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:
- Chaplaincy– not just for religious students, the chaplin will be there to chat to you about any worries you might have or even just to chat to if there’s no one you’ve connected with properly yet(accompanied with tea and biscuits of course).
- Student support services – most universities will have some sort of student support services desk where you are able to go and chat about any problems you might have, whether they be about work, accomodation or finance, or even just general housekeeping things.
- Academic advisor and library services – for all things work related: not enjoying your course, 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.
- Student wellbeing – For more personal things like homesickness, problems settling in and health worries, student wellbeing will be there to provide impartial advice 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!
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.
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!