Contributors: Jacky Wang, Clarence Feng
The fastest way to get to UNSW is from Central Station, so it's a good idea to catch the train to Central first.
If you don't have the TripView App, consider getting it! It gives you real-time updates on NSW's public transport system, and is pretty much essential to getting to uni on time. Currently (As of February 2020) you can view the timetables of trains and buses, but not light rail.
There are two primary ways of getting to UNSW from Central: the newly opened Light Rail, or by bus.
There are two routes: the L2 (Open now), which goes to Upper Campus, and L3 (Open March 2020), which goes to Lower Campus. We can't say much about L3 right now, but we expect it to be similar to our experiences from L2. There are two stops near Central, one on Chalmers St, and one near George St. The Chalmers St stop is the closest to Central, so that's the one to use.
There should be regular services to and from UNSW every 8-12 minutes, and it takes 25-30 minutes to get from either of the Central Station stops to UNSW High St, which is about the same time it takes for a public bus. Plus if you have class in Lower Campus, you're out of luck right now. The L2 UNSW High St stop is at the very top of Upper Campus whereas the L3 UNSW Anzac Parade stop will be at the very bottom of Main Walkway.
We'd recommend you use the Light Rail if there are no more express buses left, or if you're in no rush to get to uni.
Undoubtably the quintessential UNSW experience. There are express buses that go between UNSW and Central and they make things easy for you.
The 891 is the express to UNSW from Central, departing from Eddy Avenue Stand D. They run everyday, every 5 minutes from 7am to 2pm, and travel time is about 20 minutes at best. It stops at both Upper and Lower Campus, so you really can't go wrong with the 891. Take note though! Lines stretch into the nearby park during exam periods and at the beginning of term, so make sure to get there early!
The 893 and 898 are the expresses to Central from UNSW. The 893 leaves at Gate 4, on High St near the Business School, and the 898 departs at Gate 8, which is further up High St, near Main Library. They run regularly from 1pm to 8pm, so even if you stay back late, there'll be a fast trip home!
Usually, you'd want to avoid public buses as they can get pretty crowded, and they can take substantially longer than expected to get to uni.
From Central Station, there are two stops that you want to go to catch a bus to UNSW. From Eddy Avenue Stand C: 391, 393, 395, M10, and from Elizabeth St Stand E: M50, 393.
There are a few stops scattered along Anzac Parade if you want to catch a public bus from UNSW to the city, but the stop outside NIDA is the closest. If you want to go Central: 391, 393, 395, and to Town Hall: L94, M10, 392, 394, 396, 397, 399.
Moodle, WebCMS and myUNSW
Moodle and myUNSW are the main ways of accessing information about your time at UNSW, and WebCMS handles all the course materials for any computing course. It's a really good idea to get familiar with how to use these resources.
Moodle allows you to handle the academic side of your studies. You'll be able to access lecture recordings, announcements, your course forum and any course materials from here.
Since you're more likely than not studying programming at UNSW, the CSE school uses WebCMS for its course materials and announcements, but lecture recordings are still on Moodle. You'll gain access to the relevant WebCMS page after enrolling in a computing course.
myUNSW is how you access and change any information on the administrative side of your studies. Main things you'd do on myUNSW will be managing your fees and payments, concession cards, checking out your academic transcript, and updating your class timetable and enrolment.
Your zID is essentially your student ID, and it'll be what you'll be using for everything important here at UNSW, so it's obviously really important that you know yours!
If you haven't been issued a zID yet, complete this form and that's pretty much it! UNSW policy requires you to update your password every 6 months, and there are restrictions in place to make sure you don't swap between the same two passwords. If you want to change your password, or have forgotten it, go here.
Being updated with your uni email is essential for you to HD (or pass) your studies at UNSW. Primarily you'll be getting course and faculty announcements, and updates on forum threads.
The easiest way to ensure that you don't miss an email is to set up forwarding to your personal email.
You will probably see the name Arc floating around a lot during O-Week and might be wondering what it actually is. Essentially, Arc is UNSW’s student organisation and they run pretty much all major events outside the classroom from Clubs to Sports. If we have one piece of advice, it’s to JOIN ARC (it’s free) and gives you access to a load of discounts on and off campus!
To join during O-Week, go to the Arc Stalls scattered around campus, where volunteers should help you get set up. Otherwise, you can visit the Arc Office which is located just to the left off the Basser Steps.
