Are you heading off to university this year? You’ve probably heard lots of stories of wild fresher’s week parties and flatmates who become friends for life. You’re probably really excited… but also quite nervous. Don’t worry, because that’s completely normal. Going to university is a big step with all kinds of new responsibilities to face, whether it’s getting yourself to your lectures on time, making new friends or cooking yourself a decent meal (beans on toast doesn’t count).
It might take some time before you feel fully settled in, but you’ll also have loads of fun during the first few months meeting new people and figuring things out together. You still have some time before your first semester begins, however there’s no harm in getting a head start! To help you out, we’ve brought you our top tips and advice for starting university.
Embrace Fresher’s Week
Whilst Fresher’s Week has traditionally been a somewhat boozy affair, statistics show that over 25% of young people do not drink alcohol at all. If you’re not much of a drinker, don’t worry because your university will also offer Fresher’s Week events that don’t involve alcohol such as cinema evenings, bowling and pizza nights. Make the most of it and don’t feel pressured to join in with any activities that you aren’t comfortable with. Remember, you’re more likely to meet like-minded people by participating in activities that you actually enjoy!
University societies exist for just about every subject under the sun, from the conventional sport variety to the weird and wonderful. Whether you’re looking to pursue old hobbies or develop new ones, make sure to attend the societies fair and get excited about all the opportunities available. Remember that everyone is in the same boat, just as nervous and wanting to make friends, so don’t be afraid to show up and join in with society meetings.
Tips for Living in Halls
Sharing a kitchen can be great for socialising but be careful to respect other people’s space. When living with other people, little things such as leaving a pan to soak can cause arguments – remember you’re no longer living at home with parents to clean up after you! And don’t panic if your flatmates aren’t everything you hoped they would be – you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to make friends. If you have any issues whilst staying in halls, contact your Residential Advisor who will be able to help you.
Make the Most Of Your First Year
The first year can often be a little lighter academically than subsequent years, which makes this a great time to develop hobbies and enjoy your social time. One of the best things about going to university is getting the chance to meet new people. Developing friendships, contacts and networks will enhance your degree, boost your CV and could create new opportunities after graduating. You don’t have to be an extrovert to enjoy university life but try to find activities to pursue outside of lectures.
Remember to get ahead with your reading and respect deadlines so that you don’t fall behind. Whilst it’s good to have fun during your degree, time management is important. You need to be able to prioritise work over socialising when you need to. It’s a good idea to join your course Facebook group where you’ll be able to ask your peers for help if you’re struggling with any work. You’ll be given much more independence in university that you had in school; this is your degree and nobody will force you to attend your lectures, make it work for you!
Learn To Budget
You might not have had to budget before, however, at university, it’s going to be essential. Make sure that you work out how much you have going in and out of your bank account, and maybe find a good budgeting app to help you keep track of this. As a student, you’ll be eligible for discount in tons of shops, restaurants and bars, so remember to use this to your advantage!
Learn To Cook
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential whilst at university, especially when it gets to exam season. Before you leave home, learn 3-5 easy dishes so that you aren’t reliant on takeaways and ready meals when you get to university. Also, make sure to buy fruit and veg – your body will appreciate the nutrients, especially after one too many drinks which might happen during fresher’s week. Save money on your food shop by buying own label instead of branded foods and by cooking meals in bulk and freezing the extra portions.
It’s okay to miss home and your family but try not to contact them so often that it prevents you from settling in. Talk to other people about how you’re feeling, as you won’t be the only one missing home, and remember to have a positive attitude and keep yourself busy. Once you settle into a routine and make a good group of friends, you’ll begin to feel much more at home.
Talking about your mental health is becoming the norm, especially for students. With the stresses of being in a new environment and the pressure to succeed academically, it’s common for students to feel down, anxious or stressed from time to time. However, if these feelings start to affect your daily activities including your studies, then make sure to get help. Most universities have a free and confidential in-house counselling service you can access, with professionally qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who can offer advice. Alternatively, talk to your GP who will also be able to help.