Heading off to university this autumn? People are probably telling you you’re about to have the time of your life, and it’s likely they’re right. But moving to a new place is a big deal and getting started can be scary. We’ve complied a few handy tips for new students to ensure the move is as smooth as possible:
Don’t skip lectures (yet)…
Go to your first week of classes. Now, to be clear, we’re not advocating that you EVER miss classes. However, in reality, it’s unlikely you’re going to achieve a 100% attendance record, especially if this is the first time you’ve had full autonomy to make your own decisions. So enjoy it, but don’t enjoy it too much. Your first week of lectures will cover your need-to-know info, like reading lists, course structure and who’s who in the department. You also don’t have any friends yet, so you really do need to be there yourself to load up on information.
- Be friendly
On that note, making friends is the crucial first step to settling into your new life. Introduce yourself to people and take part in the many fresher’s week activities on offer. If you’re moving into student halls, prop your door open and spark up conversations with neighbours and other passers-by. Remember that everyone is in the same boat –so be the brave one and make the first move. People will be delighted to talk to you and you’ll soon find yourself the kingpin in a group of nervous newbies.
- Minimise the move
No matter how excited you are to head off to uni, emotions will be running higher than you think on moving day, both for you and whoever has the unenviable task of helping transport all your belongings to your new digs. Fancy avoiding multiple trips, frayed tempers and cramped uncomfortable car rides with emotional family members? Hire a van to keep the move easy, quick and clean. Or don’t, and just spend the day making your mum cry instead.
- Say goodbye to high school you
If you’re moving to uni straight from school, it can be hard to leave the past behind, whether your memories of secondary school are great or terrible. But university is a different kettle of fish, with people of many different ages, backgrounds and nationalities all arriving to study together. This is a chance for you and everyone else to make a fresh start, to expand your horizons and show off your individual personalities. Respect other people’s choices and leave behind that dinner-hall clique mentality.
- Nail the to-do list
Don’t even think about it. Just do it. Student loan paperwork, registering with a doctor, setting up a bank account, sorting out your online bill payments and all the rest of that irritating life admin has just begun. Alone, each task on the to-do list is easy, if not a little mundane. But if you let a pile of unresolved admin build up, it becomes an insurmountable hassle mountain and before you know it, you’re out of pocket (life lesson #1 – unresolved admin always somehow ends in you being out of pocket). Don’t get into bad habits – deal with your to-do list first chance you get.
- Don’t miss Freshers’ Week…
…Or you won’t make any friends until next year. Ok, that’s not true, but you will find that many friendships – however long they may last – are forged during Freshers’. You’ll feel more alone in your…well, “alone-ness”…if you arrive once everyone else has made friends (as opposed to at the start of Freshers’ Week, where everyone is alone and desperate at the same time). Look, if you need to miss it, it’s not a big deal. Just try not to.
- Learn to cook
You don’t need to become Jamie Oliver overnight, but getting to grips with a few “signature dishes” can go a long way. Doing a crash course in basic favourites will help stop your homesick belly rumbles and will impress new housemates in the process. It’s also much cheaper and healthier than relying on takeaways and ready meals and gives you heaps of Instagram material.
- Join a gang
Ok, it’s not a gang as such, but university is a hotbed of clubs and societies spanning every type of interest imaginable, including sports, travel, politics and volunteering. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge, discover new interests and make new friends. It’s also the perfect excuse to avoid your house if you happen to have a problem with annoying mice and/or flatmates. And you can probably get away with calling it a gang if you really want. Truly something for everyone.
Looking to make the most of your summer before you head off to uni? Check out our other posts for inspiration: