By Kim Sare & Kaitlin Stewart
Jan 31, 2018

Your First Time

Uni is a time of many firsts, and it can be confusing to figure your way around as you get settled in. Allow us to give some advice on how to deal with all new experiences – both the rad and the sad – to make uni life-changing (in a good way).

Your first week in the halls:

So, you’ve moved into the halls; the place you’ll be living for the next eight months. Are you wondering what things you need to know and remember about this precious place? Follow these genius tips to have a totally tubular first week in the halls before classes kick in.

  1. Actually talk to people – this is the greatest time of our lives! Put yourself out there and talk to some new people. We guarantee that no matter how weird you think you come across, there will ALWAYS be someone you click with.  
  2. Speaking of clicking, there will also ALWAYS be someone you won’t click with, and that’s okay. Don’t let it get to you; there’s always going to be assholes who you don’t get on with, but focus on your groovy new friends and live laugh love.
  3. And yes, we are well aware of the rivalry between halls. But don’t let that stop you from making friends with people in other halls! Student Village and Bryant Hall are right beside each other, so you’re going to have to live in harmony. Hopefully.  
  4. Learn to love the halls food. Yes, it may seem terrible at first – and there may be nothing you want more than your mum’s spaghetti – but you’re stuck with it for the next eight months. Unless you want to blow all your money on buying Maccas and pizza every day then we say suck it up, buttercup.
  5. Make your room your own. That’s what it is, YOURS. Put up pictures, posters, lights, knick-knacks, the whole shebang. Do what you gotta do to make it feel a little less like a jail cell.
  6. Get comfortable; don’t be afraid to be yourself. But just keep in mind, even though you may want to listen to your heavy metal on full blast at 4am, your neighbours may be a little hesitant. From past experience, the people that do this don’t last very long in the good books.
  7. One of the more interesting parts of hall life is definitely the shared bathrooms. The smells, the constant mess everywhere, and even the suspicious shower floors. All we can say is make sure you take everything you want to remain uncontaminated back to your room, and maybe wear jandals – you never know what’s been on those floors.  
  8. Talk to your parents. You may be having the time of your life, never thinking of home, but your parents will be missing you. Make sure you stay in touch, even if it’s just a text every now and then. It’s not fair just to hit up the rents when you need access to their bank, or someone to vent to once you’ve left all your assignments to the last minute.
  9. Take advantage of your freedom! You’ve moved out of home and are on your way to becoming an (somewhat) independent, functional adult. So don’t keep that string tied to home too tight, otherwise you might miss out on fun going on within your hall.
  10. A final tip – be nice to your housekeepers, please! They are a blessing in disguise, one which you may not realise until you’re faced with the task of flatting and have to actually clean up after yourself.

Your first O-Week

It’s the greatest time of semester when everyone begins bonding while getting absolutely rinsed together in wacky costumes for town dress-ups. O-Week’s a super intense time, so allow us to give you some (hopefully) helpful hints on how to navigate the week and make it out alive at the end of it.
  1. Pace yourself – one of the first things I remember my RA telling me was that O-Week is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it easy. While it’s great to have fun, it’s never cool to crash and burn on the first night; for you or your new friends looking after you. Plus, it’s always neat to actually remember your O-Week.

  2. When going out make sure to go in the biggest group possible. If you’re in the halls, getting absolutely pissed with your neighbours is the best way to get to know each other. Holding back someone’s hair when they’re throwing up on Hood Street really creates a special bond that will last for the rest of the year.

  3. Look after each other – if you’ve moved to the Tron for uni, there’s a chance you might not be familiar with our lovely Victoria Street. Look out for your mates and stick close to a few, make sure that everyone’s safe while having a gnarly time.

  4. BAR101; a classic staple upon turning 18 and going into town for the first time. But our advice for you is to keep your options open, don’t worry, there are many other bars in town – a personal choice being Static, because a small room filled with sweaty people and hardcore EDM ensures a night well spent.

  5. Funds – O-Week is one of the few times that most people seem to have cash to burn. While you might feel rich, it won’t last long. To avoid spending all your dollas on buying Hamilton’s cheap shots, try taking cash instead of your card so you know that you’ve got limited money. Or, ya know, take the card and spend up large. Either or.

