Heading off to university is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. On the one hand, the world is at your feet, giving you a sense of freedom and your first taste of the adult world. On the other hand, you are losing the comforts of your family home and entering an unfamiliar world with people you have never met before, in a place you may never have been to before.
Chances are, you will enjoy your time at university. You will take courses that will lead you to an exciting career. You will make lifelong friends, and possibly even a lasting romantic relationship.
Whether your nerves are in shreds or you are a firecracker of adrenaline excited to make the move, here is a handy guide to surviving the first few weeks of uni life.
Before you get there
As soon as those dreaded exam results are in, your chosen university will be in touch with you to confirm your place. The information you are likely to receive will include a map of the campus, accommodation details and a guide to registration. Read the information you receive carefully, and make sure you understand what is being asked for you. They may include forms for you to send back to them, so do it promptly to cancel out any administration issues.
Check out the university website and find out any other useful information you need from there. Also, there is likely to be a dedicated Facebook page set up, so join in and meet other students before you even set foot in the halls.
Consider your finances
Whether you have signed up for student finance, borrowing from the bank of mum and dad, or you have saved up your hard-earned cash, you are going to need to spend wisely.
Firstly, consider the course fees as they need to be covered first. Then there are the other essential items such as textbooks and computer equipment. If your accommodation is part of your university fees, Cashfloat has useful information for new students. When buying equipment, remember you do not have to buy everything brand new.
Check online for any discounted items on Amazon, or head to the university website where other students may have items for sale.
Unless you an accountancy student, the idea of budgeting could be a nightmare. However, there are money management apps you can download onto your smartphone which will help you manage your money.
You don’t want to get halfway through the term and discover you have run out of cash, so useful budgeting will help you plan for essentials, and let you know what you have left over for the fun stuff!
You will be entitled to discounts as a student, so using your ID, you can expect to find bargains on items such as clothing and computers, as well as getting cheaper rides on public transport.
Some students prefer to get a job on a weekend. It may cut down on your partying time, but it is safer than taking out a credit card or another loan. Check the notice boards at uni for available jobs.
There will be many people floating around who are all in the same boat as you, so they will be eager to buddy up with you as well. There is nothing worse than making no contact and finding yourself alone.
It is likely you will encounter those feelings of fight or flight when you arrive, and your instinct may very well be the latter. Again, you aren’t alone, so if you encounter any issue, your family may only be a phone call or Skype conversation away to give you same parental advice and comfort.
There will also be a student support team in place, so when you have a problem speak to somebody who will be able to identify with the feelings you are going through.
This is your first week at university. You will be overwhelmed, and you will probably get lost a lot as you explore your new surroundings. This is perfectly normal, as this week is all about your orientation in a new place.
Enjoy the experience, and find out all the answers to those important questions, such as ‘where is the cheapest bar’ and ‘how do I find my way home afterward.’
Head to the fresher fair where you will be able to see what clubs and societies are available. Find something that suits you, be it chess club or outdoor pursuits.
Expect quirkier choices too, and join as many as you realistically can to enhance your prospects of meeting new people. You will also be able to pick up plenty of freebies. You can never have enough pens, right?
Don’t lock yourself away in your accommodation and become a wallflower. Get to know your new flatmates and introduce yourself. You may be introverted by nature, but push yourself at the beginning, and hopefully, you will make a new friend.
Ensure you take part in all the important things such as getting involved in household chores. It is a good idea to make a rota, so everybody does their share of cleaning and cooking.
Be respectful of other’s people’s living space by not playing your music too loud, or coming home late at night. Be respectful of them and hopefully they will be respectful of you.
You may now have the freedom to eat what you want, but you should still consider your health, as you are going to need a lot of brainpower for the studying ahead. Eat a balanced diet, especially plenty of fruit and those vegetables you always fed to the dog.
Above all, have a good time and be responsible. These are some of the most exciting years of your life, so make the most of the opportunity.
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