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Preparing for your first days at uni

Check out some advice from our students on how to prepare for your first day and what to expect.

If you find yourself feeling a little nervous on your first day at Lincoln, don’t worry. Many students have the same experience. It’s a whole new learning and living environment, and you may be away from home, family and friends. But in the years to come, you’ll remember that first day, your very first lecture and other aspects of your experience fondly. 

Some first day tips from your fellow students 

  • Bring photos of family, friends and pets to help when you feel homesick. 
  • If you’re going to live on-campus, make sure you have some photo ID. 
  • Go to Orientation, as it's a great opportunity to meet other students and then you’ll see familiar faces at your first lecture. 
  • You can use pen and paper or your computer for note-taking. Do whatever works for you. But if you are using a device in the larger lecture theatres, watch out for the desks that flip over! 
  • Bring a water bottle. Keeping your brain hydrated actually helps you to think and learn better. There are filtered water outlets to refill your bottle on-campus. Plus your brain needs food too so keep snacks handy. 
  • Don’t rush to buy textbooks. View your course outlines on Akoraka | Learn to see what’s needed. You’ll usually get more information about how textbooks will be used during first lectures. Most textbooks are online or accessible through the library. 
  • The culture at Lincoln is relaxed, so you don’t need to dress up to go to class. Just wear what makes you feel comfortable. If you have a lab or field trip, you’ll be given instructions about what to wear. 
  • Labs and field trips don’t happen in the first week, even though they show up on your timetable. You’ll find out about them in your first lectures. 
  • If your class is online, we recommend turning your video on. It will help you to get to know your classmates better.
  • Asking questions is not only okay, it’s expected. Lecturers are friendly and welcome questions. Their contact details are on Akoraka | Learn so you can contact them any time. 

How is university different from high school? 

  • For a start, there’s no uniform. Wear what you like (unless advised otherwise for practical work as part of your courses). 
  • There’s a larger age range. A 16-year-old can enrol in a New Zealand university if they meet the admission requirements, while we have some people in their 90s doing PhDs. 
  • There are more social opportunities. With on-campus bars, gigs, a Students’ Association, clubs and societies, you’ve got heaps of ways to meet like-minded people. 
  • No-one takes a class roll. You’re expected to turn up to class and hand in assignments without any reminders. 
  • There’s a huge amount of academic, social, health, spiritual and even financial support available at university, which you may not have had at high school. 
  • Class sizes are often bigger. 
  • You’ve got more choice in what you can study. 
  • You are at university for about 30 weeks a year, 24 of them in actual class. However, you would have spent about 40 weeks a year at high school. 

What’s university study like at Lincoln? 

  • Our class sizes are smaller than at many other universities. They can range from around 30-40 students to 200. 
  • As we are a land-based university with very close ties to industry and the farming and horticultural sectors, practical experience makes up a big part of our courses. So you’ll be able to get stuck into lots of hands-on activities outside the classroom. 
  • Our lecturers are more accessible than those at other universities. They’ll get to know you by name. 
  • We have an online learning space, which supports the teaching that takes place in person. 
  • Attending lectures is important, as you’ll join in discussions that give you a deeper understanding of the topic. 
  • For each course, you’ll need to spend about 10-12 hours per week studying. So that could be about 40-50 hours all-up each week. 

We have a dedicated Learning, Teaching and Library team, eager to help you enhance your study skills. Here are their top tips on what to expect when starting university.