Tertiary Experiences You Can Learn From


By Daphne Rasehei & Rositta Liosi – EMTV Online

If you’re heading off to university, you’re most probably not too sure about what to expect and you could be overwhelmed about every facet of uni.

Here are aspects of university that students (past and present) of various tertiary Intuitions in Papua New Guinea shared with us in interviews which we carried out for this article.

Unfamiliar Faces

Personal experiences allows us to say that every undergrad, or every person whose ever had a first day anywhere, has felt one or two hypothetical butterflies in their stomach every once in a while.

Thelma, a final year, Strategic Management, student at the University of PNG said, “I walked around silently; there was a lot of mixed feelings and thoughts rushing through my mind.”

Larry a Civil Engineering, graduand, from the University of Technology said, “Most of the kids coming in as freshmen all knew each other from High school and had already established friendships and it was nice seeing them looking out for one another during the course of our trip, from POM to campus. Coming from a school like POMIS other freshmen already had pre-determined or misguided views on, or of the type of person I was, so they kept their distance at first.”

TIP: Everybody is probably pretty nervous. You’re going to meet new people and most times people are more afraid of what others may think of them and therefore tend to keep to themselves.

Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations with people you wouldn’t normally talk to.

Getting Lost

If you’re going to be attending an institution you are unaccustomed with, you are bound to get lost.

“I live in Madang, I did not know where the main campus was, and I drove to 14mile only to find out the main campus was at 6mile.” Catharine, Accounting Student, Institute of Business Studies.

Elizabeth, at the IEA Tafe College added, “It was my first day at a new school and I couldn’t find the bathrooms.”

TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, if it means asking people you don’t know, step out of your comfort zone and ask. We’re pretty sure you’re going to find someone willing to help you.


You are bound to meet a hundred new people during your time at uni. Most of the people we interviewed said they had made life long friendships.

University of Technology student, Elijah said, “One thing I’miss the most about UniTech is the company of people, especially my friends. Being together after four years we’ve all become close. We’ve been around each other more than with our own families and friends.”

“The friends that I’made there have become family. Initially I didn’t see myself becoming as close as I am to them now. But today they spend more time with me and my family than friends I’met in high school,” said Maggie, a 2009 graduate of the University of Goroka

TIP: Be open minded, and welcoming, to all the new people you’re bound to meet during your time at University. You could meet lifelong friends.


A common problem faced by the people that were interviewed for this article mentioned the food as one of the main issues they faced at uni.

Olive, graduate of the Pacific Adventist University “The food! Because I wasn’t vegetarian.”

“I disliked the mess food; it was either uncooked or not enough. Thank goodness I brought my own rice cooker, where I greased taro and chicken from Lae Market, it was much better than the mess food,” stated Marie, a second year’student at the University of Technology.

TIP: The food probably won’t be as appealing as a home cooked meal you’re accustomed to. So stock up on non-perishables, they come in handy when you can’t stomach the mess food.

Long Lines

University of Papua New Guinea, Accounting student, Elton shared his experience, “I have never had to stand in line for more than five hours in my life. The smell was unbearable. And it wasn’t even a line; it was more of crowd of people shoving themselves into a tiny door.”

TIP: Always take a bottle of water with you; make sure your phone is fully charged (have a power bank in case). Take a book or have music to keep you busy while you’re waiting.

And in case it gets pretty smelly, don’t forget deodorant.


“My mother cooked cleaned and did my laundry. Learning to do these things on my own was a huge challenge.” said Divine Word University, Journalism student, Horrace

“As time passed by I was able to adjust and progress despite whatever the conditions were, I considered it a learning experience to not take things for granted and to appreciate what you have.”

TIP: Embrace the change. This is the time for you to learn how to take care of yourself. You actually appreciate the little things you took for granted whilst at home.


It can at times become more about your social life than academics.

“Wanem samtin mi wokim lo skool blo mi em blo wok moni blo mi, family blo mi na in the long run meri, na pikinini blo mi.” (Whatever I do in school, I am doing for my family. And in the long run for my wife and children), said Julius, 2014 graduate, PNG University of Natural Recourses and Environment.

Lisa, third year, University of PNG said “I learned the importance of staying focused and the value of education.”

TIP: Stay focused. When you’re in university you have a lot of freedom and you can easily get distracted.

“Prioritize your time and activities. School work first and leave fun for the holidays.” Lisa, UPNG


As the saying goes ‘Procrastination is the thief of time’ there is no better place to learn this lesson than in uni.

Vince, a third year, computer science student, Divine Word University said, “I had the hardest time catching up with the other students because I always put off my studying.”

Erica, University of Papua New Guinea, “As much as I tried to hand in assignments on time I was always a day or two late because I never started on my assignments when I was supposed to.”

TIP: Give your studies priority and don’t procrastinate. Make working hard become a habit, a serious kind of fun. Set time aside, probably an hour or two in the evening for your work, The earlier you start, the more comfortable you are when it comes to approaching due dates of exams and assessments. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.

*(Names have been changed as per the wishes of all those that were interviewed for this article.)


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