New Beginnings: My First Week at La Trobe

The start of something new is always pretty daunting, even stressful sometimes. But it’s also filled with excitement and eagerness. It’s a new beginning, the next chapter of your life happening before your eyes! The sensation of butterflies at the pit of your stomach fluttering when you get off that tram or park your car and make your way. Sounding familiar? Like it just happened yesterday? Or maybe two weeks ago when your course began?

Just like the rest of you, this is how I felt on the first day of university.

Walking on to the campus felt as though I was stepping into another world! Uncharted territory waiting to be discovered! While walking around the vast and spacious campus, there were new things always happening around every corner.  People probably thought to themselves during the first week; Who knew there was a moat? And ducks! Wow, the Agora is awesome! Ooh, coffee! Or in my case, Where on Earth am I? I thought my class was this way!

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It seems that getting lost to classes is somewhat a rite-of-passage. At first I thought I was the only one asking every stranger ‘Where is HU2?’ or specifically, ‘Where is HU2 121’? During most times, I was like a headless chicken wandering around the campus trying to find my classes! You might have seen me around, running twenty minutes late to a tutorial completely lost! If there are fellow wanderers and ‘headless chickens’ still worried about getting to class on time (and skeptical where to find buildings), I highly recommend the Bundoora campus map. It has saved me so many times I have lovingly dubbed it my ‘treasure map’ because when I finally find the desired classroom I am looking for, it feels as if I have dug up a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels!


To download and print off the La Trobe Bundoora map, please click the link below:



Despite this, university so far already has been a great and rewarding experience. It’s fantastic to be around fellow peers who share the same passions as me while making new friends. Fellow first-year student Kayla who is studying a Law/Psychology degree agrees. While feeling “slightly overwhelmed at times” during her first week, Kayla found her new Uni life “an exciting and fun experience”. Over time, the conventions of La Trobe life such as lectures, tutorials and the scary ‘A’ word ‘assignments’ will become second nature!

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During the first year if the butterflies return to churn in your stomach and anxiety kicks in: imagine your journey at La Trobe like a staircase. At the moment, we have climbed to the first step. Although the top of the staircase from here may seem too distant and impossible to reach, over time you will achieve your potential and climb higher, one step at a time.


At the end of your course you will reach the top of the staircase.

When you do, the view will be magnificent and worthwhile!


By Hayley Anderson 


How to conquer group assignments

In high school when a teacher announces group work is to be done, it is almost a guarantee that half of the students in the class will turn to their best friends and give them “the look”. The look that says without words “you’re my partner”or “you’re in my group.”

During one of my first tutorials at university, the class was faced with the prospect of a group assignment. I looked around – I knew NO ONE! In the end, I got into a group of three and the rest is history. I think the three of us did a pretty good job of working together BUT it is always difficult to find balance among different personalities and different work ethics. In my opinion, each person usually fits the mould of a certain type of team member.

The control-freak: This is the person who instantly takes control of the work. They know what they want to do and how they want to do it, and will do everything in their power to make it happen.

It is important to remind this person that it is a group assignment and everyone needs/wants to have an equal say in how it is done. They may have great ideas but a bad, controlling attitude – you must encourage the good side to make it shine!

The whatever-er: Whatever.” “I don’t mind.” “It’s up to you.” These three statements are likely to come out of the mouth of the whatever-er (yes, I made that label up). This person does some work but they aren’t willing to share their own opinions or ideas. This places more responsibility on other team members and makes it difficult for decisions to be made.

Give them RESPONSIBILITY. If they feel like everyone values their ideas and decision-making, they will give more to the group. By handing over responsibility to this person, they are forced into a situation where they must think for themselves. 

The lazy one: The person who does nothing, or appears to be doing something but in reality is not. It can be very frustrating to have a person like this in your group!

If it gets to the point where their laziness is affecting the group work and potentially your grades, you need to say something. Sternly tell them that if they do not get their act together, everyone is going to get a lower mark. If you also show or try to subtly remind this person how much work everyone else is putting in, they should feel pressured to also participate.

The overall good team member: If you’re lucky, everyone in your group will be a great team member. The work is shared out evenly; everyone puts in equal effort, listens to one another’s ideas and gets the assignment done!

You don’t need to do anything but be grateful you have a fantastic team!

A big part of university is learning how to work in a group. Do your best to be a team player, whatever the situation or whoever you are working with, and hopefully you will bring out the best attributes of your group members. It’s also a skill that will get you far in the workplace too!


Stay connected with UCROO

UU UCROO stands for ‘University Crew’ and is the University’s private social network. Think Facebook, but with an academic twist. It allows you to connect with other students and staff at La Trobe, through an online community.

This is a user-friendly virtual space where you can ask questions; especially those urgent ones you have just before that final exam or assessment. You can also join or form groups that interest you, create study groups and collaborate on coursework with classmates.

For new students in particular, you can use UCROO to get to know the people in your course and year level. The Mentor Program available through UCROO is an excellent resource, as uni mentors post frequently and can steer you in the right direction, especially if you’re stuck with an essay or just want to have a chat/rant about uni.

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You can also keep up to date with what’s happening around campus through the UCROO university feed. Staff and students provide you with information on the latest events, resources, services and support programs for students.

There is also a feed that specifically relates to your year level, for example ‘the first years feed’ will only post about first year events or relevant information related to first years. This is really useful; so make sure you regularly check this resource.

One of the most popular features on UCROO is the timetable sharing function. This allows you to enter your timetable and match up classes or breaks with other students, making it 10 times easier to organise lunch dates and study sessions with your mates!

Whatever way you choose to use UCROO, have fun with it. It’s a unique university support network, so make the most of it, and stay connected to your university campus.

Connect with UCROO  

Download the app for iPhones (Android app is coming soon).

If you need help logging in or would like more information contact

Don’t forget to ‘Like’ UCROO on Facebook for regular tips and advice!

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!

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.

Who is my subject coordinator?
You can find this out by going to the subject search website, ($.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:

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 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:

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:

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:

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:

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: 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 to share your first year experience.

Have a happy first year guys!

Lectures, tutorials, readings… and you

Hi! How was Orientation? Hope you all had a blast, made some friends and learned a few things about La Lovely La Trobe.

In last week’s blog Textbooks! Subject Guides! Preparing for the Semester and Your Classes, I gave you an overview into how uni works for students and why each part plays a key role in your learning. With that understanding in mind, this week’s blog provides a rundown on how those components actually work. Given you need to learn independently – unlike high school’s teacher-directed style – feeling overwhelmed initially is a sure side effect of the first lectures, tutorials, readings and first assignments.

However, a little understanding about these things goes a long way, and I hope that I can ease you into semester feeling confident about your studies, knowing what’s what, how to access it, and how to make the most of it.  Welcome to uni.

Continue reading

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

LTU website navigation & connections: for faster access

Hi again friends!  I hope by now you have attended an Enrolment Day and sorted out the subjects you are interested in, signed up for this year, plus paid your fees and collected your student ID. How much do you love your new ID photo? Smile!

If not, go back over my first two blogs to familiarise and make sure you attend one of the last few Enrolment Days soon!  If you have, now’s the time for step two, to prepare yourself for O-Week and the start of semester, in short, Ready4Uni!  Below you will find some handy tips about getting used to the La Trobe Uni website and the various links and logins – simple reading to help you prepare ahead of O-Week and classes! Continue reading