For a new student starting university for the first time, Orientation can be exciting, daunting and overwhelming all at the same time. The opportunity to sort out uni admin, see what your degree is all about, meet fellow students and sign up for extra curriculars can be stressful, even with the abundance of free food and drinks thrown your way.
When I attended orientation as a scared little first-year, I was keen to give everything a go, but I soon discovered this was unrealistic. I signed up to multiple clubs, library services and careers events which left me with a bunch of commitments I was unable to fulfill. As I grappled with the academic demands of my first semester, I was met with feelings of guilt and regret about this.
That’s why one of my biggest tips to reduce the stress and anxiety experienced in Orientation and beyond is to be realistic and avoid over-committing. While it can be exciting signing up for a heap of different clubs, activities and services, you might find you run yourself ragged within a few weeks. Or maybe nerves have you saying yes to things you have no intention of showing up to, causing guilt throughout the semester. Either way, I can say from experience how important it is to consider how much time and money you have to spare before you get to Orientation.
A good place to start is by looking at your timetable, which is available now through myUni. You can look at the classes you have been allocated (and change these if available) and then schedule other commitments such as work around these. Then take a look at the time leftover in your week. Think about when you will study, relax and socialise. Go into Orientation with this in mind. Having an understanding of how much time and money you can spend on activities will give you peace of mind and confidence as you see all the amazing things you can be involved in at the University of Newcastle.
While getting organised before Orientation can help you avoid stress or guilt, starting university inevitably still comes with feelings of anxiety. If Orientation or the start of the year in general has you in need of extra support, there are heaps of services offered to students for free by the university. GPs, counsellors and a range of other health services are available and will be at the student life expo this Orientation for you to find out more. You never know when you will need support so getting this information now could be invaluable, making it that much easier to access support when you need a hand later in the semester.
Overall, my advice for Orientation is to take in everything you can. Starting university is exciting and you want to make the most of what’s on offer. Just be sure to plan and budget your time so you don’t end up over-committed.