Unofficial UWA Guide - 2015 Edition
This is largely targeted at freshers, and comes people with 5+ years at UWA and mastering it's idiosyncrasies.
If you drive to UWA you have a few options, if you're in first year you can't buy an overpriced parking permit, but if you somehow got one (using a student you know past first year etc.), you're effectively buying something that you can only use before 8am or after 4pm, because in between that you'll be shit out of luck trying to find a yellow bay in the minimal available student parking areas.
You could buy parking tickets in the street or lot parking. I would recommend the UWA parking areas over the City of Subiaco parking areas (slightly cheaper, lower fines). The one opposite computer science on Fairway usually has a few available spots until 10am. There's also the lesser option of Broadway-Fair Shopping centre parking, (first hour free, max 2 hours).
THE PIT. The pit is a compulsory part of UWA lore - everyone must park there at least once. Down the end of Hackett Drive at the roundabout, along Australia II Drive opposite the Mounts Bay Sailing Club there is a large drive and open area which is always littered with poor parkers. The parking here is 'free' so long as you don't have a run in with a Parks and Wildlife Ranger. The catch here is that for some poor reason they can't issue you with a fine unless they hand it to you in person (Pretty sure they've been trying to change this for years). The PITfalls of the pit are that you're more than likely going to struggle hard to maneuver and park in there, someone WILL block you in eventually. There is a general code of ethics for the pit, and it's just don't be a shit bloke: don't leave too much room between vehicles and don't block anyone in. If you spot a ranger and people are walking to their cars let them know!
Don't mind a walk? Street parking around UWA is nearly completely restricted, however if you search for streets short 10 minute walks from uni, you're sure to find a street that has no signage restricting (yet) parking. Definitely not bad if you intend to stay all day/night.
Scotty's Pro Tip: If you're staying late, move your car to staff/student parking at 5pm, bonus points if you tie this in with a dinner trip.
Food & Coffee
Most students start their day with coffee, so I'll run off a list of our top 5 viable coffee places in our developed order of preference (yours may vary):
- The Tenth State
- Rocket Fuel (campus/ref)
- Felix & Co.
Notice how we didn't mention anything about guild/uni coffee.....
The food situation at UWA is a really complex one; so much so that a few years ago we tried to develop a formula to help us rate all the food places. My first 6 months at UWA I mostly ate at the at uni cafes and The Ref. Not that these are bad, but if you're here for a 4 year degree boy will that get old quick. We've had the recent additions of external businesses and Subway should be here this year, so these are some good options, but I really want to focus on off campus options.
The most popular off campus option is by far Chilliz, and I'll never really know why. If I wanted a bowl of rice with 4 cubes of shitty, grissly chicken and 3 peas; then Chilliz is where I'd go. The diehard fans argument against any arguments will forever be "but it's so cheap!". Yes, yes it is cheap.... I'll just stop my Chilliz-bashing here because talking about better options should be enough to encourage you to just not.
Michael's Gourmet on the first floor of the Broadway Fair shopping centre is one of our favourites, freshly made rolls with gourmet ingredients at good prices. Fun fact: their menu item 'Great Scott' was actually created and named after our own Scotty, get on it.
Other good options in the Broadway shopping centre are Ararat Kebabs (grease tho) on the ground floor, IGA should be a staple, Tommy Sugo's and Nagano Sushi-Bento. If you're an edgy customer, give Hawker a try but I'm certain they're a "few times a year" kinda place. Varsity Bar on the ground floor does some greasy american-style foods, but a lot of you probably won't be able to walk in there without also ordering a beer.
Broadway/Hampden is home to a few other good places, a personal favourite of which is Burgermeister (though pricey...) which is north of the Architecture building opposite Boubar. Around this same area are a few smaller places like Jesters, Wok & Roll and Dome that may tickle your fancy.
If you're at uni after 5pm, and intend on being there all night I have two words for you: Broadway Pizza. Just... please....
If you open your options up to include 10 minute drives/bus-rides, west along Stirling Highway opens up Nandos, Subway, Hungry Jack's, Fish & Chips, Grill'd, Farmer Jack's and other (overpriced) places Claremont Quarter has to offer.
This section is getting out of hand and we probably need to put up some universal democratic voting system on eateries near/at UWA...
Scotty's Pro Tip: If you're intending to stay for a while save time by buying food for now and later and storing in fridges at the various faculty facilities (Clough Centre/Arts Club Room/Business etc.).
Attendance, Lectures & Tutorials
This is entirely personal, and of course some people are more than happy to study and learn one way. My main recommendation is this: Don't go to all of your lectures.
The reality of my previous statement is that everyone learns differently and lecturers all teach differently. Go to the first week of all of your lectures and gauge the methods and pacing of your lecturers. Some lecturers go so slow you become disengaged completely (First year DEFINITELY) and some so quickly you become disengaged because "wait, wut".