Nucleus Student Hub
The UNSW Nucleus Student Hub is located on the Ground Floor of Main Library, and they provide administrative support to students. Although many of the services that Nucleus provides can be completed online, students may be required to go to the Hub in person to process other requests. This will include getting a fast service academic transcript, receiving your ID card, or getting your calculator approved by UNSW.
UNSW offers a plethora of services to help its students out. We’ve compiled a list of the services that we thought are the most important, but the full range of support services and resources UNSW provides can be found here.
Peer mentoring is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and get a head start on uni - academically, professionally and personally!
There will be free food and fun events, such as board game nights, COMP1511 study sessions, coding competitions and lots more all throughout the semester. Joining this program will give you connections as well as great opportunities. Overall, it is a great way to make new friends and integrate into UNSW life.
Applicants will be grouped with a squad of other CSE students with similar interests and degrees (based on applications). If you feel unsure about uni and want more opportunities for networking or general guidance, your mentors will be there to guide you. This is not an opportunity you want to pass on.
So if you’re a new student studying a degree under Computer Science and Engineering in 2020, grab your friends and apply for the peer mentoring program! We will make you realise exactly how much fun uni is :)
Contributor: Shrey Somaiya (StuNet Director)
While university is a time to be independent and have fun, it's important to take care of your health. Visiting UNSW's wellbeing landing page will link you to all the health and support services you need at uni.
Particularly, UNSW provides a high-quality, non-judgemental service that provides treatment to students, staff and visitors. Visit the University Health Service page for more information.
Aside from physical health, its also important to take care of yourself mentally too. If you're feeling anxious, stressed, depressed and generally not feeling yourself, consider approaching the UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS provides individual counselling, workshops, seminars and self-help resources for anyone in need.
Equitable Learning Services
If you have a disability or a mental/health concern, UNSW provides a free and confidential service that provides support to you so that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. UNSW's Equitable Learning Advisors are able to arrange services and educational adjustments so that you'll find your studies more manageable.
UNSW outlines the steps on how to apply for financial support, which includes the following:
Australian Citizens and permanent residents can apply for Commonwealth assistance, including HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, SA-HELP, and OS-HELP. Other government schemes include National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for those living with a disability, and Centrelink payments such as Abstudy, Austudy and Youth Allowance.
UNSW also offers a range of scholarships, student loans and payment plans to students who are eligible.
The Concession Opal card allows eligible students to access fares at half the price of the Adult Opal card for travel on public transport services.
There are various programs and student organisations in UNSW that provides support for LGBTIQ students and staff.
The ALLY@UNSW Network is a program that aims to ensure UNSW is a safe and welcoming place for all LGBTIQ students and staff. Contact with an ALLY will provide confidential referral advice.
If you're interested in becoming an ALLY, the training program provides an in-depth discussion of diverse gender, sex and sexuality, and aims to make UNSW a great place for everybody by reducing barriers of fear and ignorance that lead to prejudice and discrimination.
Arc Queer Collective is a student organisation that supports and represents all students on campus who are queer - that is, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, genderqueer, asexual or anywhere within the queer spectrum. Look out for Queer Collective meetings, parties and events and more!
Additionally, UNSW provides support services for transgender students before, during or while affirming transition. Student support advisors can assist with referrals to services both on and off campus as well as liaise regarding administrative issues within the such names and identity. Student support advisors can assist you to plan your transition.
Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit is a dedicated support unit for undergraduate and postgraduate Indigenous students enrolled at UNSW. Nura Gili provides pathways for prospective Indigenous students to study in all UNSW faculties and programs. They also provide a range of Indigenous student support services, tutorial and study spaces for enrolled students.
International Student Support
Student Development International is the first point of contact for international students and free information about all aspects of university life. Students having questions about student visa conditions, enrolment changes, getting accustomed to life in Sydney and UNSW policies and procedures can book a consultation with an International Student Advisor.
The Religious Centre is provided for all UNSW students and staff, and accommodates those of Anglican, Buddhist, Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Islamic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian or Uniting Church faith.
The Centre also provides Chaplains for worship services, Bible Studies, prayer meetings and spiritual counselling. Additionally, the Islamic Society has an Imam in attendance with meeting and prayer rooms available for Muslim students. The Buddhist student group "Unibuds" also has facilities in the Centre. There is also a Jewish Chaplain involved with the centre.
