University study involves an educational transformation that can positively change a student’s future prospects and quality of life. However, in order to undergo any transformation, you must experience a period of adjustment and transition. Commencing university is one of those major transition periods in your life that can be exciting as well as challenging, so it is normal to experience some emotional ups and downs in your first study period.
How will this module help me?
- Welcome you to James Cook University
- Understand common challenges that university students face
- Gain tips and advice about how to succeed
How long does this module take?
- 30 minutes
“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter when it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.”
Welcome to JCU
In Week 1, you will get a better sense of your study commitments for the term after your introductory lectures. Some students find this week a bit overwhelming as your lecturers will summarise the next 13 weeks of teaching in one hour, which can feel like a lot of information. Treat it like a series of previews at the movies and just sit back and listen to the snapshot information. Each week throughout semester, you will get the full-length ‘feature’ presentation on a lecture topic where things will make more sense.
You might also feel that first dip in the rollercoaster this week as you start to experience a ‘reality realignment’ i.e. what you thought uni was going to be and what is actually expected. This is normal and you just need to put a plan in place to manage your time – students who stick to their plan and take it ‘one day and one task at a time’ experience less stress and are able to enjoy their study.
JCU recommends that students allocate a minimum of 10-12 hours/week/subject to study commitments. Around 25% of your time will be spent attending classes/webinars and the other 75% will involve independent study. This self-directed study will include academic reading, reviewing notes, completing tutorial exercises, group study, as well as assignment and exam preparation. For a full-time student studying three or four subjects, it is a significant time commitment (36-48 hours/week). It is helpful to create weekly and semester planners (see tips below) to stay on track and share these with your nearest and dearest (parents, partners, children), so there is a shared understanding of your study commitments.
Pre-Census Date Blues
The first month of university is a steep learning curve and there will be a lot to do, see, learn and remember, so you may find yourself experiencing periods of fatigue due to mental overstimulation. It is important to remember that university study is a marathon and not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself and look after your mental and physical wellbeing, which includes taking regular study breaks to let your brain process new information and revive. You may also be juggling a lot of other competing commitments (paid work, carer duties, volunteerism, sport, family/friends), so be kind to yourself if you have a few hiccups as you settle into university life. It is important to remember that you only have a finite amount of time each week, so some things may have to give – this will be discussed in the Wellbeing and Life Balance module.
Around Week 4, your first assignments will be due and you may feel a further dip down and a lack of confidence about your abilities – you may even question your decision to study at university. These insecurities and negative feelings are common around assessment deadlines, so talk to your classmates and check in to see how they are coping for shared support. Remember, there are lots of free specialised support services at JCU to help you succeed.
You can also do a quick online Student Success Checklist for first-year students to see if you have missed any critical transition information about recommended resources, services, programs and actions.
Take the Quiz
Test your knowledge of the Transition to Uni by taking the quiz.