What it's like to study at the University of Sydney

Students share their tips for uni life
Hear from Harry, Cameryn and Kaylee about their experience studying at the University of Sydney and their advice for commencing students in 2024.

Starting university is a pivotal moment in your life, where excitement and nervous anticipation come together to create a unique blend of emotions – joy, fear, pride, doubt and many more. Yet amid the sea of uncertainty lies a horizon brimming with new experiences.

As you embark on this new chapter, let curiosity and opportunity guide you. University is not merely about what you learn in the classroom; it's a transformative landscape of possibility that will shape and influence your career trajectory and connect you to lifelong friends and colleagues. 

Kaylee Li, Cameryn Smider and Harry Sollom are University of Sydney students who have walked the path before you as a first-years eagerly awaiting their inaugural semester. They share with us their invaluable insights on how to settle in to university life and make the most of your time on campus.

Find your people

For Kaylee, third-year Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) student, joining groups and societies that focused on her interests early was a key factor in helping her find her feet at university.

Kaylee co-piloting a WWII Warbird.

"My advice for new students is to consider joining a University society and a global organisation that align with your career interests. The insights and experiences gained from being part of these groups can be incredibly valuable and contribute significantly to your overall learning and development," she said.

Kaylee is the current Co-President of the Sydney Women in Aerospace Engineering (SWAE) society and Secretary for the Sydney UAV Engineering society, and was previously part of the University's Rocketry Team, which took her from Tolarno Station in Menindee, New South Wales, to the 2023 International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan.

"These experiences have been rewarding and enjoyable, providing opportunities to network with peers all over the world, contribute to exciting projects, foster personal and professional growth and make lifelong friends," Kaylee added.

Cameryn is in her second year of studying a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Mathematical Sciences at Sydney, and also highlighted the many benefits to joining a club or society, including finding peers who enjoy the things you do – like Taylor Swift.

"I’m part of the Taylor Swift Society! It is the most wholesome, inclusive society for all Swifties. We meet up to talk all things Taylor Swift, and have Taylor-themed events all throughout semester. Long story short, if you’re a fan of Taylor Swift then you can definitely find A Place In This World by joining SwiftSoc!" Cameryn said.

Hidden gems on campus

With over 72 hectares of state-of-the-art teaching and learning technology, including six libraries, art galleries, museums, beautiful lawns and historic sandstone buildings alongside contemporary architecture, our Camperdown Campus feels like its own city, full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Recent graduate of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Harry found a place that's perfect for studying, with snacks not too far away.

"The Quarter is a nice, quiet place to work and study for postgraduate students. It's not too far from Courtyard Restaurant and Bar either, where you can grab essential coffee and some food to refuel," Harry said.

Cameryn with friends in the graffiti tunnel on our Camperdown Campus.

Bubble tea is where it's at for Cameryn.

"If you are obsessed with bubble tea like I am, you have to go to Tea and… which is located just outside Manning House," she said.

"I love getting boba and then sitting in the comfy lounges upstairs in Manning House. The vibes upstairs are very cosy – think brown leather couches and massive paned windows with views of campus below."

From the eyes of an engineering student, you can't go past the Peter Nicol Russell Building.

"The bustling Peter Nicol Russell (PNR) Building is unquestionably a hidden gem adored by many engineering students," said Kaylee. 

"PNR is not just a place for academic pursuits; it's a hub where students gather for group discussions and to relax. A visit to PNR is a fascinating experience for those who are yet to uncover its diverse and dynamic atmosphere – engineers in their natural habitat," Kaylee added.

PNR Building (J02)

Harry with a bare-nosed wombat receiving care in a wildlife rehabilitator centre.

Just the beginning

University can feel daunting, and when in a lecture room with hundreds of fellow students, it can be hard to know how to start a conversation. But jumping right in and breaking the ice pays off in the long run.

"Don't be afraid to start conversations with others in your classes and degree. University is an excellent place to meet like-minded people and make some lifelong friendships. Every friendship starts with a conversation," said Harry.

Cameryn's advice is to grasp as many opportunities as you can to open yourself up to new experiences, including taking that difficult class.

"If I hadn’t taken advantage of all the University of Sydney had to offer during my first year, my life at uni would’ve looked a lot different. You truly will get the most out of your years at university if you take every opportunity that comes your way," Cameryn said.

Student life, wellbeing and support

As you navigate your first few weeks at university, it's important you get to know the support services here at Sydney and how you can access them. There is a range of health and wellbeing, academic and personal support available to you, from free health services, 24/7 counselling, accommodation support, financial support and more.

20 February 2024

Related articles