After 17 years of school routines, transitioning to UQ can be both exciting and completely scary!

Even after a year on campus you might still be wondering…

How does uni even work?

How do I make new friends?

Will uni even guarantee me a job?

How will I survive without my parents’ money?

We polled 400-plus past and current university students to find out what they wish they had known and taken advantage of in their first two years.

We sifted through their answers and detailed the top six things you should do in first year.

1. Make diverse friends from day one

It can be tempting for uni students to stick to their high school friend group and not make any new friends. Students who do this lose opportunities to develop personally, build support networks and hear about all the different opportunities the university provides. The quickest two ways to build new friendships in your first years are to:

Join multiple student societies and attend their events

There are hundreds of societies at UQ. At Market Day (usually the Wednesday before the first week) students will find endless rows of societies covering everything from politics, Pokémon, rock-climbing, degrees and drinking. Students should definitely join groups associated with their degrees (Engineering, Medicine, etc), but they should also join groups that span over multiple degrees. We highly recommend the UQ entrepreneurial society, UQIES, for great networking with ambitious people.

Add yourself to relevant Facebook groups

There are hundreds of official and unofficial Facebook groups relevant to each degree, class and cohort. Students use these groups to share notes, tips, notices and generally blow off steam. Being active in these groups can often build you a lot of social credit.

By far the biggest UQ student Facebook group is UQ Stalker Space.

2. Start with the end in mind

Going to uni is ultimately about landing your dream job. UQ is a prestigious uni but, these days, landing the dream job means so much more than presenting an employer with a graduation certificate.

It’s common for well-networked students with lesser grades to beat top students for the prize jobs. Modern employers drastically favour students who can gain referrals from people inside their companies. Fortunately, there are a number of simple hacks for any student to develop these relationships.

These include:

Scholarships and internships offered by employers and the university

As well as financial support, getting an industry scholarship can often mean paid part-time work for the length of your degree (this beats making coffees right?).

Ask industry figures out for coffee

Yes, you will get a few rejections but it’s surprising how many people in the industry are flattered and willing to meet with someone at the beginning of their career journey and share their perspective. These relationships are invaluable and can often become a student's best asset. You can find these people through friends of friends, industry events, your lecturers, LinkedIn or just cold calling.

3. Plan to study abroad for a period

One of the most common regrets that final year UQ students have is that they didn't take advantage of UQ’s study abroad programs.

These programs can be funded by UQ or the student, can range from two weeks to one year, and are available for a variety of different reasons, including:

• General study abroad (i.e. complete one semester at Oxford)

• Degree-specific (i.e. nursing trip to the Philippines)

• Society based (i.e. entrepreneurial trip to Silicon Valley)

• Cultural based (i.e. spend a month with partner university in China).

4. Get a part-time job that makes sense for uni

First and foremost, before committing to a job, you should explore your ability to receive scholarships and/or Centrelink (free money is the best money). After that, you should try to get part-time work in your field of study (even if it’s just the mail room).

If that isn’t possible, you should consider part-time jobs that will complement your lectures and study loads. Some of the best jobs for university students include:


Tutoring is the perfect job for students who achieve good grades. Teach what you’re learning and be your own boss. Vygo is the best platform for academic students to source and manage tutoring work.

After-hours cleaning

Cleaning work offices provides you with dependable hours outside of your uni timetables and you’ll be able to listen back to lecture recordings as you do it!

Event Staff

Working for a large event staff company such as Spotless allows you to work out of uni hours and be very flexible with the amount of work you take on. This means you can say no to shifts during exam periods.


Working for a fruit stall at your local markets every Saturday morning works well for students because it gives you dependable hours and often pays cash in hand!

Food delivery

With the success of Uber EATS, Deliveroo and Foodora, there is a plethora of job opportunities for students willing to clock up some kilometers on their bicycle in the evenings. Fresh air, exercise and a wage? Sounds perfect.

5. Don’t pay for parking

Catching a bus to uni or paying to park your car on UQ campus every day can become very expensive and time-consuming.

To avoid paying every day consider:

• Living within walking distance of uni

• Buying a bicycle –UQ has excellent bike facilities (showers, lockers etc)

• Getting a motorbike or moped – you can park bikes for less on UQ campuses

6. Know the failure stats

It sucks but statistics show that as an Australian university student, one in three of the peers you start with will likely drop out of their degrees (Department of Education, 2017).

University is much harder and competitive than high school. Every year more students are entering the system and support from the universities generally isn’t keeping up. Class tutorials are often too crowded or brief for you to get all the help you need.

Private tutoring is known to be one of the best forms of academic support with tutored students outperforming their peers by 20% on average.

The Vygo mobile app is the best place to find and book tutors who have aced your exact UQ classes.

Tutors on Vygo know your lecturers, your assignments and have already walked in your shoes. You can set yourself up for academic success by purchasing prepaid tutoring packages with great discounts.

UQ alumni Ben Hallett and Joel Di Trapani graduated from UQ in 2015. In 2017 Ben and Joel were accepted into UQ’s iLab program and went on to launch Vygo, a platform that makes peer-to-peer tutoring easier, cheaper and more effective.