Today is the start of Training Week for the Residence Life Mentors (see the below picture), and as part of our preparations the team have been reflecting on our expectations when we started uni – and how the reality differed. A common theme to all the stories we’ve shared including excitement about meeting new people, uncertainty about study, worries about practical things like cooking and washing up – is that, we all found some parts of the uni experience which took us by surprise.
People often talk about university being the best time of your life, but it’s important to remember that they’re talking about a time period covering three or more years, and it’s really unlikely that every moment will feel amazing. Realistically, sometimes you’ll feel tired, or lonely, or homesick; sometimes you’ll have a cold or be behind with an essay. And if it seems a bit like everyone else is making friends and enjoying themselves and you aren’t, don’t worry. You aren’t doing ‘student-ing’ wrong. Most students feel like this sometimes, especially during their first term. So here are my top tips for adjusting to uni life:
- Make a plan with your family about when and how often you’ll be in contact – it can be really helpful to call home when you’re settling in, and it’s often reassuring for your family members to hear from you, too.
- Talk to your new neighbours about what you’re all expecting from uni life, especially if you’re sharing a kitchen or living in a twin room. Take the chance to share your perspectives and discuss practicalities, to help make everything go smoothly.
- Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’ve made dozens of friends for life in the first week. It takes a while to get to know people. Meet your neighbours; go along to some events during Freshers’ Week (there are over 800 to choose from); sign up to join some societies at the Activities Fair; attend all your academic induction events, and don’t panic – friendships develop gradually over time. (I can’t honestly tell you quite how I know most of my best friends from uni; they just sort of crept up on me somewhere along the way.)
- Homesickness, in particular, can take people by surprise – it turns out you can be homesick even if you’ve lived away from home before! The good news is that it’s something that passes. Explore your new surroundings, make your room your own, and give yourself some time. You’ll get there.
- If there’s something you don’t know or are struggling with, don’t suffer in silence – please do ask for help if you need it, however large or small the worry. If you’re not sure who to ask, talk to your Mentor when they visit, or drop by Residence Life office hours from 6.30pm every evening during term-time in Lafrowda House and Birks Central Block.
Basically, expect the unexpected; and be open to uni life even if it isn’t exactly what you pictured. It has a lot to offer, but don’t worry if it doesn’t all click into place immediately. That’s very normal – just give it a chance.
We’re really looking forward to meeting you all this weekend – see you soon!
Residence Life Helen
Now back to me to round this blog post off. Firstly a big thank you to Residence Life Helen for her informative blog post, she is certainly a lady who is very much ‘in the know’. Just to reiterate that the Residence Life Team are on hand to help you out throughout your time within our residences. In order to find out more about the Residence Life Team, who they are and what they do, please visit our website.
Thank you to the 13,000 of you who attended our open day on Saturday 6 September, it was fantastic to meet you all and I’m so glad that the sun was out. Don’t forget to see our virtual tours in order to take a peek at those rooms you were unable to see on Saturday.
On Friday, the Accommodation Office took much delight in having ‘Fruity Friday’. After all the cake, it was certainly welcomed by us all, which is why today’s blog picture is of some rather friendly bananas. (They had been sat at my desk for a while, uneaten and I decided to decorate them for your viewing pleasure!)