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Moving to university is not just an educational change, it can be a complete shift of your geographical, cultural, and socio-economic norms.
These differences may make you nervous but don’t worry, most people also experience these feelings. Keep reading this blog to find out three key pieces of advice to help make the transition from school to university as easy as possible.
It’s important to remember that everybody’s experience of university is different. There is no singular way that university should be experienced and everyone has an individual focus which prioritises certain elements over others.
So although this blog aims to help you with your transition from school to university, remember that this is your journey and only you can define it the way you want it.
Tip 1: Practical Preparation
For many students, university is the first time that they’ve had the sole responsibility for cooking their own meals, doing their own laundry, and paying their own bills. If this is you, then it might be worth spending the summer before going to uni practising some key practical skills.
Maybe you have a favourite meal that instantly reminds you of home? Ask your parents to teach you how to make it so that when you’re at uni, you still have a taste of home away from home. You can only live off ready meals for so long…
Try increasing the amount of responsibility you take on at home so that when you leave home, the change won’t feel as significant. Do your own washing, hoover your own room, take out your own bins, so that when you go to uni these things are just a matter of habit. No extra sweat!
One of the biggest responsibilities you’ll have when at uni is budgeting. Before going, make sure you have a handle on your finances. Make a budget, figure out how much you can spend on food, university necessities, and social activities. It can be an exciting time when the first student loan drops but the excitement won’t last if you blow it in the first week…
Tip 2: Create a Support Network
Freshers’ Week can be a whirlwind of meeting new people and going to new places. But as things settle down after Freshers’ Week, try to start making connections with people who you think you might have something in common with and have similar interests in. A great place to start is by trying out new societies. These are fantastic for meeting new people who may share interests with you in a relaxed and social space. Most people are open to a chat so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone you haven’t met before!
With all the new and exciting things to experience at university, you may have some questions. Whether it’s about laundry or the library, there’ll always be someone to answer your questions. Universities have great support networks set up so even if you feel as though you’re struggling, there are many people around to help.
Never feel as though you can’t speak to someone. University can sometimes feel slightly isolating but try to remember that there are people to help. From your academic advisors to Nightline, there are so many people ready to support you in your transition from school to university.
Tip 3: Find a Good Balance Between Work and Play
Uni is all about the wider experience. Yes, ultimately you want to come out with a degree that you are proud of, but at the same time, there is so much you can learn outside of your degree. That’s why it’s important to make sure you leave time for doing things that you enjoy.
Whether that’s going to the local indoor climbing centre or just going for coffee with your friends, it’s essential to your wellbeing to keep doing the things that you love. And don’t be afraid to try something new!
Of course, you will still have to satisfy your academic requirements while making time for your social activities.
Try to set reasonable goals each day to complete so that you never become overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to do. By setting aside some hours every day to prepare for your next seminars and essays, you’ll reduce the chance of having a last minute stress which is never much fun.
First year is a good time to test what your perfect work/life balance is, so don’t worry if it takes a bit of time to figure out what works for you.
Be True to Yourself
University is a challenging time for many but it can also be a great opportunity to try out new things and make new friends.
There’s often a lot of pressure to appear to be a certain way or do certain things but the most important thing is to stay true to yourself. As long as you’re doing things that make you happy and support your wellbeing then you are doing a good job.