to enhance your knowledge and experience. I was lucky enough to study abroad during my final year and let me tell you, it was one opportunity I am glad I did not miss out on. I do however regret not seeking out more opportunities to give my resume more of a competitive edge, such as internships, community programs, and innovative project competitions. If only I too had stumbled across the wise words of an alumni.
Another key thing to remember throughout your studies is that networking will serve you no matter what area of business you’re in. Don’t spend too much of your time hiding out in the library with your head in your textbook. Attend key social events, bond with students in your group assignments, and don’t be afraid to say hello to person sitting next to you in class.
These are the people that will help you during and well after your degree has been completed. You might even encounter the next Mark Zuckerberg somewhere along the line.
Looking back now, I couldn’t have come this far without the help I received from the many unique and utterly amazing students that helped shape my thoughts and ideas every step of the way.
I know that graduation may seem like it is light years away, especially if you haven’t even enrolled yet, but your university experience will creep up on you quicker than you realise. So don’t waste time procrastinating and ensure you get the most out of the journey you’re about to embark on. Get excited, get started, and above all – it was a pleasure doing business with you.