How to survive uni

University is a challenge in itself, where it pushes you to embrace procrastination, poverty, aggravation, and mentally draining stress. Well fear not, this post is going to outline the steps on how to survive uni. If you’re looking for tips on how to get good grades, then this is definitely not the right post for you. So go on, shoo. Go get a HD you over-achiever.

As a near-to-be graduate student myself and changing through 3 degrees, I understand the struggles of university, especially if university isn’t for you, and that you’ve made the wrong choice of attending tertiary education.

So hear me out, if you want to survive uni until the end, you may or may not want to follow these tips. Some may not be ethical/desirable practices, but the pressure and struggles of university is already unethical, so what’s the harm?

1. Choose the easiest electives.

You’re probably thinking ‘that’s a no brainer’ – but no, listen.

There are many restrictions to this tip, as some courses may not allow any electives, or you’re limited to only a few due to prerequisites and whatnot. However, when I say choose the easiest electives, I don’t mean just picking anything. Try pick one that slightly interests you or at least sounds interesting and that you can continue throughout the course (ie. year 1, year 2 etc). A boring class might even deter you more from university! (Hint: If you hate exams, obviously aim for those without any – check those unit outlines!). But obviously, choose the ones with the least assessments.

I’ve actually mentioned this to one of my lecturers and she replied “That’s a waste of time and is unfulfilling. It’s better to do something beneficial”. Which is true – i’m not going to lie, uni is all about gaining skill & knowledge. But like I said, if you’re already struggling with uni and you HATE it, the last thing you want to do is to put pressure on you by having a unit with heaps of assessments – you want to finish, not dig deeper.

2. Never buy textbooks

Throughout my 4 and a half year career as a student, i’ve purchased a total of 4 textbooks. Yes, f.o.u.r. and i’ve sold two of them. How and Why? There a few reasons:

  1. This links to tip 1. The easy classes either don’t have textbooks, or you don’t need textbooks to pass. I suggest skipping them. Yes, you can achieve HD and D without them. I am proof.
  2. I borrow them from the library – Strangely, a lot of students don’t do this; well not from my university anyway. My library always carries 1 – 2 copies, and they’re almost always available.

This is going to get a little illegal – so if you’re a goodie-two-shoes, skip this.

3. This is the illegal part, seek PDF copies. I either find them myself (don’t ask me how), or I ask my friends. If you’re studying I.T (like me), a lot of class mates or friends will have PDF copies even if you can’t find it yourself. Trust me – I was so close to buying a $160 textbook, when a random student who was eavesdropping into my conversation offered his thumb drive with two textbooks that I needed. He saved me over $200. Legend I tell ya!

3. Referencing, schmeferencing

Everyone knows how hard referencing is. It is such a time consuming task that sometimes takes longer than the assessment itself, especially when the criteria for referencing is this:

minimum 30 references must include:
10 peer reviewed
10 journal articles
5 scholarly books
2 human hearts
3 dragon scales

Like, i’m sorry? I didn’t know I had to leave my job to scourer the world to find dragon scales in order to reference one sentence to complete this 1% paper with a minimum word limit of 5000 with 5 other assessments from 4 other units requiring unicorn horns and elephant piss.

So how do you get around it?

Simple, you trick the system. You use fake dragon scales and elephant piss. ‘Whattt? What do you mean??’

For example: If you have found 8 out of 10 peer reviewed papers, and you need two more and you’ve finished your essay, find a random fact in your essay, such as “birds are masters of flying” and find a paper that has some correlation to birds and flying. You can easily do this by searching through the university database and then reference it. There you go, you have 9!

If you’re thinking, “that’s stupid, that doesn’t work”. But it does! If you’re in a class of 20-50 students, the marker(s) are not going to sit and go through every reference material to confirm that the information is correct. It will take them hours and hours – not to mention they’ll have other jobs and papers to mark. Its a flawless system that hasn’t failed me.

However, if you’re doing an important degree like a doctorate or law, you should probably use real references because you’re important to society.

4. Attend class

This might sound strange – you hate uni and you don’t want to go, but you’re encouraging me to go to class? Well, kinda. ‘Attend’ class is very different to ‘paying attention’ in class.

It is best to attend your class(es) and make an impression that you’re a studious student. Of course, this is dependent on lecturers and size of classes, because if its a massive one then there’s no point. By making a studious impression, lecturers become lenient, and understand that you’re ‘trying’ even if you’re not. The benefit of this, is that, because you appear to be studious and putting in the effort in class, lecturers may mark your assignments with a little bit of a blind eye, especially if you did really bad. How? well this gives them the benefit of the doubt, such as “This is completely wrong, but they tried in class. Maybe they’re just slow learners. 5/10”.

Furthermore, if you want to go a step further, you can let your lecturer know your personality (real or not). I told my lecturers that i’m more of a practical learner – a hands on, from experience kind of learner (which is true), so learning through textbooks and slides are not for me. I wouldn’t say for sure if this benefited me, but my lecturer kindly accepted this, and said she was the same. Sooo, who knows? Maybe I passed that unit because she know me and my beautiful face?

5. Make friends + Share work

No, I don’t mean plagiarism, and no, I don’t mean make the bestest of friends and sit on campus grass (But do make friends though, it’ll make uni more bearable). Although, I have been accused of plagiarism before and that was terrible. Maybe i’ll post about it another day.

What this tip entails is to make a group of nice friends, preferably none of the *nerdy voice* “I study 24/7 and only get HDs and maybe a D if i’m feeling a little dangerous” because they’ll probably be stuck ups and won’t share anything with you. With this nice group of friends, help each other out when you’re stuck. Share ideas, information, resources, and all that jazz. This can essentially lighten your workload, and actually be really helpful when you’re stuck with assignments. Not to mention, the friends you make may have connections to past students who can provide you with their old assignment, and therefore can grasps what you’re expected or have an idea on what to do.

Most importantly however, is to always give what you get. Don’t be the member of the group that never share and leeches off everyone. People will begin to realise you’re useless to them and will begin to restrict the information given to you. I’ve actually encountered this problem and we pretty much cut him off. None of us would share information with him because once he’d get what he wanted, he would disappear until the next assessment starts. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be James.

6. Be organised.

The final, and the oddly numbered 6th tip, is to be organised. But like many of the tips, I don’t mean to be completely organised, but enough for you to understand how your year is going to end up.

When the semester begins, write down all the due dates for all tasks, including the weekly ones. Write down the days and times you have class too. This can done in any form that suits you, I mean c’mon, this isn’t a ‘get organised with me’ blog. By doing this, it allows you to see at a glance when you’re free, and how long you’re free for.

For example, between week 4 and week 6 you will have 2 small cases due, which you can potentially do beforehand. Remember, we’re not aiming for HD here, so even if you are missing important elements, a P is satisfactory, but C would be great. Then this will give you a two whole weeks of assessment free time! Go out and get fked, go on a holiday, go do whatever – lose that stress and depression!

And that’s it! That sums up how to survive uni! That was a way longer post than I anticipated, so as a reward for getting down to this last paragraph, i’ll pray for you in hopes of you surviving uni, and that you achieve your goals and ambitions.


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