Do you remember those kids in primary school who were on the ‘cusp’?; born in the May-July bracket they skipped a year in primary and became the babies of the cohort? Well, I was one of those kids. Like many others born in 2003, last year I started university when I was seventeen. Moving into the halls and away from my hometown was an exciting new step, but just like any other first year, I was nervous about making friends – despite being a reasonably extroverted person, the fact that I was only 17, unable to party it up with the rest of my floormates during O week concerned me. Would I be isolated? Would I be left out? So many questions lingered as O week approached and I was beyond scared. But, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. 

Now, I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to start uni when they’re seventeen. So if you want to master the art of O week at UoA, here is my 8 step guide on how to succeed:  

  1. Find your people. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. If you’re living in the halls, I would say at least 25% of the residents are in the under 18 crowd. Plus, not everyone likes to hit the clubs every night, so trust me, you’ll never be left on your own (which was my biggest fear). 
  2. Get set up for uni. Okay so I know this sounds like a super boring O week task. But trust me, once Monday comes you’ll be grateful you organised all your textbooks, course guides and equipment the week prior (TIP –  save yourself a couple hundred dollars and purchase your textbooks second hand from @second hand books – auckland uni on facebook!). That first day at university can be super stressful, so I would recommend making  a trip into the city campus with a few friends to familiarise yourself with the surroundings (please, please, please don’t bring a printed map to the first day like I did – I think I gave everyone in my pop health class an ick when i walked in with that lol). AUSA also has a tonne of freebies on offer, so don’t forget to grab your yearly planner, keep a cup, and snacks!
  3. Explore Akl. In all honesty, most of the strong friendships your form at university won’t be with people you meet in town. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but I personally find that  the people I party with aren’t always the same people who I feel comfortable grabbing a coffee with. I’m born in July so I wouldn’t be hitting the town until semester two rolled around. But to be honest, I never really felt like I was missing out, as I was surrounded by such a diverse and vibrant community in my hall. There’s so many fun things to do in Auckland, so make the most of your free time before uni work starts piling up. Some of my favourite places include Auckland Museum, MOTAT, Kelly Tarltons and Waiheke!!!!!
  4. Get involved. The university halls are experts when it comes to O week. There are so many activities on offer (most of which are optional). In my year, we had a sports day at the domain, a scavenger hunt across Auckland, quiz nights and so many more. This is where I met most of the people I ended up hanging out with for the rest of the year.
  5. Check out the Halls. If you don’t live in the halls, go have a look! Since I was the only one from my high school who moved to Grafton, I made the rounds and visited my friends in Waiparuru, Uni Hall and O’Rorke. It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up and also meet people from different halls and faculties.
  6. Pres + Parties. This definitely sounded a lot cooler in my head, but if you have major FOMO from the town excursions, there’s nothing stopping you from mingling at the pre’s. It sounds lame, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes! In all honesty, I met a lot of people at my hall just by tagging along to the pre town gatherings. But, hey if you’re cool enough you might be invited to those second year flat parties
  7. Toga Party. Now Toga is the one event of O week that isn’t 18+. This is your time to go crazy (within limits of course of course) and release all that energy. A handy tip would be to bring sheets from home rather than buy them new – they’re definitely not as pliable, and you don’t want to look stiff on your first night out.

So, there you have it. Even if you’re the baby of your cohort, there are so many ways that you can find entertainment in that first week of uni. Hopefully my tips come in handy and you have the best week ever.