I was recently talking to a friend who was only an evening away from packing up the car and heading of for his first year at Uni. Although he told me he was excited, it was obvious that he was still understandably nervous about the start of such a big change to his life. This got me thinking of how I felt when I first started at Uni and how daunting it can be. So, as it is now the start of the first week and there are lots of new freshers joining the University of Leicester, I decided that I would write a little freshers guide with just a few points of good advice for any nervous freshers out there!
1) Don’t panic!
The first point is, admittedly, easier said than done but nevertheless is important to try and achieve. The thing to consider is that even though you might be feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, chances are, lots of other people are too! Uni comes with lots of new challenges and responsibilities but it is nothing to worry about. Feeling homesick is common and most people experience it to some degree. If you do really feel bad just keep telling yourself to try just one more day, everyday. Before you know it you will probably realise that you are loving it! Don’t worry if your don’t get along with your flat mates very well (not that this is common!). If they are not your sort of people it is fine, you will have lots of other chances to meet new friends.
Freshers week is designed to help you ease into Uni life and so don’t pile all the stress on yourself right from the very start by doing things you aren’t comfortable with. The most important thing in those first few weeks is to have fun and meet new friends! Sounds corny but is nevertheless the truth 🙂
2) Talk to everyone
Although meeting lots of new people may sometimes be quite pressuring, just try your best to be friendly and talk to everyone you meet. Chances are it won’t take long to find people you really click with. I know that I had never before made friends as quickly as I did in those first few weeks. In fact, I barely remember the process of becoming friends with most of my closest here at Uni; it just happened so quickly and easily!
Don’t worry if you don’t like sports, or you don’t like to get drunk, or you love to knit, or whatever! Students at Uni come from all walks of life with a whole variety of personalities and you WILL manage to find people that are similar to you who you can really connect with. One of the great things about being a student is that opportunities to meet new people arrive all the time. So, strike up a conversation with everyone to make sure you don’t miss discovering those friends who will mean the most to you.
3) Join a society
One of the easiest ways to meet new people is by joining a society. There is a massive range of societies available so you will be spoilt for choice! You could try something that you already know you like or use it as an opportunity to try something completely new. Student societies are a great way offering you the chance to try out new things easily. It is no uncommon for students to pick a new activity they have never done before and end up falling in love with it! Whatever you join you will have the chance to meet lots more people with the same interests as you.
Lots of people join up to societies at Freshers Fair where most societies will be present. However, if you don’t get to Freshers Fair or you miss a stall don’t worry, there are lots of ways to contact them. Most societies have a facebook page and various other social media site presences which are pretty easy to find, and all are listed up on the Union website. Take a look at my other blog for more about student societies.
4) Ask for help
The final point is a simple but important one. If you need to, ask someone for help. Lots of people are absolutely fine and might not need this point at all and that is great. But, if you are not, don’t suffer in silence. Go and find someone to help you, whether the problem is big or small.
It is not a bad to have to ask for help from someone, in fact, it is the braver and more intelligent thing to do. It doesn’t matter if no one else seems to have these worries or you feel that your problem is stupid or you feel silly for feeling like you do. If it affects you then it is is not silly and is worth trying to sort out.
Of course you can talk to friends and family about any issues you are having but your University will always be there to help you too. There are many different layers of support provided by the University. For any issues in halls the first point of call is your residential adviser, for any issues on you course or in general, you can talk to your personal tutor if you feel comfortable with that.
Student Welfare is an important service and is found in the Student Union building. And they can help you with anything you need to talk to them about. Anything. They will listen to what your issue is and point you to the person you need if they can’t help themselves. Services such as Nightline, a student run listening service, can also be a great thing to use if you want to just get something of your chest.
So there we are. Chances are you won’t even need this guide. You will arrive and everything will just fall into place. However, if you ever feel a little lost, just remember these points and hopefully you can get back on track to a fantastic time at Uni, which for me has been the best time of my life so far 🙂