Written by Imogen Byers
BA (Hons) Communication & Media
The first few weeks at university are challenging at the best of times: you are placed in a new environment with people you don’t know, going places you’ve never been and doing things you’ve never done before; if you’re not nervous about any of it, you must be some sort of superhuman! Do not fret if you feel completely swamped by it all, here are a few things to bare in mind for the settling in process.
Who can you talk to?
Luckily, all universities are aware of how daunting this time is and will make sure there is always someone available for you to talk to. This will vary from uni to uni but in general there will be at least one of these on your campus:
- Faith & Reflection Service– whether you practice a faith or not, the team are there to chat to you about any worries you might have, or even just to connect with a different group of people – accompanied by tea and biscuits of course.
- Student Support Services – most universities will have some sort of student support team and place to find them – at BU the best place to start is askBU at The Base. You are able to go and chat about anything you’re not sure about, usually that’s stuff like where to get part-time work, accommodation or finance, or even just general university housekeeping things like your timetable.
- Academic Advisor and Library support team – for all things study related: not enjoying your course yet, confused about units etc… your Academic Advisor’s main job is to make sure you are on top of it all. Especially at the beginning of the year with so many new people, they will be quick to respond to emails and really helpful. The library team can help signpost the most important resources for your course or first assignment.
- Student Wellbeing – For more personal things like homesickness, problems settling in and health worries, student wellbeing will be there to provide support without any judgement and a listening ear. I definitely recommend hunting down how to get hold of them in your first few weeks, even if you don’t need them at the moment, you might do later on throughout the year! The Students’ Union offer a free and impartial advice service too.
What can you do?
When I feel overwhelmed, I find it really helpful to get stuck into something I love doing and try to take some quiet time for me. For me this is singing, walks out in the country and cooking. Almost everyone I know would admit that they need a few quiet afternoons a week just to have some ‘down’ time to chill. If you are feeling really alone and stressed out, talk to people! Have a skype call with your old friends, family, talk to any of your course mates or flatmates you feel comfortable with! Just know that you are not alone. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from your course too, especially when the pressure is on if a deadline is approaching, so being part of a Club or Society gives you a different network of people to unwind and generally focus on something other that uni!
I hope this has been helpful and it’s not as easy as saying “just chill out” but I promise you are not alone and so many people will be around to support you if you need it!