So, it’s decided. You’ve received your offer, booked your travel and begun the excruciating process of packing for university. Part of you feels determined, ready and proud of yourself for beginning this new chapter of your life…hooray for adulting!
The other part of you, however, is terrified. You keep revisiting the thoughts: ‘What if no one likes me?; ‘What if I hate my accommodation?’; ‘What if I hate my course?’, and it’s enough to put you off the whole concept of university and enter panic mode…It’s okay! Just breathe, how you’re feeling now is completely normal and I can guarantee that everyone else is in the same boat.
When I first started at the University of Salford I had a lot of anxiety about how I was going to get on in a big city like Manchester. Living on Guernsey hadn’t prepared me for the next few months of my life and I wish I had some sort of Freshers guide to follow! Well…say no more, because I have crafted this blog post with five tips on how to help you settle into university based on my own wonderful and weird experiences…
TIP 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
This is vital when it comes to moving to a new place, regardless of where you’re living. Research into what’s near your accommodation, whether it be a gym, a bar, mini golf…anything! Familiarize yourself with it all before you get there so being in a new environment isn’t so overwhelming. Knowing you’re that little bit more prepared will allow for you to relax and could be a great opportunity when it comes to making new friends.
Not only is researching into where you live a good idea, but so is looking at your course early. Discover what modules you like the look of, get yourself excited to start studying. Which buildings will you be studying in? What are my options when it comes to choosing my modules? What facilities does my university have that are available to me? This is your chance to study and excel in a course that inspires you, take advantage of that motivation!
TIP 2: BRING A PIECE OF HOME WITH YOU
For me, it was a stuffed panda with the name of ‘Cuddles’ that I’ve had since I was about six years old. It’s important to cherish the things that remind you of your family and your friends back home, don’t forget about them! It can also be quite off putting having a bare uni room, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there so why not make it as cozy as possible? Stick up some photos, add some fancy lights, do what I did and cover your bed in so many pillows and blankets that it’s actually a struggle getting into it.
It’s no secret that moving to university, for some people, is a huge step out of their comfort zone. The thought of meeting new friends, living with strangers and studying a brand-new degree are all quite daunting. But don’t worry, it’s completely normal to feel this way, just look after yourself. The more comfortable you feel the better, and the easiest way of doing this is to make your living space feel like home. To find out how you can style your new room and make it feel more homely, take a look at one of our previous blog posts: https://blogs.salford.ac.uk/made-in-salford/2018/04/29/how-to-make-your-student-room-more-homely/.
TIP 3: EXPLORE YOUR NEW HOME
So, you’ve made it! You’re in a completely different place and it’s nothing like where you used to live. Again, it’s okay! Different is good and hopefully you’ve done a little bit of research, so you know where a couple good spots are. But everything looks different online, so go and explore your new home in person. Take some time out of your day to walk about the town, around your accommodation or a park if there’s one nearby. Even just figuring out your route to university is a nice way of getting out of the house and familiarizing yourself with the area.
The likelihood is that your new home is going to be quite different in comparison to the one you’re used to. When I first moved to Salford, I had to adapt my lifestyle to fit in with how things work in the city. I wasn’t used to being surrounded by so many people and by such huge buildings. However, I didn’t let this overwhelm me, I embraced it and took advantage of everything available, and by this I mean ordering Deliveroo during the early hours of the morning. Your new home should excite you, so make the most of it.
TIP 4: SAY YES
It might seem way too easy, that’s because it is! The first few weeks of university are where you’re most likely to meet new people, but that’s only going to happen if you put yourself out there. There are loads of events during Welcome Week that will allow for you to get to know your flatmates, people from your accommodation or maybe people that you’ve met when taking interest in different societies. It’s super important that you seize every opportunity that comes your way, especially when it comes to making friends. The first push is always going to be a little frightening, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re surrounded by some amazing new people.
Don’t just say yes to meeting new people, say yes to everything. This is what you’ve been working so hard for, you might as well make the absolute most out of your education. Your university will give you countless opportunities that most people regret not taking once they’ve finished. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have said they regret not getting more involved at university, so learn from their mistakes and push yourself outside your comfort zone!
TIP 5: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
Even if you’ve done all these steps, pushed yourself and are still not feeling quite right about university, we are here for you. It’s completely normal to feel homesick or as though you aren’t fitting in, and there are people you can talk to about it. Getting in contact with your university or a lecturer you get on with is a brilliant way of relieving some of the stress and figuring out how to get past how you’re feeling. Just like most universities, the University of Salford offers excellent wellbeing and counselling services that are free and confidential if you feel like you want to speak to someone on a regular basis. If this is something you’d like to take a look at, visit our website at:
It is normal, especially in your first few weeks of university, to feel a bit isolated and homesick, and it’s okay to miss what you have back home. But you’ve come so far and sometimes it’s just about finding the motivation and courage to make the most of your experience. So don’t worry, you got this!