Hello there fellow bloggers!

My name is Bianca Anderson and I am delighted to join the team here at First Year Blog. I am starting my first year here at Bendigo La Trobe doing my Bachelor of Education.
During O-Week, I asked some fellow first years how they found their experiences. Lucy Gemmill and Emma McGregor share their stories below.

Lucy Gemmill:

What course are you studying and why did you choose it?
I am studying a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), and I chose to do it because in the future I want to work in finance or as an accountant.

How did you feel on your first day of O-Week?
I was quite nervous, just because I didn’t know what to expect. Everyone says that university is a lot different to high school and I didn’t know what they really meant.

Did the fact that Bendigo La Trobe is a regional campus help you decide that it was the campus for you? If so why?
Yes, mainly because it would allow me to still live at home, and travel to school everyday. I am a small-town country girl and the Bendigo campus allowed me to stay in the lifestyle I like, whilst also giving me a taste of the city.

What is your favourite thing about the Bendigo Campus?
I really love that I has a really huge library and that there are different areas depending on how you want to work – quiet areas for quiet study and areas specifically for group work.

How do you deal with stress?
During year 12, I had a really hard time dealing with stress, but I have learned that if I am really stressed out, I need to back away from what I am doing and read a book or listen to some music.

Do you have any advice for students looking to start at Bendigo Latrobe?
Definitely come to campus tours and the Experience La Trobe day, so that you get to have a look around the university before you come to study.

Emma McGregor:

What course are you studying and why?
I’m studying a Bachelor of Education (P-12), and I chose this course because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and because becoming a teacher will enable me to help shape the future generations into a better society.

What do you think of the Bendigo campus?
I really love this campus! The campus has the right amount of city life and country life mixed together. Also, the general inclusive quality of the students and staff make it feel like home.

Is there anything you are nervous about going into your first year of University life?
The most nerve wracking thing about starting my first year was moving out of home and being away from my family for the first time.

What is your favourite thing about the Bendigo Campus?
My favourite thing about the campus is how everyone is always making sure that everyone is getting involved and having a good time, especially during O-Week.

Any advice for students looking to start at Bendigo La Trobe next year?
Just make sure, especially over O-Week, that you join in and make the most of it.

So much like the lovely girls above, I had a blast at O-Week. I will admit, it was daunting walking around trying not to get lost, and the stairs killed me at first; but I am so excited now that I can’t wait to start studying!
Stay Cool =D
Bianca.

Welcome to La Trobe!

La Trobe Agora

La Trobe Bundoora – Agora. Photo credit: Olivia Larobina

Congratulations on becoming a student at one of La Trobe’s beautiful campuses! Whether you’re straight out of high school, returning to studies later in life, or just making a change, we hope you love La Trobe as much as we do.

Our aim is to develop the blog into one hat all La Trobe students, -past, future and present- with experiences and stories can relate to. We hope everyone enjoys reading our First Year Blog, and look forward to some of you potentially joining as bloggers for 2015.

There will be some changes to the blog this year, namely in the style of content. We want to allow bloggers to have much more creative freedom, giving them the power to write about topics that they are interested in. We want to shift the blog’s focus from being purely about advice and uni updates, to including personal anecdotes about positive experiences at La Trobe.

Share what you love!

Whether you’re interested in sports or fashion, entertainment or social justice, events or interviews, we want you to blog about it’s a part of your first year experience.

So if you study at Bendigo look out for Tom, and if you study at Bundoora look out for Olivia. We’ll be around recruiting new bloggers to join us this year.

We’ll keep you updated once recruitment officially begins. For now, enjoy O-Week 🙂

Our Blog – what we’re all about

The first year at La Trobe University – any university, for that matter – can be a daunting time. Students, whether they be young or old, can be apprehensive about the shift to uni, maybe moving away from home or taking that next big step in your career. And then there’s the campus – a vast, open area with so many lecture rooms you wonder whether the university even utilises them. And that’s before you consider the workload of your classes. Or your rent. Or if you can make the bus which leaves five minutes after your lecture finishes.

