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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Orientation: Where is the Library?

-By Vanessa

Looking out from the fourth floor 24 hour computer lab window with ear phones in to help me focus (Beyoncé-Who rule the world - girls) I notice orientation is on again for first years.

Oh did you hear that?  A tone of, "yes been there done that!"

There are endless lines of students following trustingly.  I remember following and thinking; Oh Bleep how am I going to remember how to find the car again?  As I was lacking in Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs I tried remembering particular points to no avail.  I felt like I was in a game of follow the leader but the only problem was at some point the leader would say bye and abandon and hide, laughing from behind the bushes.

Embarrassingly I did get lost! Even with the campus map. I kept looking for the letters on doorways and then found they were on the sides of the buildings.  I did eventually find my bottle green Toyota corolla (Myrtle the turtle - Yes, I did name my first car, doesn't everyone!)

Later on I joined yet another line to have my photo taken for my student card.  As they handed it to me I noticed I had a number and it was official, I had my license to learn.
Reality kicked in...

Year 12 was over and now university had begun.

I heard the words lecture, tutorials, DSO, Unit guide, Faculty and something about a star. What did they say- we have to register to be a star? Apparently to my disappointment it was the online timetabling system to register for classes, not a Deakin’s' Got Talent Search.

I had information overload by the end of the week, I thought I listened and absorbed everything.

But apparently I had not.

I didn't know the difference between a lecture and a tutorial.  I turned up with all my books to the lecture and tried in vain to write every word down, only to be told at the end of the lecture that the slides would be posted on DSO that evening.  Then I turned up to the tutorial without any books expecting to sit and listen like in the lecture with 400 others.  No, a big mistake, the tutorial was a class of about 20 and I was the only one without my books avoiding the tutor's glance as they asked for a response.  
I was however impressed with myself that I managed the online timetable system (STAR) with ease.  I even managed to fit all my classes into two days!  Woo hoo three days free a week!
Soon my joy turned to disappointment as my timetable was not workable.  Did I mention there is no recess or lunch bell at all?  I needed to arrange my classes to allow time for breaks.  I also realised I booked in for a tutorial on opposite sides of campus.  Let’s just say for the physically challenged with the ten minutes between classes I learnt my lesson.  The next trimester I learnt to balance my days to allow for breaks, study and yes tracking across campus.

First year was a challenge.  I didn't know a single person on day one.  I can't remember how many times I said, “Hi!"  and "What are you studying?” as opposed to prison talk of "What are you in for?". Having friends on-campus helped. 

I understand now it took time to adjust, learn new skills, make friends and most of all settle in. 
I am so temped to say something to some first years trying to decipher a campus map.  I stop myself, instead I say excuse me as I pass through to the vending machine to swipe my Deakin card and collect my Lychee Tea.

"I found it; we are here, so the library is building V which is that way!”


  1. I remember the bewilderment of being lost! Luckily that passes  Great to read your post.

    1. So I am not alone in getting lost. Thankfully I was not lost for too long and no one really knew but me at the time. I really should have just asked someone for directions. Other students are always willing to direct you if you ask. Thanks for reading the post.

  2. Okay, if I wasn't nervous before, I'm nervous now. Thanks for the post, at least I now know what to expect.

    1. It would be easy for me to say don't be nervous but the reality is I was nervous when I started too.
      Remember there is lots of help available and if you do get lost it is o.k to ask someone for directions, people are always willing to help.
      Thanks for reading my post!

  3. You don't need to wait to O-week to explore your campus. If you know others starting out at the same campus why not meet up and check out the library,coffee shops, food outlets, book shop, gym and more.
    Also its a great time to bring the parents to campus, to see where you will studying, that is if you don't want to have them try come along with you to your first lecture, yes this did happen to me.

  4. Reading your post brought back memories of myself getting lost during my first year too. I lost count of the number of times I rocked into the wrong tutorial class!! Literally felt like digging a hole in the ground and just disappear! Oh the adventures of first years! Haha! Which is why I think student mentors are really precious gems in helping students settle into Deakin. Great way to be meeting some of the other students too. Great post, Vanessa! =)

    1. I actually sat through a whole lecture in 1st year too embarressed to leave.

  5. Embarrassingly enough, going into 2nd year I *still* get lost. Today I found myself puzzling over where unfamiliarlecture theatres are for my lectures this year...hmmm.