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first few weeks of university

What to expect during your first few weeks of university

I’ll be honest with you; starting university can be seriously nerve-wracking.

Many students will be leaving their home town and moving to a strange new place, away from friends and family. This can be daunting and isolating—just know that you are not alone. 

Here's what you should expect during your first few weeks of university.

The first few weeks at university will be a little awkward

Imagine it. A group of young people are thrown together and told to get drunk; it’s weird and it’s not for everyone. Luckily, universities are working harder now to provide activities for those who don’t want to go clubbing every night or even not at all. 

Another thing is: don’t freak out if you don’t find your life-long friends in your halls. It’s unusual for everyone you live with in your first year to remain your best friends. In the first few weeks of university, people tend to be the best version of themselves and can turn a little ugly, or just not for you. It’s ok if this is the case, there will be plenty of other opportunities to make friends. Join societies and suggest coffee dates, drinks or shopping with people you get on with from your seminars. Don’t worry about putting yourself out on the line like this. Everyone is just as desperate to make friends as you are! 

There will be a rush to organise houses for your second year; don’t feel pressured into living with people you’re not sure about

It’s a big panic, organising who you will live with in second year and it’s easy to feel stressed and rush into contracts with people you don’t really know. Take some time to consider your options, talk to different people—I can assure you that everyone else will be feeling just as awkward about it as you. 

If you don’t find anyone you want to share with in time, don’t panic. There are plenty of Facebook groups with students offering a spare room or looking for roommates.

It can be isolating and lonely at times but don't be afraid to ask for help

Many people will be posting on social media; showcasing their ‘crazy’ nights out or fun activities. Don’t worry if you’re not this active or social. It can be very easy to fall into a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings.

Your mental health is important, so put yourself first. If situations make you feel anxious or unhappy, don't be afraid to remove yourself from them. Don’t be afraid to talk to people if you’re feeling down or even the university counsellor. 

You will be exhausted and probably will get ill

Yes, Freshers' flu is a thing and however hard you try, you will get it.

Even if you're not going out every night you will be exhausted. Trying to juggle a social life as well as your studies is exhausting and will make you more vulnerable to illness. By week five, everyone will be coughing and sneezing so your chances of falling ill are pretty high.

I'd recommend going to university stocked up on Berocca and trying to eat a healthy as possible. Most of all, trust how you feel and give yourself a break.

Don't worry if you're not sure about your course
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Not everyone falls in love with their course the way they were planning to, it’s not unusual so don’t panic. Your departments are there to support you so use office hours to talk to professors and assess your options. You may decide to stick it out, switch course, or leave uni altogether and there’s nothing wrong with this. There are plenty of other avenues you can take in life, it doesn’t have to be one in academia. 

Most importantly...

Enjoy your time at university before you have to step out into the 9-5 working week. It may take some time for you to settle in but you will make friends for life and make some great memories, as well as study what you love.