Uni life can be complicated at first, so this site will help make it a little easier to navigate your first semester at Monash. The weeks listed here represent the twelve teaching weeks of semester. Just start scrolling to browse topics to see important deadlines to help you manage your studies each week.
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Weeks 1 - 3
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Uni is different
Learning is different
At school, most of your learning was in the classroom. Your teachers set texts for you to read. They identified the most important information and ideas. They checked on your progress, reminded you about assignment deadlines and made sure you knew what was required. For each two hours in class, you'd need to do about an hour's homework.
At uni, learning is more independent. Most of your learning is done outside the classroom. You'll need to read widely from a reading list and search for relevant materials in the library. You'll be expected to think critically about the information and ideas your lecturers introduce you to. You'll have to make sure you understand assessment requirements and organise a study schedule so you get your assignments done on time. For each hour in class, you'll do at least two hours of private study.
At uni, you're responsible for your learning.
Attendance and timetables are different
At school, attendance is compulsory and your timetable accounts for every hour of the day.
At uni, you'll have the freedom to come and go from campus as you please. Attendance might not be recorded for lectures and some other classes, so there's the temptation to skip them. For many courses, you'll only have about 12 hours of classes each week. It's up to you how you arrange your timetable and what you do with free time between classes.
At uni, you're responsible for being organised and using your time well.
Classes are different
At school, classes were usually small and most involved face-to-face classroom-based teaching.
At uni, lectures can be huge (hundreds of students), especially in first year. But you'll also have smaller tutorial, practical or lab-based classes, depending on your course. Some classes might be taught online and some courses might also involve fieldwork or industry placements.
Lectures are usually one hour, twice a week. You'll be expected to take notes and it's often best if you've done a little reading and thought about the topic first.
Tutorials are usually 1 or 2 hours, once a week. They're usually more informal and based on discussion between the tutor and students. They give you the chance to dig into the material covered in lectures, ask questions and debate ideas.
Pracs or lab-based classes can be two hours or longer. Their purpose will vary depending on your course, but they're more hands-on. They give you the chance to experiment, practise and develop skills.
Teacher-student relationships are different
At school, you're treated more like a child than an adult. Teachers knew your name and you had frequent contact and interaction with them. They looked out for you and regularly checked on your progress.
At uni, you'll be treated like an adult. Lecturers may teach hundreds of students, so may never know your name - particularly in first year. You'll interact more with your tutors than your lecturers, since tutorials are smaller and less formal than lectures. If you need help, you'll have to ask for it.
Although your teachers might not seem as available as they were at school, they are happy to help you. You can email them using your Monash student email address. And most teachers will have consultation hours when you can see them.
Environment is different
School grounds are usually much smaller than university campuses and have fewer students and facilities.
At uni, you'll probably need a campus map to find your way around. As well as great teaching and research facilities, our campuses have food and retail outlets and sport and leisure facilities. Some have galleries and concert venues. Our on-campus student residences provide a real community feel. Student associations and clubs run regular events, making our campuses vibrant and fun.
We have five campuses in Australia and it's not uncommon for our students to attend classes or do exams on different campuses.
Assessment is different
At school, assignments were shorter and more frequent. You were expected to show your understanding of the core knowledge taught in the subject. Teachers might have asked you for drafts. And you got a lot of feedback from them. Exams are usually closed-book and marked externally.
At uni, assessment tasks vary. They may include essays, case studies, reports, group projects or presentations. Written assignments are usually much longer, and get longer in later years of study. You're expected to analyse and critically engage with your subject. You need to acknowledge the sources of your ideas and learn how to do referencing. Teachers will rarely ask for drafts. Feedback can be infrequent. Written feedback on assignments may not be very detailed, and you may have to ask for more. Exams can sometimes be open-book or even take-home, and are marked internally.
Tips for success at uni
We know you want to do well at uni so here are some tips to get you started
- Make the most of orientation. Join clubs. Make new friends. Enjoy the free food. But also find out about all the services you can access and facilities on campus.
- And don't forget to check out the library - librarians and learning skills advisers can work with you on a broad range of study skills.
- Take responsibility for your own learning. Check the unit guide for each of your units so you're prepared before semester starts.
- Plan on working hard, but allow yourself time for fun and relaxation. To do this, you'll need to develop a study timetable to help manage your time.
- Start by adding your class times and other fixed commitments, like sports or part-time work
- Add assignments due dates (from your unit guides)
- Schedule time for private study (roughly two hours for each hour of class time), and look ahead so you can schedule time for assignments
- Allow time for relaxation and extra-curricular activities
- If you're studying full-time, limit the amount of part-time work you do. A full-time study load at uni is at least 36 hours' commitment each week.
- Don't be afraid to seek help if you need it. Teaching and support staff want you to succeed, and they're willing to help in any way they can.