#AskAMentor – How to make it through your first term

This week in our #AskaMentor blog series, our Student Mentors recall the difficulties they experienced in their first term and their tips to overcoming them and surviving your first term…


“In my first term, I tried to muddle my way through on my own, when asking a simple question would have solved the problem quite quickly. I sometimes found understanding key concepts to be quite difficult. Now having completed three semesters of University, I have realised that if I just send the lecturer a quick Moodle note or email, the lecturer can help me make sense of it in a way I better understand.


Also, learn to take a break when you need it. Remove yourself from the study area and concentrate on something else. It’s not really a break if you keep thinking back to the topics you still have to cover.” 


“Don’t be put off studying if you come across a complex topic. Try to continue studying and seek help from the many resources available. It is funny how some things that seemed so complex become so straightforward towards the end of term.


I also suggest;

  • Keep good habits like getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night throughout the term.
  • Ensure you maintain weekly notes and print the lecture slides and write notes alongside them.
  • Quiz yourself on topics and attempt previous year’s exams.
  • Always read through marking matrixes before and throughout your assignment!
  • Collate your citations throughout your assessment (not at the end).

 And most importantly, don’t lose faith in yourself. At times you may feel overwhelmed and even doubt your ability to get through a term or assessment. Build up a support network you can turn to for guidance or extra encouragement. At CQUni, you can also access a student counsellor for free.” 


I found trying to ask a question, even when I thought I had no question to ask was the best way of creating a chain of communication to different topics and enhancing my overall knowledge.

It’s important to prioritise your tasks, not be afraid to ask for help, utilise the many resources available to you, keep yourself motivated, help others (you can learn from each other) and take the time to re-read your lecture slides and textbook to reinforce key messaging. 



The best tips I can give to surviving your first term are:

Be organised – Make use of weekly or term planners and clearly mark when your assessments are due so you always know what you need to do and when you need to do it by.

Connect with others – In online forums, Facebook and mentor groups or at residential schools and classes. As unique as your situation might be, chances are you’ll find someone experiencing something similar who can help you through.

Hold yourself accountable – You only get out, what you put in!

Find Balance – It’s important to find opportunities to socialise and enjoy the things you love, outside of your Uni work. 


The advice doesn’t stop here! Our Student Mentors are ready and waiting to connect with you on Moodle to help guide you through your first term.

Best of luck!

Ashleigh Truscott (https://cqunilife.com)

I am a CQUni alumnus, who graduated back in 2010. Straight after graduating, I took a job in media, and later returned to CQUni working full-time as Student Communications Assistant. I remember all too well the panic fuelled ‘all-nighters’, getting lost on campus, confusion over systems, and the general feeling of being unsure. I'm excited to share my experiences and provide some insights into university life.

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