Of course, many of these fears that “first years” hold are unfounded. Once at university, you’ll find that the seemingly enormous ground is a warm, welcoming environment. All the facilities you need are on-campus or nearby; there are so many recreational activities to take part in; and there is a strong support network to assist you if you are struggling. You could make lifelong friends with your classmates, or you could love studying so much that you spend the rest of your life at university – we call these people “lecturers”.

Even so, not everybody is keen on life in the Big Smoke, which is why La Trobe also has campuses in regional Victoria. The courses on offer often mirror those found at La Trobe’s Melbourne campuses, only they are taught in towns such as Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton and Wodonga. Some students will spend a year or two at a regional campus before moving onto Bundoora, while some students from Melbourne move into regional Victoria to escape their city lifestyles. And yes, they all offer the same welcoming atmosphere found in Melbourne.

What our First Year Blog aims to do is provide a snapshot of the many ways to be a La Trobe student – no matter your age, background, course or campus. We’ll show you the many opportunities of life and study in Melbourne and the subdued, but no less enjoyable, lifestyle of the country.

Our first-year bloggers have the opportunity to further enhance their writing talents, whilst also sharing their experiences with you and helping you make the most of your first year. We’ll keep you posted about the development of our star team!

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Welcome Latrobians !

A warm welcome back to those students who are entering their second semester, and a big welcome to new La Trobe students!

If you’ve just joined us and you’re not sure how things work, don’t freak out! Settling into uni life is easy, there are loads of handy resources and information on the New Students section of the La Trobe site, so make sure you check it out!

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Here’s a quick breakdown of a few essential tips which you’ll need to know to survive second semester:

  • If you’re new to uni it’s a good idea to get Ready4Uni at La Trobe’s online orientation. It basically helps you make that transition from ordinary boring life to exciting uni life!
  • It’s no secret that life as a student isn’t easy. It involves managing your time, generally living on a budget and making new friends (if you don’t want to be a loner, which, let’s be honest that’s pretty much everybody). Check out how to be not only an exemplary student but also maintain a decent social life at our Life as a student page.
  • Some top tips from experienced students – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, get involved with student clubs (after all isn’t that what uni’s all about?!), go to classes and manage your workload. Get inspired by reading more smart and practical tips from La Trobe’s experienced students here.  We promise you’ll be thanking us later.
  • Finally, the new student checklist is a must for confused or curious students, check it out and get excited!

We hope you have an enjoyable second semester and we look forward to hearing what you get up to! Feel free to share your La Trobe first year experiences with us by emailing newstudents@latrobe.edu.au

Have a happy and safe second semester (:

Start of year FAQs

How do I find out key dates for the year?
Check out the La Trobe 2014 academic calendar, that includes key start of semester dates, exam periods, essential holiday periods and more! http://www.latrobe.edu.au/calendar/academic-calendar

How do I work out my uni timetable?
If you’re still struggling with your university timetable don’t worry, type in your subject codes or department of your course and write up your timetable and voilà. It’s easy as that. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/timetable/timetable.php?y=2014

Who is my subject coordinator?
You can find this out by going to the subject search website, (http://www.latrobe.edu.au/udb_public/publicview$.startup) and typing in the subject code. The subject coordinator and their email address will appear, at the bottom.

Where can I buy/sell my textbooks?
The secondhand bookshop is a great place to get cheap books, check out their opening hours here: https://unione.latrobesu.org.au/Common/ContentWM.aspx?CID=33

What books do I need for each subject?
You can use the subject search website mentioned above to see the books listed for each subject. It’s always a good idea to wait until your first lecture/tutorial to find out what books you will need as some books are listed but they are not required books.

You can also head to the Co-op Bookshop site at http://www.coop.com.au/ to see what books they are in stock, then buy them in store at your campus. Another handy resource is the La Trobe Book Sales group on Facebook. This is where you can see what books students are selling, and hopefully where you can grab some great deals!

