Settling In


Orientation is over and it’s time to start studying. Luckily, we have these tips to help you excel in your degree.

1. Decorate your room

It is important that your room feels like home, so put up some posters, pictures of friends or family or even some fairy lights

Avoid using sticky tape and be gentle when removing blutac – damaging the paint may attract maintenance charges

2. Get into good study habits now

Getting good marks requires sustained effort over the entire semester. If you have good habits from week one, when assignments and exams arrive you will be well placed to excel.

Monash recommends two hours of study per hour of class time; however, this varies from faculty to faculty. The first lecture of each course should detail the study load and assignment timing – if in doubt, contact the course coordinator.

It might seem silly, or even tiring, to spend so much time studying but it will be worthwhile and you will thank yourself for the effort later in the semester.

3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Looking after yourself is key to maintaining the energy required to get the most out of your studies.

Healthy Eating

Eating healthy can be hard, particularly if you have never cooked before. Thankfully, the Victorian Government has developed this useful resource with cooking tips, recipes and healthy eating guides. Have a read and put some time into developing a meal plan as this will make healthy eating, shopping and budgeting much easier!

Another great way to save money and make cooking fun is to form a cooking group. This will help you maintain a regular dinner time and turn meal preparation into a social activity rather than a chore!

Sleep and Exercise

Sleep and exercise are two things that are often neglected by university students but are vital to good long-term health and high study achievements.

It differs from person to person, but you should aim for around 7.5 hours sleep every night. You can do this by setting a somewhat strict bedtime and wake up time. After a few weeks of maintaining this routine you will find that you will naturally feel tired at bed time and will wake up without an alarm.

Start your day with a 20-minute walk. The early sun and exercise will set a positive tone for the day and help you meet the recommended 20 minutes of exercise every day.

For a more tailored exercise plan, Monash Sport has partnered with MRS to offer reduced cost memberships. These cross-campus memberships get you:

  • Access to all Group Fitness Classes
  • Access to the Doug Ellis Swimming Pool at Clayton
  • Access to the Fitness Centres
  • Exercise programs developed by Monash Sport Health and Fitness Instructors.

Cleaning and keeping tidy

While it may be the last thing on your list, keeping your room clean and tidy is a weekly task. Not to sound like a parent, but a tidy living environment has been linked to lower stress and greater life satisfaction.

Some general tips:

  • Vacuum once a week (or at least once a fortnight)
  • Wipe down surfaces after cooking and wash your dishes either before or directly after eating
  • Don't use bleach to clean your clothes - it is harsh on the fabrics and may damage other people's clothes if the machine is not rinsed after
  • Keep your room tidy - have a spot for everything and spend a few minutes every night tidying up
  • Get on top of cleaning early - it is much easier to maintain a habit than reign in a dirty room

Living in a studio apartment? The Operations team have prepared some tip documents on how to clean all parts of your room.

Mental Health

Maintaining good mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health. Practices like mindfulness and meditation can improve your resilience and improve your overall grades.

We know that at least 1 in 4 people aged between 15 and 24 years old will suffer from a mental illness, which is why we provide you with many supports:

  • Your Residential Support Team is your first point of contact – they can show you where to get help and provide initial support
  • The Monash Counselling Service provides free counselling for all Monash students and staff

If something doesn’t feel right, maybe you have trouble getting out of bed, feel stressed all the time or just feel different, reach out. We can connect you with help and provide support


Homesickness

Homesickness is really common in the first few weeks of uni but can also occur later, maybe even in your final year. You might experience homesickness, or you might not. But just in case you do, here are some tips to prevent and/or overcome homesickness:

Look after yourself:

  • Follow a routine and prioritise your mental and physical health alongside your studies and social life
  • Get involved in the MRS community through attending events and getting to know your neighbours.
  • Personalise your room with posters, photos or other decorations

Stay in contact with friends and family back home, but not too frequently, as this can prevent you from making new friends in Australia

Join University Clubs - they’re a great way to connect with people with similar interests

Reach out to your Residential Support Team. They have been through a similar experience when they moved to Monash and they can provide you with advice and support

Give yourself some time. If you have a healthy social network, are succeeding in your studies and are broadly happy then it’s just a matter of time until the homesickness symptoms pass. If you aren’t happy for a prolonged period, then that is a sign that you should reach out to your Residential Support Team.

4. Make self-care a priority

Developing a self-care plan can help you maintain peak performance during the stressful periods of the year.

Developing a healthy support network is integral to your long-term health.

Make friends with people in your classes. This will make attending class less of a burden and give you people to study and discuss the course with.

Connect with your neighbours. You don’t need to be friends, but a friendly face in the hallway can make a world of difference on a tough day.

Make friends with people in your community. With all the facilities on offer, it is really easy to spend quality time with others.

Making friends isn’t a skill that everyone is confident with though. If you need some tips or some help meeting people, just ask your Residential Support Team. They’ve been where you are and can help.

If something is wrong, you can contact:

  • Residential Support Team Officers
  • Monash Health Service
    • Doctors
    • Counsellors
      • Including:
        • Specialist counsellors from the South East Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA)
        • Drug and Alcohol Counselling
    • Dentist
    • Optometrist
    • Nutritionists
  • Safer Community Unit

5. Be mindful of yourself and others

Respect

Mutual Respect is a cornerstone of MRS. We expect you to be mindful of others with your behaviour just as we expect others to be mindful of you.

The rules and policies of MRS have been developed to ensure this respectful environment can be maintained. You can contribute to MRS through being mindful of others, cleaning up after using common spaces and by being friendly and approachable.

Noise

MRS is a diverse community and not everyone follows the typical Undergraduate study calendar so please be mindful of noise at all times as your Monash College or Postgraduate neighbours may still be studying even while you’re on holiday.

It’s important that you’re mindful of your behaviour and how it can impact other residents. Be mindful of your noise levels, particularly after 10pm and in the early hours of the morning as your fellow residents may be trying to sleep or study. A general rule to follow is that if you can be heard through your door, your noise is too loud.

Also, noise travels quite far through open windows and can disturb people on the floors above. So if you are listening to music or have some friends around, remember to close the window so you do not disturb your fellow residents.

If you’re worried about someone – speak to your RSTO

MRS prides itself on its response to issues in the community – but we can only provide support if we are notified.

Some complaints require you to follow a reporting process. This is really important as it keeps MRS accountable for every action and ensures that an appropriate, enforceable and equitable outcome is reached.

Throughout these processes your RSTO are here to provide you with support.

Other departments that can provide assistance and support

Monash Security

Your safety and security is of paramount importance to us. Our campuses are fitted out with the latest CCTV, electronic building access, and alarm technology. Our security teams work around the clock to protect our staff, students and visitors. Chances are, you’ll feel so safe you won’t even notice them in the first place.

Safer Community Unit

We provide advice and support as well as key information to help you in difficult or risky situations.

If someone has been engaged in any form of misconduct or other concerning behaviour, we'll endeavour to:

  • carry-out investigations
  • manage and aim to reduce any risks involved

We work in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team and in accordance with University policy and procedures. If you're feeling threatened or unsafe, please contact us.

The Safer Community Unit is focused on identifying and reducing risks to the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider community at Monash.