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6 tips for new students to survive university in 2021


By Georgia Parsonson   

As the world braces for another year impacted by the COVID-19, Australian students are set to embark on a new university period.

For many, it’s routine. For others – including the school-leavers of 2020 – it’s a brave new world.

Whether or not students are in or out of lockdown, it’s not a standard year, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty to overcome.

Below are several quick and easy strategies to excel in the university’s tumultuous circumstances during COVID-19, courtesy of South Australia University’s Senior Lecturer of Digital and Information Literacy, Jennifer Stokes.

Be adaptable. Technologically, that is.

In a year where lockdowns may be declared with less than a day’s notice, be prepared. Make sure you have access to a computer. Phones and tablets are all well and good, but it’s not great to write out an essay with a touch screen.

Because technology isn’t always reliable, however, familiarise yourself with your university’s IT support. There’s usually a link on your school’s website. Not only do they provide a range of student-helpful software, but they can probably solve most of your tech-related problems, too.

The basics are essential. Make sure you have Office, Email, and Zoom access. Also, Hotspot. Because when the Wifi inevitably drops out in the middle of a Zoom tutorial, you’ll need it. Stay calm, and connect to your phone.

Lastly, online learning communities. Does your university and/or degree have a social media page? Can you form a group chat with your classmates? Is there a relevant server on Discord? Find out, and make use of them.

Make connections online and on campus.

Know the name of all the key academic and administrative staff relevant to you. Make at least one friend, and have a way to contact them, because the support they’ll provide is immeasurable.


Learn your course Coordinator and/or Tutor’s preferred method of communication, interact and engage with them (and your peers) while you have the opportunity, and make a good impression. The chance to build up your network (in person, at least) may not last.

Know your support services (and where to find them).

Most universities offer a vast range of them – from disability support, academic skills, and career counselling – and you’ll never know when they might come in useful.

Look after yourself.

University is enough of a transition without a global pandemic to complicate things. Minimise stress, and focus on what you can control.

Sleep well, eat well, exercise. Have fun. Relax. Manage your time wisely.

While the year ahead remains uncertain, proper preparation will make surprises far less stressful. With such strategies in place, you can proceed through a potentially tumultuous year, confident that your goals remain achievable, regardless of what is thrown your way.

This study was originally published on The Conversation.

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