Student Survival Guide

Here’s your go-to guide for surviving your first year, and to help you make the most of the range of resources available to you.

The Faculty of Science Student Survival Guide contains essential advice, especially if you are in your first year. 

The guide gives you tips on how to:

  • Prepare for your first weeks and semester at University
  • How to maintain balance and your wellbeing
  • Find your way around
  • Look after yourself financially and eat well
  • Discover the services and support available to you.

Some tips from the guide

Time management

One of the biggest challenges for university students is learning how to manage your time.

Everything takes longer than you think it will

Allocate yourself more time on your planner for tasks than you think you will need.

Write yourself a ‘to do’ list for the day, every day

It works well if you do it the night before, noting down things to remember to do, or in the morning when you’re feeling fresh.

When you do something on the list, tick it off

It is such a good feeling to get something done and tick it off your list.

Swallow the frog!

It sounds odd, but 'swallow the frog' means to do the task you least want to do at the start of the day, and make sure you finish it. Then you can get on to smaller/easier tasks.

Take breaks

Allowing yourself time to switch off is really important when you’re studying. We recommend doing 50 minutes of study and then take a 10-minute break.

Get a wall planner and fill it in

Write the due date for all assignments and tests on to your wall planner. This will help you plan out your time.

Tell someone else what you’re planning to do, for accountability reasons

Ask a friend to check in with you during the day to see how much study you’ve done. This will help motivate you.

Life on a student budget

Here are some ways you can improve your budgeting skills.

Make a budget, and do your best to stick to it

Allow yourself some spending money for each week and stick to it. Check this out: Sorted budget calculator.

Write out a meal plan

It is a lot easier and cheaper to plan out what you’ll be cooking and eating for the week, and everyone will know who is cooking and when.  

Try to do one big shop for the week

Try to only go back to the supermarket when you need top-up items such as milk, fresh fruit and veges. This will help you stick to your meal plan and list.

Do some free/cheap activities

  • Host a board games night and share food
  • Get together to watch the next episode of your favourite show
  • Visit the Auckland Art Gallery or Auckland War Memorial Museum (free if you can prove that you’re an Auckland resident).
  • Cornwall Park, the Parnell Rose Garden or nearby Victoria Park are great places to relax and unwind.
  • Head to Wynyard Quarter

Science Ambassadors Programme

A voluntary programme for first-year Science students aimed at enabling academic success, community connection and personal development.

Find out more: Science Ambassadors Programme