University is the biggest thing most people will do and there’s no denying that it is scary and exciting at the same time! This is a massive change and even the most mature and confident of students feel nervous.
Homesickness is normal (and actually expected) so everything will feel strange – expect to feel outside your comfort zone for a little while. It’s ok to feel like this and don’t feel angry or upset with yourself – this is totally ok.
All students will feel the same as you even if they don’t look like they are. Everyone (including you) will try to hide their worries so don’t believe that you are the only one; you won’t be.
Don’t lock yourself away – go out and talk to other students even if you don’t feel like it. Talk to people in your hall, at lectures and seminars, the SU and in the library. Other students will be happy to chat about what they’re studying, where they’re from, what’s the best night out they’ve had so far so go on, break the ice!
If people ask you to go out to events or just food shopping, go even if you don’t feel like it or are feeling a bit shy. This will be a good chance to engage with others and it’s very likely that you will enjoy it more than you think.
Keep chatting to lots of different people until you find people you really connect with. University has many different types of people from loads of different backgrounds with different opinions and interests. This is your chance to meet people from every walk of life – don’t limit yourself to just speaking to people like you.
Getting involved in Freshers week is always a great experience and full of brilliant day and night events. There’s always some great nights out at the SU club but there will also be fun activities to get involved with in the day. Every SU has loads of events which aren’t alcohol related so if drinking isn’t your thing, no problem.
Ask your new friends to explore your new surroundings with you. Get out and about in the local area – check out the local shops, the market, find where your local cinema, bowling or Nandos are (other restaurants are equally as good!). Getting your bearings in your new city will make you feel grounded and help you to settle in.
Look at joining societies and clubs at your Students’ Union – there is literally hundreds available and there is bound to be something that appeals to you. If not, you can even start your own society.
Also explore any extra support the Students’ Union can offer such as mentoring programmes. This will help you connect with other students who are likely to be second or third years who have loads of experience to share. Finally there will be the chance of volunteering in the local area. This will help you give back to the local community, feel good inside and make some great friends all at the same time.
If you’re living in a student hall, there’s a good chance that there will be activities which will help you settle in and make friends.
Fall into a pattern of going home that works for you during the first term. For some students, they go home every weekend as they have a job or partner or they just want a break from uni and this works for them. For others, they find it upsetting to go home so much and actually feel that they are missing out on uni life. Explore your feelings and talk to friends and family. Do what feels right for you.
University is a brilliant experience but it is a massive change and will take time to get used to. Give yourself time to settle in but do get involved – there’s loads of fun to be had! Remember this is your experience, do what feels right for you and you will never look back!