It is easy to feel uncertain when beginning your study journey – which is why it is important to know who you can contact for academic advice and assistance. For students new to UNE the first port of call is the First Year Advisor who ensures that they have the best information and support at their fingertips.

Jennifer Vaughan is the First Year Advisor for the Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education (HASSE) at UNE, and if you are in need of academic assistance she is more than happy to be a guiding hand. Here is a bit about what your First Year Advisor (FYA) can do for new students:

“The HASSE First Year Advisor is able to assist students in their first year in building their writing and referencing skills, and assisting in development of academic literacy more generally.”

As an FYA, Jenny also manages the First Year HASSE Academic Support Moodle site, which is a resource site and online mode of contact with the FYA for all first year students in HASSE. Students can self-enrol into this site via the block link on the right hand side of all 100 level units in HASSE. If you haven’t already, make sure to check it out!

While First Year Advisors are able to assist students with academic support they can also refer students to other support areas such as the Academic Skills Office, student services, the Wellness Centre, counselling, careers and the student access, and inclusion team.

If you are a new student grappling with your studies, Jennifer not only offers her service as FYA, but also this advice to get you started on your study journey at UNE:

  • “The first piece of advice is to read the Unit Assessment and Information guide for each unit you are enrolled in. This is a crucial first step in understanding what will be required of you in the unit and provides key and important information about assessment and so forth.”
  • “The second piece of advice is not to stress out when things seem overwhelming at the beginning, getting used to UNE and the Moodle online learning environment can be challenging, but it does get easier once you start engaging with your units.”

These initial tips have hopefully provide a start, but it is important to remember that it is always okay to reach out for assistance – for example, during your first assessment task, which Jennifer describes as a common time for new students to ask for help. When starting their first assessment task students sometimes ask about referencing, writing or formatting assignments correctly. If you are in this position remember that you are not alone and that your FYA can be an invaluable resource.

As a first year student it can often be difficult to approach UNE staff if you are nervous or worried about a certain issue, but there is no need to fear. When asked what she finds most rewarding about being a First Year Advisor, Jenny explained that when students are beginning university they can feel uncertain, just like when starting a new job, moving to a new town and new living situation. Jenny enjoys helping to demystify university and helping students to see that it is just a large system that they need to learn to engage with, and that they will get there in the end.

Jenny is off campus for Trimester 1, but she is always contactable for support via the FYA HASSE Academic Support Moodle site or via email at: Like all support systems, it is best not to wait too long to reaching out for assistance. The sooner you contact your First Year Advisor if you are in need, the sooner they can help you out. Most issues are a surprisingly easy fix – you just need to ask.