How do I organise my parking permit?
Organising your parking depends on your campus, find out where to get your permits, and more information about fees here: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/security/parking

What clubs can I join?
There are heaps of clubs and societies looking for new members, you can sift through the list and contact them here: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/students/get-involved/clubs-societies

How can I meet people?
The Eagle Bar is a fantastic place to meet new people, socialize and have a few drinks and a meal with mates. The bar also has some events coming up which you can check out: http://unione.latrobesu.org.au/Common/news.aspx?NID=254

What can I do if I’m struggling with a subject?
If you are having trouble understanding some of the content in a lecture or can’t seem to get your head around a homework task – don’t leave it till the last minute to worry about! Ask your tutor first, either in person or via email is always good. If you find you need more assistance then try asking your lecturer or subject coordinator. If they don’t help, and you’re still feeling unsure about something, you can get help from workshops, drop-in sessions and from the Peer Learning Advisers who are always happy to help. Take a look at the Student Learning link for more details: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/students/learning.

All the buildings look the same. How do I find my next class?
We’ve all been helplessly lost before, and we all know how much it sucks walking around aimlessly, so to try avoiding this take a quick look at the campus map: https://www.latrobe.edu.au/io/documents/maps/bun/Melbourne-CORE.pdf. If you’re still lost, the Lost On Campus App is also another good one to download.

Don’t hesitate to ask us questions, and drop us a line at newstudents@latrobe.edu.au to share your first year experience.

Have a happy first year guys!

Food, fun and festivities

It’s been a great first few days at orientation, hopefully you’ve enjoyed yourself and had a chance to grab some delicious free food around campus!

If you’ve been wondering about what other students have been thinking/getting up to at this year’s orientation, wonder no more. Here are some thoughts from a few first years about O-Week:

“The information session about my course was really good, and so was the library tour, it was really helpful”.

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One international student from Colombia says, ‘I’m using orientation to become familiar with the campus, meet new people, sign up for the soccer team and hopefully purchase a gym membership’. Later in the day, he says, he’s looking forward to playing a game of football with other international students at the international college.

Others have said, signing up for tutorials has been the most difficult aspect of university so far. Two girls explained that, “Orientation has been really good, but working out the timetable was really confusing”, they said it took them one long hour to figure it out. “We’re really stressed about signing up for tutorials, because we really want our selected times, we’ve organised our whole week around them, and have no backup plan”. Fingers crossed they don’t miss out!

Overall, students were in agreement that the free food was one of the best aspects of orientation. They said, “The free food is pretty good, especially the sausages and noodles”.

Not only was the food great, the entertainment at the Sports Festival held at the Simpson Lawn did not disappoint either. There was loads of information about sports groups, with various groups performing, including Zumba dance session which students joined in, energetic cheer leading routine and an extremely intense boxing demonstration.

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Today was also a great day for some of the clubs and societies to provide information to new students, and create awareness about all the exciting meetings and events coming up. If you’re interested in finding out more, make sure you come along to the Clubs and Societies Fair from 11am-3pm tomorrow.

What did you get up to during O-Week? We’d love to hear from you. Why not leave a comment and/or share your experiences with us by emailing newstudents@latrobe.edu.au.

O-Week has finally arrived!

If you haven’t already planned your next few days at O-Week, check out this short video that can help you decide what to get up to this week.

Orientation isn’t just about lectures and getting loads of information about your course, it’s also about having fun and making that smooth transition to uni life.

O-Week is your chance to make new friends, explore the campus and get involved in some great activities including scavenger hunts, zombie wars, and awesome events like the massive Oh! Fest Music Festival, unfortunately you will suffer from chronic FOMO if you skip this one, so make sure you make it!

The lineup for the festival includes Stonefield, The Smith Street Band, World’s End Press and 8 Bit Love, just to name a few. There will also be a bar inside the venue and a FREE BBQ! So head down to the Simpson Lawn from 5pm tonight, with your student and ID cards, as this is an 18+ event.

Lastly, make the most of your orientation by finding out what clubs and societies you can join, ask questions, explore the campus and if nothing else, enjoy the free food and weather.