Contributors: Katherine He, Clarence Feng
Reflections From a Third Year: On University Life & Culture
So there you are. Mingled among a crowd of scholars, engineers, painters, musicians, scientists. It's an entirely new world, and you don't know how to feel. On the one hand, it's an exciting new adventure of growth and opportunities. On the other, it's a constant reminder that you're no longer in high school. You feel excited and, at the same time, you feel anxious.
A little over two years ago, I was in that same situation; excited to learn new things at the expense of leaving behind a group of friends dear to me. I was finally away from the routine, all too familiar to high school students. I walked into my first year of university, strutting proudly with high spirits. By the end of the first year, my entire opinion on university completely changed. For better or for worse.
In either case, there were a few instrumental life changing lessons I learned in the year I was at uni. And today, I would like to share those with you. I'm not saying that following these principles will solve all of your problems -- these were just lessons that have shaped the way I view university nowadays.
1. New year, new goals.
A new year has allowed me to breathe again, to dream again. In contrast to high school, I decided to cut back on meticulously plan out every second of my life and it has given me the opportunity to reintroduce forgotten pastimes of sports, leisurely reading and watching documentaries about everything and anything.
I needed time and space. I needed the time to surprise myself and to be kind to myself. So if you aren't sure yet, give yourself a term to collect your thoughts and figure out what you really want instead of using that bit of energy among ten different societies.
Set yourself a new goal every week and make it a requirement to complete that goal. You have full control over what you decide your goal is but your goal should aim to improve you as an individual. Such goals could include: talk to one stranger this week, complete tutorial sets, make your own lunch for the week, etc.
2. It's fine to fail.
Honestly, I thought university life was going to be easy. It was a new start from me, and it was the change I needed from the drama that is high school. But it's not, and as someone who struggled with the transition into the trimester system, I did end up failing a course in my second year. I've learned from that, and it was honestly the best thing that came out of my second year.
Your university life isn't solely about your academic performance, and there is absolutely no shame about dropping a course. Because at the end of the day, your mental health is more important. Obviously, having top academic marks is the ideal situation but don't stress if you can't keep up with the workload; you're only going to exacerbate the situation. Relax and contemplate on whether the course, at this current point in time, is right for you. There is no shame in taking a first year course at a later time.
3. Remind yourself what you really want out of university.
Again, your university experience is what you make of it. If you want it to be a fruitful experience, make it so. If you want it to be focused on your academics, then make it so. Take any opportunity you can to improve on your goals, if that's what you want out of it.
No one is here to tell you what you do, you will have to make that decision for yourself. And that's part of the fun when it comes to university life.
4. Surround yourself with people who encourage you.
Along with its excitement comes the culture. When working with a large cohort, you will meet people from all walks of life. People who graduated valedictorian, people of colour, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and you will ultimately have to get used to how they perceive normal behaviour. To some people, this is easy; they find it natural to connect with different kinds of people. To others like me, this is a little more challenging.
You will have to endure people who will use you for their own benefit, but you can minimise that by surrounding yourself with people who care for you, people who encourage and build you up instead of denigrate and belittle you. Join a society that piques your interest. Whether that's a gaming society, hobbyist society, or even an education society, you will always find people who enjoy similar things as you do. And these are the people who you will find most enjoyment with.
That's what I did, and I'm at the point where I enjoy my university life. You can too. You just have to try.
5. Find your passion.
Bringing the point back to joining societies, having a university life gives you a chance to rekindle lost passions. Amidst the chaos of high school, the less restricting nature of university gives you an opportunity to reconnect with your old passions from when you were younger and more innocent.
I picked up piano again when I started my first year, and since then, I've been playing casually as a way to relieve stress. I've also picked up a new sport along the way and play every few weeks as a way to stay in shape and entertain myself.
2020 presents itself as a year of new challenges and new experiences that you can't find anywhere else. Take any opportunities you can to grow and become an improved version of yourself. Keep working on your goals and keep striving; you'll get there.
So congratulations; you made it. Make the year, yours.
Introduction: Welcome to CSESoc’s 2020 First Year Guide
Essential Tips: Covering the basics you need to get started at UNSW
Settling In: Helping you navigate uni inside and outside the classroom
About CSESoc: Get to know the CSESoc Team and what we do
What's Next?: Things to look forward to in 2020 and beyond