Tips for settling in at the university
Coming to university is no joke. From finally becoming an adult, living without parental restrictions, and balancing the gruelling decisions of whether to spend the night doing your readings or going out to Friendship Inn (not based off any personal experiences), university can be overwhelming, but also exciting. I’ve compiled my top three pieces of advice for new students which I found has helped me and made sure that I got the most out of my university experience!
Be willing to take risks
University is the perfect place to start doing everything you’ve wanted to, away from the critical eye of people who you’ve grown up with and to start exploring what you like. So do everything! Take the plunge and really immerse yourself in everything the university has to offer- it’s one of the best things you can do as a fresh faced first year. University ultimately is as much as you want to put into it- and you don’t want to be kicking yourself in your final year for not doing something. So, take the risk- go to that job fair, talk to that person you’ve always wanted to in halls, and start doing that sport you’ve always wanted to- who knows what it might lead to? Sure, I’ve taken risks at university and sometimes they haven’t paid off, but I feel better off knowing that something didn’t work out than living in regret thinking about what I could have done.
Join a society
As a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old with anxiety coming up to university from Wales as the only person in my friend group who dared study in England, I felt the pressure of being alone and having to make friends to survive. But I put on a brave face and went to a social by myself, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Societies are a great, casual place to meet people who have similar interests as you, no matter how niche or broad. A lot of them run special events to involve new members and they all offer a plethora of activities so there will be a society out there for you, I promise you that. Often, you’ll end up forming lifelong bonds with people you meet at societies. My sister met her now husband at a society in Manchester and half of their wedding attendees were people they’d met there- well over 6 years after they’d initially graduated!
My key piece of advice is to join two societies: one for a hobby that you already like and one for something that you’ve always wanted to do. You might discover you have a hidden talent for Badminton, or you could fulfil a desire to finally get involved in some well worth it volunteering. Try as much as you can! It will work out.
Develop healthy habits early
Telling a new student only a few months into their university experience to start creating study plans might seem a bit cruel, but after watching several of my friends crash and burn after trying to write a 2000-word essay in 4 hours, it’s never too early to start. There are several benefits to having a healthy routine, the main one being that you have a solid foundation and structure to your days.
Whether you’re studying a STEM subject and have to put theorems and equations into practice, or a humanities student who has to read articles, practicing every week and dedicating a bit of time every day helps immensely.
It’s also important to have a healthy social life, however you wish to define that. That might mean having one day where you don’t work at all, dedicating a few hours a day to a hobby, or going out with friends for a well-deserved drink. Creating a healthy relationship between the time you spend working and the time you spend leisurely can ultimately make or break your university experience. Start early and it will pay off immensely!
I hope these little insights into how you can improve your university experience help you and inspire you. Go out there and make a difference to your life, you can do it!
Written by Zoe, current BSc Environmental Management at The University of Manchester