Roving reporter Breanna looks at the advantages of getting involved in your campus's student association.
University can be quite daunting sometimes and it may take you a while to get into the routine of university life after the structure of high school.
It is most likely that you will have every class with different people and therefore it can be quite difficult to make new friends. This is where clubs, societies, and student associations come in.
How student associations helped me
Joining a club or being part of a student community is a great step to finding people with similar interests to you.
I must admit when I first began university, I basically went to class and went straight back home. By mid-year of my first year at university, I was starting to feel unsure if going to university was the right thing for me.
Don't get me wrong - I loved my course and the learning aspect of uni, but without the social side, I felt as though making friends was difficult and wondered whether studying on campus was worth the travel.
Later in the year I saw a poster that was promoting the student association. I was interested in events and thought that this would a perfect opportunity to help out, put my skills to use and of course meet people.
As soon as I did, I became involved with many people with different and similar interests, all of whom were very welcoming.
The benefits of getting involved in student associations
Trang Nguyen, a student at Deakin University, had in the past contributed to major Deakin University Student Association (DUSA) events, such as O Week. However it was not until the start of 2009 that she was elected as the Deakin Waurn Ponds Campus Director.
Trang took on the responsibility of representing over 4500 students at her home campus. As part of her role as Campus Director she organises events to support students culturally and socially. She also runs campaigns about issues that affect students, and helps fight for their needs.
Trang joined DUSA to get involved in the university community. "I honestly felt bored at uni, simply arriving at campus for class, and leaving straight after class," she said.
Just like so many other students, she wanted to get more than just an education at uni.
"Getting involved with DUSA was great because I was able to meet more friends. It was also great because I knew what I was doing at DUSA was benefiting all students. I felt that I was making a big difference in the uni community," she said.
Trang believes that joining DUSA has given her more confidence to do things that she has never done before. This includes meeting fellow students, negotiating with university management and supporting external organisations, all in the hope of informing the wider community about the needs of students.
"My position at DUSA challenged me and developed skills I am sure I will utilise in the future," Trang said.
Trang believes that it is vital to the university community that student associations such as DUSA exist to represent students.
"It is the students themselves who get involved and they always manage to enhance the uni experience for everyone," Trang said.
The facts about student associations
A student association is run by students for the students. This means that they know what students want and share a voice to help ensure the best opportunities for the students.
What do they do?
Student Associations look out for the students and try to make sure that there are fun and exciting things to be involved in, no matter what your interests are. They are able to voice concerns of students, and develop campaigns relating to issues that affect students.
They also offer advocacy - if you have an academic problem, they can help.
There are many university clubs available to join from sporting clubs to religious clubs to anime clubs. If you would like to make a club just contact your student association at your campus.
They also hold events such as parties, movie nights and free food days (this can really help your budget!).
How can you get involved?
Go to your university association and ask what you can do to become involved. Ways you can get involve might include becoming a student representative or using your skills to help out with publicity, administration or other tasks.
Of course the easest way to get involved is to attend one of your student association's events. They're a great way to make new friends and have a great time!
So make the most out of your time at uni and find out what your student association has to offer!