If you are having a bit of a wobble, please understand that you are not alone, and that the University is here to help.
Below are some helpful tips that we’ve found help students (including myself) settle:
- Make your new room feel like home- it should feel comfortable and special to you. Buy new bedding, stick your favourite photos up and make it feel like your space. The first things I’ve always done when moving somewhere new and strange is make my bed, it helps me feel safe and at home and also means that I don’t have to worry about it when it gets late!
- Be brave! Make an effort with your flatmates and those on your course- by meeting up for coffee, cooking, eating or studying together or going out for exercise. The chances are they are feeling similar to you and will be grateful for the opportunity to get to know you better. When I spent a year in Japan, I distinctly remember my now best friend and I meeting because she took the chance to speak to me and I was SO grateful that she did because I had spent the first 48 hours feeling terrified and alone. As soon as she said hello I felt so silly for not speaking to her sooner!
- Plan a weekly routine to keep you busy, active and organised. It’s easier to settle and feel at home somewhere when you do a similar thing each week. Going through a big change such as starting University can throw good habits and routines out the window- this in turn will make the change feel even bigger.
- Do not worry if others appear to be making more friends than you! Friendships take time to form and once things settle you may find that those people you met on your first day you’ll never speak to again! I met a lots of people in my first few weeks at University (way back when!) and only a few of them ended up being a true life-long friends (one of them I never thought I’d like!). I also found that I didn’t particularly ‘click’ with anyone in my course, however I met some amazing friends in my halls and through the Students’ Union. One of my favourite people in the world I didn’t meet until my fourth and final year, so I guess what I am saying is you will make lots of friends, of various levels, throughout your time here- some instantly and some slowly.
- Get involved in everything that you can! Seize all the opportunities that come your way! This is something that truly believe all students must do. These next 3-4 years are going to be the last time in a long time that you’ll have the time and energy to do so many things, and the last chance that you’ll really be offered such wonderful and diverse experiences! You are paying a lot of money to be here and you mustn’t waste it! I tried and did lots of random things that I’d never done before, simply because I could, the chance was there and I knew if I didn’t at least try it I’d never know! By getting involved in sports, societies, volunteering, course representation, campaigns, student politics, travel, fundraising you are giving yourself more opportunities to meet like-minded people in situations outside your accommodation/course, plus it makes you FAR more employable.
- Don’t visit home.. yet! When you are feeling unsettled and are missing home, it’s natural to feel like a trip home will help. Unfortunately it won’t, it will just make you long for it more! I remember once crying in my bed and making a deal to myself, if I can just stick it out until Christmas then I can leave and decide not to come back,.. and then the following day I signed up for a sports club and I never considered it again! Another good tip is ask your family or friends from home to visit you instead- show them around, let them experience and be part of your life here.
The most important thing to remember during those days where you don’t feel too great, is that we are here to help you, we care and want to make things better for you (if we can). For all the details about support at the University, check out this blog.
Posted in Supporting Students