A guide to surviving WSU: Covid edition

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Whether you are starting your first year at university or returning back for your 5th, there is so much going on at the university that it can be hard to navigate it all. After being at this university for five years, I decided to create a university survival guide to help other students pave their pathway through university with all the support and resources you will need.

What you need to know:

vUWS –  This is where all of your online learning occurs. Any slides, learning guides, link to zoom classes, and more are located on vUWS.

 

Student Central –  This is your one-stop shop on campus to ask general enquiries, speak about enrolment and fees, graduation, applying for student ID and travel concession, lodging some forms and more. With Covid, they have moved their services online and over the phone. You can contact student central on 1300 668 370 or email them at studentcentral@westernsydney.edu.au.

Enrolment and Course progress  MyStudent Records
For enrolment, everything can be done using My Student Records at mysr.com. This is where you can use the codes in the student handbooks to enrol in classes, check your cards and change specialisations and more. Did you know you can keep track of your course progress and see what you need to complete and how far along you are in your course? Go to Check my course progress – click on your course – click course progress detail and then it breaks down what you need to do to complete your course and you can look at what you have done. This is especially useful when you get towards the end of your degree.
Allocate –  This is where you can put preferences in for your timetable and see your allocated timetable. Make sure you log into the 2021 timetable! To check if your class is online or on campus just go to your timetable and click on the class to see its location.

 

Academic support:
It can often feel like you are all alone in your studies at university, especially with online classes. There are many services you can access, apps you can download and strategies you can employ, to get you on track with your studies. Here are some of the few I have found to be extremely helpful over the years.

 

Textbooks and resources:

Textbooks:
Textbooks can be pretty expensive, and often learning guides can come out a little late. To find out what your textbooks will be, you can look at your learning guide or use the textbook finder on Booktopia to find your course’s allocated textbooks: https://www.booktopia.com.au/books-online/text-books/textbook-finder/cXC-p1.html.

Students also sell textbooks on Facebook groups such as UWS Textbooks (https://www.facebook.com/groups/uwstextbooks/), WSU Textbook Exchange – (NSW) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/UWSTextbookExchange) and Second Hand University Textbooks for buy, sell and swap Australia (https://www.facebook.com/groups/221249431288804/).

Also checkout websites such as Student VIP (https://studentvip.com.au/) for notes, used textbooks and tutors.


Library Resources: 

The library offers a range of resources and access to databases online that are extremely useful for your studies. You can also access your learning guide, old test papers and even speak to a librarian online. You can also book in study rooms at the library, borrow books and refresh your loans online.

E-resources allows you to see all of the databases available for research through the university. They are organised by subject and are good to utilise. I was even able to find textbooks online through these databases for a couple of units.
https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/resources/eResources

Icite is an amazing tool that I utilised throughout my degree to learn how to reference different styles, as well as see examples depending on the type of resource you were using.
https://library.westernsydney.edu.au/main/guides/referencing-citation/i%3ACite

Study Smart and MESH services
One of the best services I utilised as a first and second-year student is the Study Smart services. I find that having a service where you get to talk to an academic for free about classwork or assessments one on one really helped me develop my skills out of the classroom. The smart study consultations are now provided over Zoom and run for 30 minutes. They allow you to ask for assignment feedback and advice, referencing, and even maths and statistics.

To book a session: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/StudySmart1@westernsydneyedu.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/

 

Study smarty online  powered by Studiosity
This is a service which is available 24/7, employed by the university and run by Studiosity. It is an absolute lifesaver when you just need to talk to someone regarding your ideas, or need assistance with assessments. They have a connect live service where you can chat with different experts to hone your writing skills, referencing, study skills, maths, biology, chemistry and more. They also have a writing feedback service where you submit your document, and they get back to you usually within 24 hours with feedback and notes. These services do have usage allocation meaning that they are timed. You can log onto your vUWS and look under the heading ‘STUDY SMART Online’ on the homepage to access these services. It is also available on your subjects underneath the heading ‘Support Zone’.

