Moving away from home and starting your university course is a major transition, and can be both an exciting and slightly intimidating time for many students. Getting prepared and planning ahead can make the whole process far less overwhelming. Make sure you’re feeling positive about your new beginning with these university preparation tips.
- Make a packing list. There are certain essentials you’ll definitely need to bring with you to university, and making a list in advance which you can gradually work through in terms of shopping and packing will help you feel more prepared and less panicked. You should get a reading list ahead of time for your course, so you’ll be able to buy your university textbooks in advance and maybe even get started on some advanced reading. Make sure you know exactly what you need and make a detailed list so you know that you’re packed and ready to go when the big day arrives.
- Everyone was new once. Being a first year student at a large university can feel really intimidating for some new students. Keep in mind that every single person on that campus was in your position at some point, and that most of them will understand exactly how you feel and empathise with you. If you get lost, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. If you’re unsure of a certain point that was made in a lecture and need a little extra explanation, ask for some extra help. Don’t be afraid to open your mouth just because you’re new – most people will be extremely understanding and accommodating, and will genuinely want to help you find your way.
- There’s plenty to do. One of the great things about university is the sheer mass of potential social opportunities out there to take part in. If you start out feeling a little lonely and unsure of where to find friends or meet people, try checking out the university’s societies and social clubs. They’re great places to get to know other new students with similar interests to yours, and will throw you into a situation with plenty of other potential friends without having to force any awkward social interactions. You’ll find a club or social group for pretty much every niche interest and hobby you can think of.
- The work does count. It’s easy to get carried away with the social side of university and forget that you’re actually there to study. This is a particularly common problem in your first year, as you can get caught up with meeting new people and experiencing life away from home and forget that there are actually lectures to attend. Try to stay on top of your coursework and tutorials from the very start and get into the habit of balancing your new social life with your studies so you don’t have to tackle last-minute exam anxiety when the time comes.
- Don’t panic. If you join your course and find that you’re feeling totally lost at the start, don’t immediately decide that the whole university idea was a mistake and run home. Take the time to talk to your tutors and reach out for more support if you need it – they’re there to help and may have some great advice to offer.