The transition to university
Whether you decide to move away or live at home, university is a huge transition in your life and there are new things to adjust to.
Your room and flat may feel quite strange at first so make them homely with photos or ornaments. Your flatmates will be feeling just as nervous as you, so try and introduce yourself to them. A good thing to do is to prop your door open so that you see people as they are walking past to have a chat; don’t isolate yourself. Suggest you all go out for a meal or check out the local area. Lots of activities are organised during freshers’ week so try and go to as many as you can. There are often alternative activities on offer if drinking isn’t your thing.
You’ll find you strike up conversations and friendships in all kinds of places, so be ready to talk on the bus, in a lecture or outside a club!
Try and participate in all the freshers’ activities as they’re a great way to get to know the people living around you. Buy your tickets in advance and then, if you change your mind later, you can always sell it on.
Clubs and societies
All universities in the UK offer different clubs and societies. These are a great way to try out activities or sports that you’ve never done before, as well as continuing hobbies or interests.
There are societies for different subjects, such as the Maths, History or German societies, and there are also societies for different hobbies and interests including performing arts, political societies, LGBT groups and charities.
During freshers’ week there is normally a fair for new students to see all the clubs and societies on offer and to find out more information about them.
Going to lectures
All the excitement of moving in and freshers’ week might make you forget what you’re actually at uni to do: go to lectures!
Lectures require background reading, note-taking and independent study. They’re often presented alongside powerpoints but don’t rely on printouts of the slides to get you through the course! It’s important that you go to lectures as you will miss out on valuable information.
Familiarise yourself with where your lectures are going to be and work out the quickest way to get between different buildings if needs be.
First few weeks
The first few weeks of university are pretty hectic; there are forms to fill in, clubs to sign up to and courses to enrol on. Once this has all settled down, you’ll be able to establish a routine. It may take you some time to adjust to learning independently and meeting deadlines; do be aware that universities tend to penalise work handed in late.
During the first few weeks, you’ll be introduced to the university computer systems as well as how to use library and online resources. You can also use this time to look around your university campus to find out where everything is. Explore your local area so that you know where to get your food shopping and what there is to do.
Managing your money
Looking after your own money is another big part of the transition to university. You’ll probably need to open a student bank account, which many give you benefits such as a free railcard or an interest free overdraft. You may never need to use your overdraft, but it’s a good safety net to have!
The first few weeks at university can be expensive as you’re likely to go out more and will have things like textbooks to buy, so make sure you keep track of exactly how much you’ve spent.
Universities have special support available if you have money worries or need advice on managing it, so do ask for help if you need it.