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Moving from High School to University


Every law student vividly remembers their first day at uni. Having barely left the high school, we find ourselves facing another veritable ocean of new people, places and experiences. Despite everything we may have seen and heard about university from our school days, nothing prepares us for the incredible paradigm shift that is associated with the transition.

Whatever experiences your future sojourn holds, here’s a few pointers to help smooth the transition.

Put a smile on that dial!

Never underestimate the power of a winning smile. How can we know what a friendly, outgoing, energetic and wonderful person you are unless you let us know you want us to be a part of it? So go on, make an appearance at that start of session party; go to Law Camp (yes, the rumours are true – do it, trust us); join the law faculty’s social and peer mentoring programs. They are all here for you – to help you make the gradual transition to university life.

Get involved!

There is a positively bewildering array of clubs, societies and groups at uni to get involved with. The law faculty itself has an amazing variety of activities to suit any possible interest area.

Be the best (insert your name here) you possibly can

In the end, university is about equipping you with the tools to become a happy, productive member of society; to reach your fullest possible potential in all the roles you will take on. The key is not to just let it all happen – take all possible opportunities. Strive not for success, but for excellence in everything you do at uni – both academic and non-academic.

Don’t become ‘that guy (or girl)’

Yes, everyone knows a ‘that guy (or girl)’. The kind that sits in the front row, asks questions for the sake of asking questions, volunteers answers from their supposed ‘life experience’ that has no bearing whatsoever on the topic at hand. The kind that brags about how much they study, about how their notes are all perfectly tabbed and headlined, and how many practice exams they have done. The kind that brag about all the top-tier law firm internships offers they have, to people who would be grateful to have just one. Don’t become that guy (or girl). They lead lonely lives.

Don’t take yourself so seriously!

Law school is not a joke. The workload is intense. The readings are intense. The assignments are intense. The competition is intense. The law building color scheme is frequently intense. Sometimes, the best antidote is to drown your sorrows at the uni bar – uh, we mean to remember that law school is only one aspect of your life. Have fun! Let go! And you will find you have more time to enrich your university life in more ways than one – and not just in the classroom.

This is an adaptation of an article that previously appeared in Lawkipedia, a publication of the UNSW Law Faculty. Reprinted with the permission of the UNSW Law Faculty.

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