If you're worrying about fitting in at uni, take heart: half of the students around you are feeling the same way.* If you haven't gone to uni directly from Year 12, it's especially natural to imagine classrooms full of bright young things and an unfamiliar learning environment.
These concerns are understandable, says Associate Professor Alexander Mussap, of Deakin's School of Psychology. 'If you haven't been in an educational environment for some time, you may worry that you’ll be out of place.' But the reality is quite different.
When looking out into a lecture theatre, we see faces of all ages and backgrounds looking back at us. There is no 'proto-typical university student' any longer.
Senior Lecturer in Deakin's School of Psychology
There's a place for everyone
Before heading to uni, you might be asking yourself questions like: Am I cool enough? Am I too old? Am I smart enough? Will I fit in? Actually, Deakin students don’t fit one common profile. About half of undergraduate students don’t come directly from Year 12. They may have spent some time travelling or working before uni, or studied elsewhere. Students come from around Australia and around the world, and they vary in age and life experience.
We actively create opportunities for students of all experience levels and demographic groups to study at Deakin. Our extensive social groups, societies, clubs and events mean every student has a friendly and interesting place to be.
I met heaps of students, some of whom I still keep in contact with today. Other first year students were in the same boat and wanted to make the most out of their experience.
bachelor of commerce student, Deakin University
Get involved... in your own way
The best way to find your place at Deakin is to get involved. You’ll meet new people, get across our many events, and embrace what it means to be a Deakin student. You might:
- Get involved in one of our many student groups. DUSA (Deakin University Student Association) is run by students, for students, and is committed to a fun and rewarding experience for all. Sign up to a club or society, take a trip, join a sports team, or make a difference through student advocacy.
- Take a course or seminar. DUSA’s events calendar is packed with learning activities that will expand your skills while introducing you to new people.
- Check out O Week. Not only is it full of information, entertainment and free stuff, it’s also a place to learn more about what’s happening at Deakin and how you can get involved.
- Keep an eye out for opportunities to extend your experience in ways that interest you. Overseas study trips, special-interest courses and personal development are all on the cards when you enrol at Deakin.
- Head off on a student camp with other first years. Faculty- or school-specific camps offer a fun trip with like-minded people, and joining in means you’ll probably know someone when classes start.
- Work at Deakin. We’re a vibrant and inclusive place to work, nurturing our staff’s personal development and wellbeing.
There's support available
There is so much support available to help students transition to university life and make the most of this wonderful life-changing experience. Here are some examples of support you can access at Deakin:
- Access Deakin’s dedicated study support team to help you get the most out of your learning experience.
- Choose a study method that suits your lifestyle and other commitments. For example, if you’re having difficulties getting to your campus, see if other relevant units are offered online. Or, speak to your faculty support staff about the best credit load for you.
- Apply for the convenience of on-campus child care, so you can get to every class or lecture on time.
- If you need an extension, ask your tutor or unit chair ahead of your due date. If an unexpected setback crops up, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration.
- If you need support for your health or a disability, you can work with Deakin’s Disability Resource Centre to create a Learning Access Plan, to minimise the impact on your study.
- For support with short-term psychological challenges, book a free, confidential appointment with our highly skilled psychologists and social workers.