You’ve got your results, you’ve brought enough pots and pans to attempt to cook with and everyone’s talking about being a Fresher. It’s official, you’re off to university. It’s all very exciting; you get to try being an adult, while being able to use the excuse of being a student. There’s so many new opportunities awaiting you and you’ve just got to be brave enough to take them.
But what if you’re not excited? What if you’re nervous and a little bit scared? Well, that’s totally normal even if no one’s talking about it. Choosing to further your education is a really big decision and one of the biggest changes in your life so far. In this post, I’m going to give you some tips and tricks to make the emotional rollercoaster that is going to university as smooth a transition as possible. An education in getting an education if you will.
“So pack everything in the car, wave goodbye to your comfort zone and get ready for the next chapter of your life”.
Preparation is key and I’m not just talking about all the things that your mum keeps insisting you need to buy. One of my biggest worries before I moved was living with strangers. Whether you’re living in halls for the first year or renting private accommodation, it’s highly likely that you’re going to be moving in with people you don’t know and that can be terrifying. If you can, try and find out who you’ll be living with before you actually get there, so you can start getting to them. For those of you privately renting, you may have already met your housemates or at least talked to them about the place your staying. If you’re moving into university accommodation, have a look to see if there facebook page, group or something similar for people that are all in the same halls of residence. You may be able to find some of your flatmates by posting about where you’ll be moving before you get there. This can help to take away from the awkward introductions while you’ve got your pillow under one arm and your laptop in the other.
Once you’re actually there, go and say hello to people. This can be nerve-wracking especially if you’re not very outgoing, but remember that everyone is in the same boat that you are. Try leaving your door open while you unpack some boxes, and people will stop by to introduce themselves. Make some tea in the kitchen and offer your flatmates some. You’re going to be having similar conversations with everyone at first (Where are you from? What are you studying? Etc) so don’t worry about not knowing what to say. Moving in can be very stressful, but any effort put in now into getting to know people will pay off and you might even appreciate an extra pair of hands helping you carry the last few boxes from the car.
Students are known for partying and what better excuse for a party than moving in. That being said, before you go off on your wild night out, there are a few things you should do first. Do you know where you’re going or more importantly, how to get back? It’s worth having a quick google search while you’re sober so that you don’t get too lost on the way home. Definitely eat something before you start drinking – you’ll thank me later. I’d also advise that you have your flatmates mobile numbers so that you can all keep in contact and make sure everyone gets back okay, you might even save some money by sharing a cab. It’s important to stay safe while you’re out having fun.
If clubbing isn’t exactly your scene, then don’t panic – it wasn’t mine either. There’s a lot of pressure to live up to the student stereotypes, but there’s nothing wrong with having a night in instead. You could see if anyone fancies watching a movie or playing a game. The student union may put on alternative events like café meet ups or quiz nights. Whatever you’re into, you’re bound to find other people with the same interests, so don’t let your friends pressure you into anything you don’t want to do – those people probably aren’t your friends anyway.
Moving away from all of the comforts of home can be hard to adjust to but you’re not in this alone. I remember a conversation I was having with some of my flatmates in the kitchen after we’d been there a few weeks; I admitted that I was really homesick despite not living that far away and to my surprise they felt it too. I’d assumed that because they were partying all the time that it was all just fun and games for them but I was wrong and it took me being honest about what was going on in my head to see that. My absolute best advice would be to talk to someone if you’re struggling. Try giving your family and friends back home a call – you can bet that they’re missing you too. Although classes might not have started yet, there will be someone at the university that will be able to help you and they’ve got lots of experience at dealing with this kind of thing.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel about moving and there’s no set way of handling things. University is going to teach you a lot (it should with the price you’re paying, am I right?), but it won’t just be in your chosen field. You’re also going to learn new social and life skills such as living more independently and how to deal with being woken up by your flatmates coming home. It’s a hell of an adventure, and you never know where you’ll end up. So pack everything in the car, wave goodbye to your comfort zone and get ready for the next chapter of your life.
Charlie is a 22 year old media studies student in Brighton who has a passion for words but difficulty spelling them. They can usually be found in a corner lost in a good book, a long film or somewhere on the internet. As Charlie tries to figure out just how to be ‘an adult’, they keep a record of all the mistakes and victories online for you all to learn from. You can read Charlies blog here: https://thelittlesnowball.wordpress.com/
Charlie says: One of my favourite quotes comes from the film We Brought A Zoo “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
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