Settling into your university town
So you’ve got your grades, your university place is confirmed. If you’re lucky, you’ve also squeezed in a great holiday. Now comes the part where you move to a completely different city and maybe even country. You pack up your items and wave goodbye to your loved ones.
Students react in various ways to this – to some, it’s massively exciting and to others, absolutely terrifying. What you can expect to find is that it will be different to what you are used to, not only because you are in a different place, but because as a student, you will be living a different sort of life.
During the first few weeks, you need to expect to be finding your own routine – it won’t come naturally. So get some things straight in your head, and it will fall into place:
Bedding/towels – Do you need to bring bedding/towels to your university? Decide how often you want to change these things to be hygienic.
Washing – Locate where your washing machines and dryers are, how to use themand set yourself a day at least once a week where you will absolutely do your washing! Make sure you always have some spare change if they are coin-operated machines.
Food – Locate the local supermarket and buy in some essentials, as well as some treats to get you through the first few days.
GP – Go to the GP surgery recommended by your university as soon as you can, so you know exactly where it is and make sure you get registered.
Explore – Do a walk of your college/campus to start to get to know it and to see if you discover any hidden gems! Learn the location of your café/bar, yourcommon room, your dining hall (if applicable), your mailroom.
Town – Likewise, do a walk of your university town so you get a feel for where all of the essential shops are in the vicinity – supermarkets, post offices, chemists, healthcare shops.
Prepare – Know exactly what you are required to physically bring to your lessons/lectures/supervisions and make sure that’s all prepared before you arrive.
Plan – Try to have a vague idea of how the next week will unfold academically as soon as you find that out – keep a planner so you don’t miss any deadlines and so it’s easier for you to get into a routine. Get to know where all of your libraries are and how to use them.
Talk – If you can, try and talk to older students who are doing your subject to see what they’d recommend you doing in the first few days/weeks, and where they are now. Also try to pinpoint those doing your subject in the same year as you – you’ll be spending a lot of time with them.
Be open – Meet as many people as you can in the first few days. Leave open your door open, invite people in and be confident – no-one knows what they are doing and so you will not be embarrassing yourself.
Keep an open-mind – It’s easy to latch onto someone, particularly if you are an international student and they are from the same country as you, and not make as much effort with others you meet, but keep your mind open to everyone you meet both during and after fresher’s week. The chances are that your friendships will have completely changed within a few weeks and definitely by the end of the year.
Be yourself – University is the best time to learn more about yourself and to be accepted for who you are. Don’t go in with preconceptions, or trying to be someone else.
Have fun and be safe – There will be a lot of drinking, clubbing and other things going on, which you may not be used to and which you do not in any way have to attend. Don’t let yourself be pressured – there will be many other things going on. That being said, feel free to try things if you want to – again, university is the time. If you do want to go out clubbing, make sure you visit the clubs in the daytime to make sure you know the way back, and never get separated from anyone.
Most of all – have fun. This experience won’t come back, and in a few weeks you’ll feel like you’ve been there forever.