  6. Whilst on the topic of funds, to ensure you won’t be forking out big bucks on drinks all night long we suggest you hit Billy’s,The Karaoke Bar. If you simply close your eyes when going into the bathroom and focus only on the $3.50 shots, it’s not that bad.

  7. Believe it or not, O-Week is not only about getting absolutely smashed every night, but is also actually an orientation into the university itself. So, we recommend rather than sleeping off that hangover, take a walk around the campus. Familiarise yourself with the buildings, because when classes start, there’s nothing worse than trying to find a classroom in the teaching buildings, believe me.

  8. Another tip when walking around campus – always take the free shit they give out. Sure, having a bunch of pens may seem useless right now, but in a few weeks after having not done a stationary trip to the Warehouse like you said you would, they will come in very handy. Knowing from experience, take the goddamn pens.

  9. Now, back on the topic of drinking yourself into an early grave, food after town is an essential. A top pick for us being Refueljo’s. With an AUX cord and chargers on deck to assist you whilst downing a healthy portion of Cheesy Weezy’s, this place is located just down the road from the biggest clubs in Hamilton, and is therefore the perfect end to a night out.  

  10. And for the final tip to survive your first O-Week at the beautiful University of Waikato; make sure you’re ready for classes because once the fun ends, torture ensues.

Your first flat party

Yes, yes, what you have all been waiting for: University Flat parties. Hosted by the cooler second years, there’s an array of entertainment for the poor freshers that get kicked out of the halls at 10pm. Upon our experience attending flat parties as freshers, we came across a lot of interesting characters, alcohol fuelled stupidity, and (not at all) well-kept homes. So, with all the knowledge we have mustered over the year, here’s a few tips to ensure the greatest (but safest of course) experience.

  1. Despite every person telling you funnel entry is mandatory upon entering the party, don’t worry – if that’s not your jam don’t do it. The only thing you’ll face due to denial of this ritual is a smaller chance of a hangover, so who’s the real winner?
  2. But also, being the first fresher to sink a funnel can be a big boost to your developing reputation. So, if that’s your deal all I recommend is make sure the equipment is legit, and not a vacuum cleaner tube. Take it from me, this is some advice you should really take on board.
  3. If you can avoid it, don’t use the bathroom. There’s usually no toilet paper and god knows what’s on that hand towel. But ya know, when you gotta go, you gotta go – must be great to be a guy…
  4. Take a jacket. Hamilton’s bloody cold, especially when that alcohol blanket wears off.
  5. We all know the struggle of low funds. So if you’ve gone all out on anything more expensive than your classic scrumpy or vile bottle of wine, then keep it with you. The minute you put that box down, you’ll never see it again. As I said, uni is expensive and good alcohol is hard to come by, so give us a break will ya.
  6. We know most of you aren’t innocent; lots of you will have attended high school parties. The famous Hogan Street parties are pretty similar with regards to teenagers making stupid decisions, but the difference is we get a slightly cooler title of a ‘uni party.’
  7. Also, there’s no mothers ringing at midnight ordering you to come home. Instead the wonders of Outback and BAR101 call your name.
  8. Pace yourself, don’t go too hard at the pres. There’s nothing worse than making the effort to get into town, and then not being let in by the bouncer because you’re too pissed. Even worse, you’ll miss that super rad DJ set at BAR101!!
  9. Make friends. Flat parties are the best place to meet people outside of your hall and in higher years at uni whom may shed insight onto your first year. Take their advice (and ours of course); we’ve all been there.
  10. Lastly, have a rad time! Some of our funniest memories of the first year were had at the infamous flat parties. With the right crowd, good music and sweet alcohol, you’ll have the best times and hopefully actually remember them.

Your first week of classes

O-Week has finished and you’re out of your alcohol-induced coma. Now the real fun starts; classes. You know, what you’re actually at University for? Here’s a compilation of advice and tips we wish we had been given upon our venture into first year university classes.