PASS Peer Assisted Study Sessions
PASS classes are informal study sessions run by students that have previously successfully studied that unit. They are free, run weekly and it is a good way of meeting other students that are in your degree. With Covid-19, these classes run online. For more information: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/study_and_life_skills_workshops/pass_-_peer_assisted_study_sessions/_nocache

 

Career Hub
Finding work while you study can be tough but there are a plethora of free workshops and job opportunities that the university offers. Whether it is work at the university or external job offerings it is always good to keep an eye on the Career Hub. To see these resources and job offerings go to:  https://careerhub.westernsydney.edu.au/

 

Getting Social

While most of us are stuck indoors on our computers and listening to 3 hour-long lectures, it can get pretty lonesome. Clubs and activities are happening online, and even some in person!

Western Life
Whether you want to learn more about different cultures and religions, play sports, debate against other universities or just hang out and play games with other students, there are so many activities advertised on Western Life. Campus life offers many activities both online and face-to-face, depending on restrictions, allowing you opportunities to drink wine and paint, play trivia and games, listen to talks, compete in competitions and so much more. Clubs are also active on this platform and you can see what clubs suit you.
I personally did debating throughout my university degree which allowed me the opportunity to travel overseas, compete in tournaments with other universities, job prospects and so much more.
To have a look at all the opportunities go to:  https://life.westernsydney.edu.au/home_login

 

Western SRC
The Western Sydney University Student Council Representative is composed of 20 students who are elected by students to represent their needs. Whether it is social events, campaigning for student needs or addressing any issues students have, the SRC are there to provide you a platform to get change. They run council meetings once a month that you can attend to discuss any concerns you may have. You can reach out to the SRC via their email on secretary@westernsrc.org or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/westernsrc.org.

They also have vacancies so check out there website to find out more at http://westernsrc.org/

WSUP –  Student Newspaper
WSUP is an awesome student newspaper that is run independently from the university. They post articles about both on campus and off campus news, tips and tricks. They print both a physical paper located around all campuses and online at https://wsup.news/
You can also get involved with WSUP by pitching any ideas for articles, submitting artworks, stories or poems and so much more!

Out and About

This program allows students to participate in a range of activities and adventures at reduced rates. You can see what is on offer by searching on Western Life.

Student Discounts

It can be really expensive being a full time or even part-time student. And the university does have many discounts that you can use just for everyday things such as entertainment, real and online shopping, gym memberships and more.
To see the long list of discounts offered check out the student discounts page: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/student_discounts.

Health and Wellbeing
There are services on campus to help you with your general health and wellbeing. The Uniclinic located on Campbelltown campus is run by students supervised by qualified clinicians that offer a range of therapeutic health practices at reduced rates to the general public. If you need information on sexual health, the website Play Safe has a range of resources to help you improve your sexual health. You can ask a nurse questions, get information on testing, treatments and contraceptives. Visit: https://playsafe.health.nsw.gov.au/

 

Student Legal and Tax Services

The student legal service is an information and referral service that is funded by SSAF. It is for all current domestic and international students at Western Sydney University and is operated by a qualified lawyer. They cover a wide range of legal issues such as employment, tenancy, consumer law, minor criminal matters, debt matters, motor vehicle accidents, on campus fines and traffic offences. They take roughly 3 business days to get back to you. You can contact them by calling 9685 4788 or via email studentlegalservices@westernsydney.edu.au along with the request for help form. For more information or to access the request help form visit: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/currentstudents/current_students/services_and_facilities/student_legal_service

The tax clinic is offered by the university that provides assistance with lodging, debt matters, review and appeal rights and general tax law. In order to get assistance you must not have a tax agent and be an individual or small business entity. They also run many education activities, advocacy and assistance with dealing with the ATo for low income or vulnerable taxpayers. This service is provided for free via Zoom or teleconferencing. To book an appointment you call them on 9685 4649 or email them at thetaxclinic@westernsydney.edu.au.

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