So it is week one. First week of classes for Semester One 2015. For some of you, this may be your first week of uni classes ever. For others, you may have been to uni a while back and are just restarting after a time away from study. And for all continuing students, you will be starting again after a break over Christmas and summer (unless you did summer subjects).
I started my first lecture this week at 9am on Monday morning. I have been studying at FedUni for five years now, and am just starting my sixth year here. Yep, I’ve been here a while. Even with all that time I have spent here, I still found myself terrified and anxious over the weekend thinking about classes starting on Monday. Will I make friends? Will I be able to keep up with the content? Am I going to be able to finally master time management skills and not leave my assignments to the last minute this year? All these questions were spinning around my head, making it impossible for me to fall asleep easily on Sunday night.
I woke up exhausted on Monday morning. Minimal sleep from stress mixed with anxiety over starting classes again meant that I could barely get myself out of bed for that first-thing-Monday-morning-lecture. But I dragged myself out of my warm, comfy doona castle, got ready and headed to uni, and eventually found the lecture theatre my class was in (because I still get lost sometimes even after five years).
And you know what? I loved it. My lecture was really interesting and full of information I hadn’t known before. I found myself back in the learning state of mind and was ready to do whatever I had to in order to do the best I could in my study. My anxiety was gone and now I am all ready and raring to continue with all that I can cram into my mind.
Basically, the moral of this story (because what’s a story without a moral) is this: everyone is terrified. Most people feel like they don’t belong at some point or another, and that there has been a mistake and they shouldn’t be here. Even those of us who have been here for a while still experience that dread and uncertainty about themselves and their ability to be a university student. That doesn’t mean that your horrible feeling of dread is never going away and you will be stuck with it forever. Hopefully that will not happen. But if it doesn’t, be aware that you are not the only one, and there are people who can help.
The counselors here can help with just about anything, and they’re pretty awesome people to boot. Appointments are free for any FedUni student, and they’re available at Mt Helen, Gippsland, SMB and Horsham. You can find more information at federation.edu.au/counselling
The ASK service runs from 10 to 2, Monday to Thursday, and is there for any question you might have. It’s staffed by experienced students, and if they can’t answer your question, they can point you where you need to go. They specialise in answering questions around academic skills like essay writing, referencing and time management. You can also get in touch with the ASK service in a massive range of ways:
- In the Library at Mt Helen or Gippsland
- By phone on 5327 6422
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- By Facebook message at facebook.com/feduniask
- By filling out an online form here
You can find out more at federation.edu.au/ask
Academic support: federation.edu.au/studentfutures
So just remember that there are services there for you, and we all get stressed and confused! All the best and welcome back.