  1. Spoiler: It’s gonna suck. The teachers didn’t lie, it is harder than high school.
  2. What you need for class is the question on all of your minds, I know. Whether you’re a management, computer science or arts student, you will need to take notes at some point in the semester (maybe). So either a laptop which guarantees distractions, or the classic paper and pen, are mandatory. Either way, pick one and stick to it -– when it comes to exams you’ll want all your shit in one place.
  3. Textbooks, do you really need them? Depending on the class, there are ways to avoid spending a couple hundred bucks on textbooks you’ll never read. So don’t be afraid to buy second-hand books; there’s even a Facebook group dedicated to it. Cheaper textbooks = more money for alcohol, right?
  4. As mentioned before, familiarise yourself with the campus before attending class. We cannot emphasize enough how confusing some of the blocks are and how long it takes to find certain classes. Those fucking teaching buildings man.
  5. Making friends, or simply talking to people in your lectures, is actually a really good idea. You may think just keeping to yourself and getting the work done alone is ideal. But once that big test rolls around and you have no one to copy notes off from those lectures you missed, it really helps to have those random Facebook friends.
  6. Making a good impression on your tutors is key. They could make the difference between not asking for advice and failing the paper, or becoming comfortable enough to seek help and getting at least a C-.
  7. Remember, lecturers are employed because of their intelligence and knowledge, not their teaching abilities. Just keep that in mind.
  8. Don’t be that dick that walks in 20 minutes late –  it’s not that hard to be on time kids.
  9. Panopto is our great saviour. Just check that the class is actually recorded before skipping. If it is recorded, make sure to actually watch the class later on. Telling yourself you’ll catch up later and never doing it can become a never-ending cycle of disappointment, similar to the look in your parent’s eyes if you fail a course.
  10. Lastly, actually go to the first week of classes. It might suck but it’ll let you know if you hate the class, and it’s better to switch sooner rather than later. It might lessen the desire to drop out if you sort of like your classes.

Your first assignment

Believe it or not, getting a degree in University actually requires some work. Sure, you could scrape by on the bare minimum, but at least a few assignments do need to be completed. So here we have tips and advice to ensure you (hopefully) complete those pesky assignments to the best of your ability.

  1. Do not leave it to the last minute. You might think you can bullshit your way through like you did in English class, but these lecturers know their shit, and first year uni students that are only running on caffeine and being too tired to sleep can’t really compete. Also, submitting an assignment with 14 seconds left really gets the heart pumping – and not in a good way.
  2. Know the deductions for being late. If it’s 5% for every 24 hours, then use the 24 hours to actually finish the assignment and make it presentable, rather than rushing in the last hour to get it in on time. Chances are, using the extra time could bump your work up enough that the deductions don’t matter in the long run. Go big or go home!
  3. Do your referencing as you go. We truly cannot emphasise this enough. While it might seem like a good idea to just write and then prove it later, it really fucks you over when you’re so original that no one else agrees with you.
  4. Ask for help if you need it. Your tutors are there for a reason. Don’t contribute to the capitalist regime that is society; make them work for their money, kids.
  5. Actually do your assignments. No matter what grade you get it all adds up at the end of the day, and whether you do shit or not, you could still scrape by with a pass. C’s get degrees, amiright?!
  6. Do your research. It might suck, but it’ll suck more when your lecturer asks you why you tried to pass a baby boomer’s comment on a NZ Herald article off as an academic source. Worse yet, you become one of their infamous stories of what not to do in their course, told to students for years to come. Legend.
  7. Use your friends! You know how we told you to talk to people in class? This is where it comes in handy. Work together and check each other’s work to make sure you’re on the right track. This way, if one of you goes down, you’re taking the other one with you. Win win.
  8. Acquiring the correct equipment to actually complete an upcoming assignment is also a must. Relying on the computers in the library may not be ideal, as a 4th year engineering student writing a 10-page report probably has priority over your 500-word essay on Avatar.
  9. Know where to hand it in. Depending on the department or the class there are many different places where assignments are handed in. Whether it be physically pushed into a slot or online, find out before your due date which inevitably will arrive.
  10. If a paper copy has to be handed in, write your damn name! Honestly, imagine making it to uni and then being that guy who doesn’t name their work. Sucks to be you, dude.

Contact Us

07 837 9449

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Gate One, University of Waikato
Knighton Road

PO Box 25-002
Waikato University