Have you’ve just moved into your halls or residence and are feeling a bit lost? First off, congratulations! Although the step from sixth form to university may seem daunting, don’t overwhelm yourself: instead, make a solid plan on how to make the most of your time and embrace the new challenges waiting for you.
It’s undeniable that you’ll go through many changes during your three years at university; some of them will be related to your studies and others to your personal life, but they're nothing you can’t face on your own and with support!
Manage your workload
First off, you’ll have to learn how to handle the workload on your own – that means making the most of online sources, heading to the library to work and learning how to get through reading lists efficiently. Perhaps for the first time in your academic career, you’ll be able to choose the subject you’re genuinely interested in studying, so get ahead of your readings and bring out your inner nerd: you’re the one in charge of your own future!
Remember that Student Services and personal tutors are available whenever you have a question or just need a friendly face to talk to!
Get into a routine
Have you always been organised or are you used to being in a steady routine? If so, you're ahead of the game! If you feel like it will take some time for you to get into a proper routine, don’t worry too much just yet. Some students don’t settle in until a few months after they start uni.
Soon enough you’ll be able to create a daily schedule that perfectly fits all of your classes and extra-curricular activities. You’ll realise that following a proper daily routine will allow you to get all your work done on time, whilst enjoyng your social life and getting plenty of rest (you deserve it!).
Don’t be afraid to knock on doors
It’s your first month at uni and it can be quite daunting to take first steps. If you’re still trying to find your way around campus and feel like you belong there, a good way for you to overcome your insecurities is to start knocking on doors.
I’m talking about knocking on your friend’s door, who might be a classmate you just talked to on your first day of classes and happens to be living in the same halls as you. Or knock on your lecturer's door to say hi and introduce yourself.
This will help you not only adjust to university life, but also make new friends and show that you care about your studies.
Ask your course mates to be your study buddies
If you haven’t found the study method that works best for you or you've realised that you can’t focus properly in your room, it might be worth asking a few of your classmates to get together to go over the notes you’ve all taken or just exchange thoughts on the course and the material you’ll be studying.
You will probably take other modules together in your second and third year, so it might be worth starting to create a network of friends that share the same interests as yours.
Why not suggesting a coffee together after your lecture? Or heading to the library for a quick review session?
Call your family regularly
Although you’ve moved away from home, remember that your family will always be there for you, whenever you feel sad about your first exam or enthusiastic about the friends you’ve made so far.
Try to keep in touch with them on a regular basis and update them about your life at uni: they are ready to talk to you and comfort you whenever you need support and a familiar voice to talk to.
A phone call with a family member or friend could change your mood right away and help you overcome all the negative thoughts crossing your mind.
Improve your time management skills
Are you thinking of taking a part-time job on top of your classes as well as joining a society? Being involved from your first month of uni is a great way to settle in and make the most of your experience. You’re thrilled, but at the same time you may now be concerned that you might not fit everything in your schedule.
It’s time for you to learn how to prioritise all your responsibilities and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Use a checklist to ensure you’re on top of your tasks and tick them off as you complete them. You’ll feel very accomplished! Why not rewarding yourself afterwards? A small break will allow you to relax and feel more refreshed when you move on to the next task.
As you start your first semester of university, you’ll encounter many differences – but don’t let that discourage you. Take advantage of all the opportunities along the way!