A photo of the University of Newcastle's Orientation week, showing students lined up at stalls

How to get the most out of Orientation Week

Orientation Week is a rite of passage for first-year uni students. Along with sorting out the essentials at Student Central (hello parking permit and ID card), the week is an exciting and valuable opportunity to gain insight into the degree you have chosen to study and meet some of the people you’ll be learning alongside. It also allows you one last chance to relax and prepare before the academic aspects of university life kick in!

Here are the ways you can make the most of your Orientation (aka O-Week) experience at the University:

1. Get your uni admin sorted first

It doesn’t sound exciting, but printing out your course outlines, purchasing your Parking Permit and uploading a photo for your Student ID card are worth getting sorted at the beginning of Orientation. Make sure to devote some time to look through the Orientation schedule so you can plan out your week, you don’t want to miss any of the academic essential workshops, campus tours or the introductory events to Uni life. You can print out a personalised Orientation schedule with all the sessions and events you want to go to.

Doing all the boring stuff straight away will leave you feeling cool, calm and confident, plus you will have more time to relax and have fun for the rest of the week, so get it sorted early.

2. Attend as much as you can (even if you think you’ll hate it)

Program Information sessions – are they really that important?

Short answer: yes.

As well as providing you with vital information that a course outline just can’t, you get the chance to meet your lecturers and see where some of your classes will be held. I met some of my closest uni friends at my degree info session, so giving up half of your day is a small price to pay.

Plus, the whole week is filled with a variety of events, expos, and workshops that aren’t degree specific. Plan your week so that you can attend as much as possible, even if its not your faculty specific day.

3. Take a campus tour

Student Central run daily tours of the Callaghan, NUspace and Central Coast campuses throughout Orientation, so why not grab some friends and go for a walk around the place you will be spending the next few years of your life? Although you may think you don’t need a tour, the ‘Directions’ section of the myUNI app can only get you so far. When you’re running late to your first lecture and actually have somewhat of an idea where you’re going, you’ll be grateful for having already been shown around (I learnt this one the hard way).

4. Sign up for a Peer Mentor

Starting out at the Uni of Newcastle, especially if you’re not from Newcastle, can be overwhelming at first. If you’d like some advice from someone who’s been through it all before, a Peer Mentor is the way to go. Peer Mentors provide insights into their university experience and advice on studying at Uni of Newcastle, making your transition to university that little bit easier in those first few weeks.


5. Attend a free academic workshop

Getting back into the swing of study can be challenging, so to make sure you’re confident and ready to go when semester starts, the University offers a wide range of free Smart Study sessions as part of Orientation. These cover aspects of academic life including how to take lecture notes, manage your time, navigate Canvas, and reference correctly. Better yet, you can attend as many as you like!

Make sure to tick these on your personalised Orientation planner.

6. Check out the Student Life Expo and Lunch

For those of you at Callaghan, NUspace and Ourimbah campuses, make sure to have a gander at the Student Life Expo. With more than 80 clubs running, something is bound to pique your interest. There’s a mix of degree-based and social clubs, which range from Water Polo, Criminology and Criminal Justice, right through to the Environmental Club! The Expo is your chance to sign-up and meet new people, as well as get some more general information about being a student here. Plus you can grab a free BBQ lunch while you’re at it while enjoying live entertainment.

UNSA is the Uni’s student union body and is completely free to join. UNSA’s aim is to enhance the wellbeing of students through events – including free BBQs on campus – and campaigns to ensure the University hears the voice of the students. 

7. Join a sporting team

Be sure to chat with the sporting teams who are set up at the Student Life Expo. The Uni has a huge range of sports teams – from Rugby to Quidditch, there’s something for everyone. Don’t know how to play a sport? No problem! O-Week is the perfect chance to scope out the teams and try your hand at something new.

8. Relax with a free feed and drink!

If you think attending Orientation is just about showing up for registration and your degree information session, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are loads of events throughout the week to get your time at uni off to a cracking start.

You can find a full schedule of events on the Uni of Newcastle website.


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