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Advice for first year students from those in the know

Do you have something you wish you could tell your former self? Perhaps to try something new or to have done something differently?

For the start of semester, we’ve done the next best thing: talked to ECU current students and graduates to find out what they’d tell their first year selves. Read on to learn from those who have been there and done that.

Change is good

Getting used to campus life can be a big jump, especially if you’ve just made the move from high school. Make sure to network as much as possible so you have people who can support you throughout your studies.

“I would start off with telling my younger self that it is very different to high school. I won't be on campus seven hours every day. Some days I may be on campus for 10, and some for two and some days I'm not on campus at all.

“I think it would be handy to know that university is, in my experience so far, going to be a very supportive place for my education and career.”

Bachelor of Education (Secondary)

Your lecturers are there to help you achieve your goals says Freya.
Your lecturers are there to help you achieve your goals.

Lecturers and tutors are there to help

Our lecturers are awesome people who are there to help you achieve the very best you can, so use their support! ECU has been rated five star teaching quality for the last eight years and it’s easy to see why.

“They get that a lot of the subjects we are studying are completely alien to us up until now. So if you are struggling to get your head around something don't be afraid to ask them to explain it in a different way or give further examples etc.”

Bachelor of Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations

Don’t slack off!

Staying on top of assessments can be tricky, particularly if several are due in the same week.Make sure you refer to your unit outlines and find a system that best works for you to keep on top of those deadlines.

Learning advisors are available across all campuses to assist you. Whether you need a hand writing your assessments or some assistance with navigating blackboard they’re here to help.

“Whatever you do, don't fall into the procrastination bubble. It creeps up on you very slowly, and then BAM! You now suddenly have four assignments due next week!

“The best thing to do is to keep organised and write down some lists so you don't forget anything.”

Bachelor of Music (Composition and Music Technology)

ECU Danceathon dance floor at the Joondalup Campus.
Make the most of your time on the ECU campus.

Make the most of your time

Three or four years might seem like a long time but trust me when I say it flies by before you can say “where’s building 21?”. So why not join a club? Attend a study session and, most importantly, enjoy yourself.

“I guess I'd tell myself to make the most of my time because it goes by really quickly, to get involved with anything and everything and to start assessments early because it's literally so much nicer and calmer to not be rushing at the last minute.”

Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations)

Do some soul searching

It never hurts to know who you are or what you want to do in the future. It’s also fine to have absolutely no clue. After all, that’s why most of us start an undergraduate degree in the first place.

Counselling services can provide you with emotional support, help you understand the problems you have and assist you to find new solutions and new ways of coping.

“I wish I could have told my younger self to take a step back and really think about who you are, what you enjoy, and the things that make you, you.

“Choosing your degree or major is tough.But it’s just that: your choice. So why bother choosing something that’s not truly you?

“I made this mistake, but it made me realise what I was doing was completely wrong for me. Sometimes, making a mistake can open your eyes up and help you understand who you are.”

Bachelor of Business (Marketing)

Your hunt for a job at the end of your studies starts well before the end of your degree says Ngaire.
Your hunt for a job at the end of your studies starts well before the end of your degree.

The job hunt starts now

Opportunities for jobs and internships are constantly popping up and its best to jump on them even if you are in your first year. Having volunteering or work experience on your CV is valuable and it's something employers look for.

Register for careerhub, ECU’s job, internship and volunteering portal or jump on and start applying!

“Don't wait till your last year before panicking about getting a job. Do an internship. If your course doesn't have one, organise your own.

“Don't be afraid to change courses if you're not happy or your course isn't a fun as you thought it was.”

Bachelor of Arts (Children’s Literature)

Written by Mitchell Robert as part of ECU's Work Integrated Learning unit.


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