To help you get around campus, it’s also a good idea to download the La Trobe university Orientation app for iOS and Android, although they’ll be plenty of people to ask for directions so don’t stress.

Don’t forget to share your orientation experience with us by uploading your photos/ videos to Twitter and Instagram and #latrobeuni.

Have a great first Orientation week guys!

The big O-Week is almost here!

Get your cameras and phones ready because O-Week is just around the corner! Share your orientation experience with us, by posting photos and videos of yourself or your La Trobe campus on Instagram and Twitter, and don’t forget to #latrobeuni!

Besides being a great experience, O-Week is a fantastic opportunity to, not only get invaluable information about your course and meet other students, but it’s also your chance to eat lots of yummy free food, become involved in fun activities, and get the feel of university life.

If you’re not exactly sure what exciting things you can do during O-Week, head to Orientation Planner. Here you can start planning your whole week, and plan how to get the most out of your orientation experience.

It’s also important to remember, that while adjusting to university life can be tough there is support, so make sure you get as much information, and ask as many questions as you can!

Orientation provides some great social and educational activities, such as festival and gaming events, as well as The Connect Volunteer campus tour and Getting ready to study (transition and study skills) session. These activities give you the opportunity to understand where most of your classes will be held, and more importantly, where all the good/cheap cafes and food stalls are situated.

While planning your orientation week, it’s great if you could make time for the library tour. It’s a good way to become familiar with the resources at your disposal, and the place you’ll be spending a good portion of your university life. Another great event to stick around for is the entertaining UniSmart presentation at the Bundoora campus. This performance is a comical take on adjusting to university life, and will give you some useful tips on how to survive it.

Now, if you’re hopeless with directions and find yourself regularly referring to Google Maps to get to where you want to be, then the handy ‘Lost On Campus’ app is a great resource to have. Use the app to become familiar with your campus, and discover where the best coffee shops, food and quiet study areas are located. But please note, the Connect Volunteer campus tour will give you a much better perspective of where things are around campus, so don’t use the Lost On Campus app as a substitute!

Make sure you watch this space, as we’ll keep you posted on all the events and fun stuff that will be going on throughout, what will be, a massive O-Week!

We hope you have an enjoyable and productive O-Week, and remember to take a selfie, a snap with mates and/or your campus, while hash tagging #latrobeuni.

As you embark upon your university journey, we wish you the best of luck. Be sure to revisit this blog, as hopefully it will be a source of information and support during your time at uni.

Learning Your Way Around

Hi newbie friends!

Last week I gave you the run down on what you can expect out of O-Week and what things you should make the most of.  Now orientation is slowly coming upon us, first the international students this week followed by all students next week.  Right after that we launch straight into semester, so there’s no time like the present to start getting acquainted with our wonderful campuses. This particular blog is pretty specific to Melbourne Bundoora (because it’s HUGE!), but any of our regional readers can take a leaf and prepare themselves in similar ways. Continue reading

Textbooks! Subject Guides! Preparing for the Semester and your Classes

Well friends, there’s just a week to go before your first classes! Getting nervous? Excited? Worried? Looking forward to Orientation just so you can begin already?

If you haven’t already, scroll down to go over my Planning O Week and Learning Your Way Around recent blogs to make sure you’re absolutely ready to get everything you need out of Orientation. This week is for you. Not second or third years, but for you as the new students who need some extra guidance to help with your transition into this wondrous place called university. Hundreds of students are volunteering their time alongside staff to get you acquainted with all the things they love about La Trobe. So take the tour, attend all the information sessions, get your parking and myki concessions sorted, then kick back and relax over a sausage sizzle or a beer and aim to make a few friends among the fun. Among the social events happening in O-Week are:

Now aside from all that fun, you are probably starting to wonder about textbooks and when the study stuff will start to kick off. The good news is that if your enrolment is proceeding without hitches, then it should all be happening already, if not, very soon (this week in fact!). You want to look out for subject guides on the LMS, and spend a couple of hours this week or next planning out just what your semester will look like in terms of study load. Continue reading to get the low-down. Continue reading