Starting university can be an incredibly stressful time and can often have you imagining the worst case scenario. “What if I don’t make any friends?”, “What if I don’t enjoy my course?”, “What if I miss home?”. If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, don’t worry! It’s completely normal and the same questions are probably going through the heads of most new students. So why not let a wise old second year student (that’s me) calm your nerves with some tips for beating that Welcome Week stress.

1. Keep a journal

A journal is great tool to help combat stress especially when you’re feeling down. By being completely honest with yourself and writing your feelings down on paper, it becomes easier to find a solution on how to defeat your stress. This problem solving can reduce negative thoughts and make you feel a whole lot better. It’s healthier to pour out your emotions, even if it is just to yourself, than to keep it all bottled up.

2. Listen to music

When things are getting too much, locking yourself in your room and listening to some music can work wonders. Whether it’s the crashing tones of “Royal Blood” or the smooth psychedelia of “Tame Impala” (just me?), whatever helps you relax and forget the rest of the world. Music has the power to put anyone in a better frame of mind and that’s why every student should have a stress busting chill-out playlist on their Spotify.

3. Get your 8 hours

It cannot be stressed how much getting enough sleep lowers your, well, stress. Feeling tired and drained all day makes everything harder and therefore greatly improves the chances of you getting stressed. Feeling fresh in the mornings boosts your productivity and decreases your stress. Also, a 20-minute nap in the day will leave you feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to take on the world.

4. Ring home

A friendly, familiar voice can put so many of your problems to the back of your mind. Letting someone else know of your stresses can also help your productivity as they can offer suggestions on how to tackle them. On the other hand, a phone call home can remind you of why you wanted to move away in the first place, removing any feelings of homesickness!

5. Have a laugh

Spending time with your new friends is by far the best way to combat those first week nerves. It’s better to be proactive and sociable than sit in your room all day wondering about all the fun you should be having. You’ll quickly find that when you jump right in and share a drink and a laugh with your flat mates, all of your worries about university will go straight out of the window. As long as you have a smile on your face, life always seems a bit easier.


At the end of the day, every student feels stressed out at some point during their first few weeks of university and hey, that’s completely fine, going to uni is a huge life step. It would be strange if you didn’t get stressed! When everything seems like it’s getting too much though, just take a deep breath, remember these tips and everything should be alright.

Originally published September 14 2016