Going to University ushers in a new era to your life, but along with it comes upheaval and some serious lifestyle changes.
Your support network, friends, accommodation, finances and priorities all change overnight; and it’s natural for all of this to cause a degree of stress as you transition into your new life, routines and habits.
There’s no need to overload yourself… and here are our top tips for making sure you don’t!
Find out how to, not only, survive your first year but make it one of the best of your life!
MAKING FRIENDS – BE BOLD!
Freshers Week is absolutely full of opportunities to meet other newbies and existing students, as well as others on your course.
Take advantage of these occasions to meet as many people as possible, and don’t segment too heavily; university is your chance to make friends with others from all backgrounds, countries and cultures.
Remember everyone is the same boat and will be feeling nervous too! It’s perfectly normal.
Push your boundaries with those you meet and make an effort to approach others. Walking up to someone in a room with no invitation is daunting but doesn’t need to be. If you at least pretend to be confident, others will believe so – and it’s only the first “Hi, I’m…” that’s ever required to break the ice. Be bold and go for it – you have nothing to lose.
Societies and groups can be a godsend in finding new mates, and there’s no need to tie yourself down too early. Joining a soc doesn’t mean you’ll have to stick with it forever! It will, however, give you a group of like-minded people to hang out with and activities to do during your quieter periods. Read more in our student life blog.
SORTING OUT YOUR ROOM – YOUR LITTLE SPACE
72% of current students in the UK believe that their accommodation affects their study success. Your first year will likely be spent in halls and thereafter in student housing.
In order to survive your first year and indeed thrive in your first year we think a good room is important.
Halls can be difficult to get used to, but give it time. If it seems like everyone else in your house is up all night partying and disrupting you, don’t panic! It’ll likely ease off as they settle into their new routines and feel less pressure to make friends.
Make your room feel as homely as you can without spending too much money or time on it. This will help you settle in quickly but it won’t entirely eliminate any homesickness – and that’s OK.
Check out Argos’ homeware range, which is stylish, convenient as they deliver and good value for money. Plus there are some voucher offers too. They also have an Argos student discount scheme s0 check that out.
Debenhams also have some lovely ranges and usually have some sort of sale on in their home ranges. There is currently 20% off selected bed linen, but unfortunately no student discount.
Everyone feels down and misses home once in a while and that’s completely normal. It’s important to not spend every weekend or spare time at home though; this will only delay you settling into your new lifestyle.
The things worth investing money for your room include a nice duvet and comfy pillows, and decent curtains if there aren’t any already fitted. Both will help you get a decent nights’ sleep. If you think you can keep it alive, buy a plant for your room: they’re scientifically proven to be mood enhancers and improve air quality.
If you can’t keep it alive… try a cactus for a low maintenance room feature!
FINDING YOUR BEARINGS – TAKE A WALK
The internet and social media have left us all pretty reliant on online mapping but if you’re moving somewhere new, put down the phone for a few hours.
Spending an afternoon wandering around your new locale will help you identify places to hang out, eat, drink, shop and see the sights… and will come in handy when later you’re at a loose end or in need of plans. This doesn’t need to be done solo, either, and makes for a great excuse to invite out someone else.
Finding your way around campus can be difficult too, but less fun to manage. Don’t be afraid to ask directions and nip into the Student Union if you’re really stuck. Feeling too silly to ask for help should never be an excuse for missing a lecture or event!
Keep reading our first year university survival guide for more little tips
STARTING YOUR STUDIES – EXCITING TIMES
It’s all too easy to have too good of a time at Freshers Week events and sleep through classes the next day – but this is not the first impression you want to give to your professors or your classmates. Even if you’re feeling peaky, make sure you’re in the class and with all of the right equipment to start on your studies.
If at any point you feel that you’re struggling or are out of your depth: don’t panic. Instead, have a chat with your professor (via email if you’re not comfortable doing it face to face) and seek advice. Universities have lots of programs in place to help you and keep you on track.
The subject you’ve chosen to study at university is one you’re passionate enough about to follow for the next few years so don’t throw this opportunity away. Starting behind will only make it more difficult to catch up later on.
KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR FINANCES – DON’T PANIC
Of course, financial matters are a big part of student life and famously… you’ll be broke. This shouldn’t mean that you have to stop anything you’re doing however and shouldn’t limit your opportunities. Spend smarter, not harder.
Using resources such as Student Discount Squirrel will allow you to maintain all of the fun and function of student life while not draining your bank account and living in an overdraft every month. With a little coordination, you can save money on everything from groceries and everyday expenses to nights out and study essentials such as laptops and computer equipment.
You’ll need to remember to check online or in your emails for discount codes and keep an eye on your inbox for new offers. Set Student Discount Squirrel as your homepage so it’s at the forefront of your mind every time you shop online. Read our student money blog as well.
Frequently Asked Question About Settling In and Your First Year At University
Here are some of the most popular questions we get asked.
Does your first year at uni count?
When it comes to things like your studies – not so much, it’s more about finding your feet and getting used to the style of teaching and ways of working. Many find it very different to college and school teaching – there is much more onus of you; it’s your life and your choice to be there.
It does count in terms of social life and settling in. You will meet many friends that you keep for life and maybe even find a date (reading our student dating tips), many of us at Student Discount Squirrel found our first year was about personal develop, learning to fend for ourselves, cook (check out some great student recipes), do your own cleaning – basically become a young adult!
What percentage of students fail their first year at university?
There isn’t a set percentage and we don’t like to positive on failing. Academically the first year is often not important so you won’t be failed unless you are not turning up or submitting your work. Don’t forget the university choose you, they want you to do well – they are not looking to fail you.
Some students may decide to leave after a year as the course is not for them or they want a change of direction but that is often more of a personal choice.
In your first year, we recommend focussing on you, your mental and physical health, relaxing and enjoying – the work can come later.
Why is the first year of university so hard?
Many people find it hard as it’s a big upheaval but if you follow the tips in our guide we are sure you’ll be fine. Remember everyone is in the same position and millions have gone before you.
Will I find it hard to make new friends when I go to uni?
No, remember that you already have something in common with these people in that you have all chosen this place to study – so there is common ground. As we mention being bold and relaxed is the way forward. Just be you and you will be fine.
Summary Of How To Survive Your First Year at University
Your first year at uni can seem daunting – a new place to live, new people and often far from home – but there really is nothing to be scared of. You will soon to get get to know people and settle in. Soon and one day it will feel like home and you’ll be enjoying yourself.
The first year is brilliant you get to meet new friends, explore a new place, new possibility, you are young and have your life ahead of you! You’ll love it and there is always advice and help out there. We hope you have enjoyed the survival guide now go and enjoy it! Much love x
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