If you want to watch all your lectures, that's great, you can watch most of the lectures using UWA's Echo system that I'm sure will go down at some stage. We've got a guide here on how to download the actual MP4 lectures, it's probably best to download them onto your laptops at uni and watch them in VLC or something so you can alter the speed. If you've got one of those lecturers who doesn't want to make lectures available, we've got a list of all the ECHO links for all lectures in ECHO-capable venues here.
If you've got compulsory tutorials, labs or seminars; PLEASE GO. The amount of times I've seen people have to grovel, or just plain lose marks because they didn't go to something compulsory is astounding. If a tutorial isn't compulsory, again go to the first 2-3 and work out if this is productive use of your time. I studied engineering and science and would estimate that about half of my tutorials were students 2 years ahead of me copying out question solutions that were available online anyway and stumbling through any questions they were asking.
Scotty's Pro Tip: Don't leave for uni without headphones. Ever.
The harsh reality is that most lecturers with large classes are not going to respond to emails. A lot of larger units have discussion forums for this exact reason, and I'd encourage you to help other students if you get the opportunity, because chances are you're going to need help at one stage or another. Rushing down at the end of a lecture or abruptly going directly to the lecturer's office are methods you could try if it was urgent (note that some lecturers really don't take well to this).
My thesis supervisor created email groups for people he wanted to actually read emails from, and from what I can tell barely read the others.
Scotty's Pro Tip: If a lecturer can't make time to reply or see you, don't hesitate to go straight to the head of faculty/school if you deem is serious enough.
Navigating the Surrealist Labyrinth of Websites
UWA's online situation is a disastrous maze. I'm still not at the end, but I'll try to summarise the websites you should know how to use.
StudentConnect - Your official enrolment in units, courses, majors as well as the point of call for your grades and course status.
OLCR - Enrolling in your actual lectures and tutorials, unfortunately this is always done way too close to semester and makes planning impossible.... it's slowly being brought forward though.
Timetable - Allows you to search 'intended' unit times before you enroll in a unit or it is added to OLCR.
LMS - All of your units should now be in LMS, this includes lecture and tutorial material.
askUWA - Pool of common UWA questions and where you can open questions and have questions relating to general university problems/enrollments answered.
Faculty Websites - Learning your faculty website is important so you can find things like your "Course Pathway" which lists the units you should be doing to achieve a major. If history is any indicator, this will change every 6 months so you want to know how to find it so you can constantly rage and change your units every semester. I've linked the five available new course faculty websites below.
- ARTS - COMMERCE - DESIGN - ENGINEERING, COMPUTING, MATHEMATICS - SCIENCE -
School Websites - These are specific to your majors or sub-disciplines. For example the School of Earth and Environment or School of Physics are sub-disciplines within the Faculty of Science (Note there is still a confusing distinguishing between Life and Physical sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences).
UWA Library - Provides access to the catalogue of available UWA materials, both physical and online journals/articles. Part of this includes access to course materials online (CMO) where some units will have past exam papers available for download.
print.uwa.edu.au - While you're on UniFi, if you log in here (please not the port number in the link), you can print to the uni print servers using your own devices. Too many people don't know about this...
Groups and Societies
This one I can't offer much advice on other than that you can meet some like-minded people if you join a group that fits your own interests/activities. Similarly, doing something with these organisations can look good on your resume in a few years when you're applying for jobs. Practically though, joining a lot of these groups gives you access to microwaves and fridges....
But, just as important as these groups and societies, are hobbies outside of uni; this website was started by 2 engineering/science students 2 years ago as a hobby and has served as well as an outlet away from uni and as a hobby that can enhance and develop existing skills, as well as just being really fun.
On that note, we're often inundated with opportunities for people to go to events and write something about the experience and review local and international music and films. A lot of our first writing team are writing their theses or have graduated, so we're always looking for people to write some fresh stuff. We don't care about experience, or even talent really, that's not what we're about. So if you're interested in writing/reviewing for us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org just telling us what kind of stuff you're interested in (live events, music, opinion, food, fashion, etc).
Rapid-fire Tips and Information
- 99% of the time you will not be given solutions (specifically, not full-worked solutions) to past exam papers. This is because questions, or similar types of questions are re-used each year. It is not a requirement for a lecturer to give you full worked solutions to exams, ever.
- Google "UWA VPN" and set up on your personal computer if you want to use the UWA library services or UWA licensed software at home.
- Obtaining aforementioned UWA software is usually a nightmare. I unethically recommend torrenting the software if it seems like a pain to get through official means.
- Speaking of, torrenting/download speeds on Unifi are insanely fast.... Excessive downloading will get you noticed, but from experience, anything in the range of a few gigabytes per week seems to go unnoticed.
- You can connect up to 2 devices simultaneously to Unifi at the same time.
- If you cycle, always lock your bike up securely; they do get stolen.