The TL;DR guide to making it to university

When I knew that I wanted to be a dentist, I was 24; well out of high school, working as a dental assistant, and a little terrified at the decision I was making. During high school I didn’t exactly study the subjects you need for dentistry (read: except for English, I didn’t study any of them). It was a bit of a process, but I can sum it up in four little tips.

“If your dreams and goals get derailed, they're not dead. Derailed simply means off-track. Pick 'em up and put 'em back on again.” - Dan Pearce

Tip 1: Stay positive

Finding the silver lining is going to make studying and life a whole lot easier for you. It’s too easy to get swept up in the ‘I can’t’ mentality, but you’d be amazed what you can convince yourself not to do with that attitude. It’s corny, but believe in yourself.

Tip 2: Take every opportunity

Do you think it might help? DO IT. Particularly when you’re going for competitive programs, any inch you can get will be worth miles. For me it was rural entry, and listing my work experience as a dental assistant. UQ has made big changes to the entry options for rural students that are worth a look.

Tip 3: Know your options

It’s always safe to have a plan B. This is true for your entry pathway and your final goals. There are so many opportunities to make it to where you want to be at UQ; take the time to find out what will play to your strengths, and make a backup plan just in case. For me the year of tertiary study not only raised my GPA, but satisfied the prerequisites I needed at the same time.

Tip 4: Chill

Just relax, bro. It’s ok to have high expectations of yourself, and it’s ok to strive for the best, but don’t let it consume you. Your mental health dictates your success, and it’s important to look after yourself. I was surprised at the network UQ provides for mental health and student support. Take advantage of it if you need it.

University is an incredible experience and worth the effort. You’re going to build a wonderful career for yourself, and having a few hiccups along the way just makes for a better story to tell later on. So go for it!

"You have to get back on the horse that threw you." - Unknown

Last updated:
6 December 2017