Growing up in a small town in regional Victoria it was normal (if not expected) that you knew everyone’s name at school, you knew what their parents did and what they were doing on the weekend. Fast forward few years and I found myself moving to Melbourne to attend Monash and I didn’t know what to expect.
It recently dawned on me that throughout year 12 I had my ‘eyes on the prize’ of getting into Law school and was so focused on going to university that I totally dismissed the fact that moving to the city would be as much as a lifestyle change as it has proved to be.
I would describe my first few months in Melbourne as a roller-coaster ride. When I first moved onto campus I was filled with excitement and eagerness to explore this new city, I was excited to be out of my small town (although I did love it) and was looking forward to creating a new life for myself and making the most of all the opportunities Monash and Melbourne had to offer.
“A few weeks later and this initial wave of excitement had worn off and I found myself feeling like a very small fish in a very big pond. I was not used to knowing no one. I started to feel like I was a mere number at university and that nobody really cared – this was a tough time.”
Yet, after a few calls back home I found myself back on the roller-coaster and this time with a new outlook; It is okay not to know where you stand, just focus on yourself and enjoy the ride. From this point on I embraced the fact that I was a needle in a haystack full of other students-with a fair few of them coming from small towns just like myself. I no longer felt lonely and isolated, I now relished in the wealth of opportunities and exciting things to that you can only get here in the city.
Here are a few tips/words of advice that I wish I had been given before embarking on my journey:
Uni life extends far beyond the grey sphere of Clayton. Make it your mission to actually venture into the city and explore all it has to offer.
Embrace the city
Like many things in life, it is often best if you embrace your circumstances and enjoy it! Really venture out into the city and see all it has to offer, some suggestions of cool things to do include; going to the Queen Victoria market, go shopping down Bourke Street and maybe even go to the Melbourne Zoo!
It’s okay to struggle
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are struggling with the lifestyle adjustment – I certainly did!
If you’ee feeling homesick, call home
I found that one of the best things I could do when I was feeling a bit down was to call my parents. Not only was it good to catch up with them but they also provided he reassurance I needed.
Try to find people in a similar position
Find comfort in people that are going through the same difficulties as you as it often feels good to talk to somebody. Maybe even browse a few of the articles we have in our International Students section- we talk a lot about fitting into a new place.
Most importantly, stay true to your roots
Its very easy to get caught up in Uni life and living in the city, especially in your first year. My most important words of advice it to stay true to yourself and make the effort to visit home and engage in the community that you grew up in. For instance, if you don’t live too far a drive away you might stay connected (or even play for) your local football/netball team.
Written by Claudia Opie (Co-founder)