Progress or set-back, growth or risk. However, you define it, attending University as a non-school leaver is a decisive process.
Maybe you’re already settled in a different career. Maybe high school was a difficult educational experience for you. Maybe financial issues or your location held you back. There are so many reasons why we don’t take that leap to enroll into a university course after finishing school.
For me, I was simply just indecisive. At the ripe age of 18, I really had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the time, it seemed like such a daunting and final decision, one which I was simply just not ready to make.
Flash forward a decade and here I am, consciously enrolled in my undergraduate program wondering why I hadn’t taken that chance on myself years ago. Nonetheless, I’m not regretful of my choice as I can truly say that my life experiences during my twenties led me here. Without them, I would have been a terrible student.
So, if you’re like me and feeling a bit out of place as a non-school leaver, here are my top five tips for navigating university life to help you stay engaged during your studies.
Join A Uni Club: There are so many clubs and activities here at UoN to get involved in! From hobbies, sports, education, culture and religion, there are loads of clubs to choose from. Take a chance and sign-up to meet new people, have like-minded conversations and even learn something new! Apart from the cliché reasons, it’s simply nice to run into someone you know on campus, who you might meet through joining a club!
Sign Up to a Social Sport: If you’re still feeling unsure with signing up to a club, then definitely check out the social sports offered at The Forum. You can choose between netball, touch football, basketball, volleyball and futsal. The people in your team are a combination of students, staff and the general public, so you never know who you might meet!
To sign up to a social sport, visit The Forum’s website – https://www.theforum.org.au/social-sport
Don’t Let Age Differences Hold You Back As a non-school leaver, you may have thought that you can’t relate to your younger peers. Try not to let this train of thought prevent you from establishing connections with them. Remember, all your classmates are studying the same subjects as you, so they are more than likely going to be industry connections in the future. As older students, we have so much to gain by establishing friendships with younger students, and vice-versa. We can provide so much wisdom and guidance to our younger peers, which they really do appreciate! For us, younger students have so much enthusiasm and are so empowered to make change in the world, which is refreshing and inspiring. Gen-Zs are also incredible with navigating technology, something that presents challenges to us Millennials and Gen X’ers.
Take the time to say hello in class and don’t let age define your friendships.
Volunteer at Uni Events Volunteering at campus events such as Orientation, Graduation, Stress Less, Autonomy Day, DJ Comp and Band Comp is a fun way to get involved with campus events. These events are designed specifically for student engagement and encourage us to meet each other. Even if you’re an online student, volunteering can be a great way to break the ice of coming onto campus for the first time. It’s a great chance to meet new people, have some fun and gain new experiences!
To register as a volunteer, head to the UniCrew page here – https://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/uni-life/activities-and-experiences/volunteering
Chat to your Teachers Our teachers can provide us with so much knowledge and advice along our study journey. Whether it be general tips or a great book recommendation, they harbor a wealth of information, and it just takes a conversation to open their doors. Make the effort to get to know them, as from their perspective, it can be difficult to form unique connections with so many different students. Reach out to them directly, whether it be in class or via email. They will appreciate your efforts and you may discover some incredibly helpful insights to help you with your studies!