Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

Posted: April 14, 2011 in FAQ
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Here at The Real Science Experience, we endeavour to answer as many of the niggling questions you have as possible. Every week we’ll answer 10 questions that are frequently asked about University life in general. So if you have a question you want answered, leave us a comment and we’ll answer it next week!

Here’s for our first 10. I’ve worked as a first year transition host for a few years in a variety of mediums, and these are some of the questions I often got asked:

How do I get to Uni?

Most Universities are readily accessible by public transport, and Melbourne Uni is no exception. Any train line will take you into the city, and it is as easy as a tram ride down either Swanston or Elizabeth Street. Almost every tram down Swanston Street will take you to the University, though some will annoyingly terminate at Queensberry St without warming (you can either walk a few blocks or wait for the next one). If your first class is on The Elizabeth St side of the campus, you can grab the #19 tram, which will take you straight down Royal Parade – every other tram will turn off before you get as far as the Uni.

Is there much parking around Uni?

If you choose to drive in, there is parking available. But keep in mind, Carlton is just out of the CBD. Parking can be horrendous. There are several underground carparks at Uni, but it is all paid parking so keep in mind that this can become expensive. There is some free parking around the Uni, but it is not all day parking and is a bit of potluck to get one, so unless you only have one or two lectures you may end up with a parking fine.

What do I need to bring to class?

Pens, paper and an open mind! Most lecturers will put up their slides on LMS (Learning Management System – your go to website for all your subject material) prior to the lecture. It is a good idea to print these out and bring them to the lecture. You don’t want to waste time writing down the things that are on the slides when you could be writing down the extra tidbits and exam hints that will be delivered to you verbally. Most of these slide printouts will leave you room to write on or next to the slides, but if they don’t I’ve found it can be a good idea to number the slides and simply write notes in a notebook wherein you refer to the slide number.

Can I use a laptop in class?

Can you? Yes. Should you? Definitely not. Don’t bother with a laptop in class. Laptops are becoming the new notebooks in class, and while you may think they are easier, or make you look cool, they seriously disadvantage students. Remember, you have exams. Written exams. If you use a laptop throughout the semester, by the time you get to the exam your handwriting skills will have atrophied. Ever found that first week back at school after Summer holidays your handwriting has changed and it’s now harder to write? Imagine how you’ll be after a whole semester. You will find you cannot write very fast, or neatly, at all. An hour in your hand will have cramped up and you will have only written half the content you could have otherwise. Handwriting your notes will also help your brain digest the information better. Lastly, laptops can be a distraction. Before you know it you’re “just checking” your notifications on Facebook and you’ve missed a seriously epic exam hint your lecturer has subtly given you.

Do I need to buy books and/or a calculator?

Most, but not all, subjects will have a prescribed text book. You should buy them, but most students won’t. And with good reason – they’re expensive. But, there are many places where you can get a second hand text book, such as ‘Academic and General’ and ‘Book Affair’ in Elgin Street, and the ‘Carlton Bookshop’ in Swanston St. You can also get some through the Melbourne University bookshop, or keep an eye out for both online and physical noticeboards. Similarly, you can go to the library and borrow most of them. It all depends on how serious you are about getting the most out of your class. Some subjects will also have a reader or a text you must read. These are a must. You will not be able to do the class without them. Lastly, your high school calculator will be enough. But keep in mind most exams will not permit a calculator inside the exam room, so it’s a good idea not to use it as a crutch throughout the semester.

How do I change my timetable?

There are several ways you can do this. One is through your student portal. Most subjects will be changeable through there. If the class you want is full and you cannot attend the one you have been allocated to, contact your Student Centre. If all else fails, email your subject coordinator. Do not email your fellow student lists asking for a tute, prac or lecture swap. There are seriously hundreds of these sent out by first years at the start of every semester. They do nothing except annoy the daylights out of a lot of people. Repetitive spam will get you banned from IT services.

Where’s my class?

Melbourne Uni has a lecture theatre listing on the website, so it’s a good idea to look up your class the day before and find out where it is. Writing yourself a few quick directions in your diary will help you so much on the day. The 3D Tour can help you visualise the place before you get there yourself. If all else fails, refer to the map/listing in the back of your student diary.

I’m an International Student and my English and grammar isn’t perfect – where do I get help?

Check out the Academic Skills Unit. They help all sorts of people (not just International students) with learning and language difficulties.

Where can I get a cheap lunch?

Becoming a Student Union member will get you lots of free lunch around the Uni. The Science Students Society has a free BBQ for SSS members every week. There are place like the Food Co-Op on the first floor of Union House that have cheap meals every day ($5 plates, hell yeah!). If you’re living on or close to campus and want cheap food to prepare your own meals, check out the Uni’s Shopping Guide.

Where can I get WLAN?

Wireless internet is available basically wherever students are perceived to gather for study: which is basically the whole campus. You will need a user name and password to access the internet, and if you want to browse external websites you will have to set up a proxy. If you don’t know how to do this, you can look up a guide online or ask any of the IT services: the Baillieu Library is a good place to start.

– Rhiannon


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