So let’s face it… sometimes uni can be a lonely place. We’ve all been there – you get a few weeks into semester and suddenly everything is due this week or next, you cancel plans, avoid everyone, and pack your study bag for a semi-permanent staycation in the back corner of the Auchmuty Library.
When you get into that mindset, it can become easy to forget about the numerous support networks available, the social benefits of study, and just how great making uni pals can be. But have no fear, there are so many ways to connect with your peers throughout semester that will not only boost your GPA, but help uni become a much more social and inclusive space for you.
Connecting in your courses
The best advice I’ve ever received about making friends at uni, was to sit next someone at the start of a lecture, introduce yourself, and be sure to smile. Once you get to know people, it’s easier to ask questions like ‘how did you find this week’s readings?’, or ‘did you want to get a coffee after class and do some revision?’. These smaller interactions are a great way to create networks of support with peers, and often you’ll be surprised by how well you connect with your classmates and the lifelong friendships you’ll make.
Once you know some other students, group study sessions offer a way to spend time with your peers while providing a designated setting for revising subjects and working on assessments. There are some key benefits of studying in groups, such as:
- filling gaps in your notes
- being able to clarify tricky subject matter
- ensuring there’s set time dedicated in your schedule to study, and
- being a cure for that semester loneliness
The University of Newcastle also offers some great resources to help with group study, such as group study rooms you can book online, the Zoom platform you can use for group study calls, and software systems like Office 365 to create shared summary documents.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (or ‘PASS’, as they call it on the streets) is another great way to make friends in your courses and revise tricky subject areas all at the same time. These sessions are led by other students who have completed and aced the course, and range from weekly get-togethers to pre-exam intensive days depending on the subject.
If you can’t attend the sessions available, the weekly worksheets, which are uploaded onto Blackboard, are a sure-fire way to shake up your group study session.
Peer Writing Mentors
What if we told you there’s students out there who can read your work (including assessments) and provide meaningful study strategies and feedback? Well there are, and they’re available to all Uni of Newcastle Students (yes, including you)!
This service is super easy to access, you just need to attend a session with your work ready – and the best part is, the skills you develop are ‘transferable’, which is a fancy way of saying they will help you in your other subjects too!
Academic Learning Support Workshops
Another way to build those transferable skills is to attend an Academic Learning Support Workshop. As the name suggests, these workshops build academic learning skills like writing, English language, and study skills for both undergrad and post-grad students.
Like Peer Writing Mentors, these sessions offer a way to connect outside of your subject or degree area. Topics are broken into smaller workshops on specific and important study skills, and these workshops are about 90 minutes and can be accessed online.
Clubs and Societies
The University of Newcastle also has a huge range of clubs and societies available to students! These groups provide a good way to meet peers while building skills and valuable industry knowledge. If you want to grow specific skills, like public speaking, writing, or being career ready – groups like Toastmasters, the Writing Society, and the Ideas and Synergy Network may be for you!
If you’re interested in meeting people in your degree or working on specific degree-based skills, there’s also a range of academic discipline-based clubs for students studying Law, Science, Criminology, Business, Commerce, Engineering, Math, History, Philosophy, and other degrees or majors, all offering targeted events that focus on meeting other students and increasing valuable skills in your study area.
So – let’s get started!
If you’re looking for a sign, this is it! Next semester is now only just around the corner, and it’s a great time to have a look at some of the opportunities to connect around campus and make some potentially life-long friends. Jump out of your comfort zone and take a chance on some new study opportunities!