With university only just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to not just survive your first month at university, but how to make it enjoyable as well. For many students, moving to university is a daunting experience. You are left to your own devices; suddenly food doesn’t magically appear in the fridge, and you have to cook, wash, and clean for yourself.
Once the fun and buzz of freshers’ week is over, the anticipation for real lectures begins. However, the first month at university doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming. It doesn’t take much to make it a fantastic and worry-free experience: here’s how to make it one to remember.
Get to know the people around you
The first step is getting to know the people you live with. When you first move into your university accommodation it can be scary to think that you will be living with strangers for the year. Just remember that you’re all in the same boat and that everyone wants to make friends. Don’t forget the people living in the flats around you! Get yourself out there and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, even if it’s just saying hello to the person you’re sitting next to in lectures. It's inevitable that you won’t click with everyone, and you might not become life-long friends with your flat mates, but it’s a good place to start.
Before the hard work kicks in, seize every opportunity available to you. Don’t turn down opportunities, invitations or events in the first month. Even if you’re feeling tired after a long day of lectures, you will probably enjoy yourself and you will always regret not going to something, rather than going and it not being quite for you. Use Facebook events, or www.nearify.com to find the best events near you.
Explore your city and beyond
If you’re moving away from everything that is familiar to you, it’s important to make your new city feel like home too. Start by exploring your campus and then branch out and look around the city, discover the best coffee spots and bars; take your new friends with you for a great bonding activity. Before you know it, you won’t need google maps to make your way around the city. Most universities will offer trips during freshers’ week and beyond, so make the most of it and hop on a coach or train for a trip that you won’t forget.
A tip that everyone gets told before going to university, but one that’s important to remember. There’s a society for everything and everyone, so sign up to lots of them during freshers’ week, and then test them out in the following weeks. Try something new, you might surprise yourself and really enjoy it. Societies are great places to meet people other than those in your flat or on your course, and the variety of socials mean that it’s a great place to take a break from your studies.
Get into a manageable routine
Whilst university is mostly fun, it does involve hard work and studying. To stop the work from running away with you, getting into a routine will make it manageable. You will inevitably catch some form of the dreaded ‘freshers’ flu’, so take time out to look after yourself. Invite some friends round for dinner, or just take some time for yourself to relax. University doesn’t always have to be hectic and relentless: it’s all about balance. Manage your time and you will still be able to go out with your friends, without sacrificing that Monday morning deadline.
It's okay to ask for help
University is a fantastic opportunity to become independent and self-reliant. However, it can be easy to forget that sometimes it’s important to ask for help. Whether you’re simply lost or confused during freshers, need advice about managing your work or money, or if it’s for something more serious, there’s always someone to help you. For additional support, use www.studentminds.org.uk.
For more general information and advice about starting university, visit www.savethestudent.org.
By Bethan Clark - Student at the University of Edinburgh