Scared? Apprehensive? Worried you won’t make friends? Don’t even know how to cook a meal other than beans on toast? First of all relax because everyone else is in the same boat!
Every single fresher will be worried and most won’t be independent yet (I certainly didn’t know how to look after myself before University)! Breathe and have a read of my journey below and hopefully you will feel less scared (you’ll still be a bit scared but that’s normal!).
Try to widen your circle at the start and be as confident and eager as you can be. Talk to as many people as you can, think of new ways to make friends…don’t just speak to your flat, go speak to others within your block.
Go to the Freshers’ Bazaar and join a society or a sports club! Some of my closest friends now are from LSU Stage Society and AU Dance, so don’t miss out on the other ways to engage with new people that you have things in common with due to having similar interests! A society is a great way to switch off from your course and an excellent way to meet new people.
It may sound nerdy but a diary honestly really helped me during my first few months at Uni. I would put things to look forward to in there, which would help me through the times of home sickness, such as the next time I was going home or the times a friend from back home would come visit me – anything that I could look forward to.
I left it 3 weeks before I went home (feels like nothing but trust me its a long time). My brother advised me to stick at it for 3 weeks to try give me the best opportunities to make friends and to not escape and give up and go home the first weekend that I could. I had that 3rd weekend highlighted in my diary so I knew it actually wasn’t that long before I’d see home again.
Once you’re settled it’s likely that you’ll rarely go home! This year I’ve gone home at Christmas and Easter and possibly 2 odd weekends where I had family events on. University soon becomes your home, even though right now that concept will seem crazy to you.
One for the Parents
Q: How did you feel when I left for University?
Dad: “I wanted to turn the clock back to when you were 10 years old! I wanted to have all those years all over again, like taking you to taekwondo and watching you grow up.”
Mum: “I felt excited because you were going on a new adventure.”
Q: Did you miss me and if so how did you cope?
Dad: “As I’d seen Loughborough and how nice it was, that helped me cope with missing you because I knew you’d be having a good time”
Mum: “Yes but I coped with regular contact, particularly FaceTime. I found it easier knowing that you were happy”
How I felt leaving home
I really did miss home but by Christmas I was settled in and rarely missed home after that. You get used to it…trust me! All I’d say is make your room feel homely, take things that will make you smile. I took some photos of friends and family and put them around my room to make this strange room feel like it was my own!
With time you actually don’t want to go home for the weekend…you want to spend it with all these new friends that you’ve made (it’s your parents who will be wanting you back)! FaceTime is a beautiful piece of technology as well so use it!
It’s different to school
Be prepared for the leap in independence you experience at University! There are no teachers checking up on you…it’s all down to you. You will get out what you put in, so keep going to your lectures and keep on top of any work whilst still enjoying the social aspects of University life.
You have to take the initiative to email tutors if you need any help, as they don’t come to you. As an adult now, you need to use that independence…you soon get used to it so don’t worry about this too much just be aware of it!
Remember don’t be too scared…everyone is in the same boat! You will make friends, you’ve just got to be confident and talk to as many people as you can at the start. Just like school, groups start to form after a few weeks, so take the opportunity at the start where no one knows anyone to be the sociable animal that you can be and talk to everyone!
The more people you get to know at the start, the easier your experience will be. As time moves on you’ll realise who your true friends are and you’ll then stick with them, but keep your circle wide to begin with.
GOOD LUCK, I hope your journey is as exciting as mine has been and still is!