Your first year away from home can be exciting, but at the same time frightening and intimidating. You’re in a strange environment with few, if any, friends and miles away from mom and dad. But not to worry; here are 10 practical tips to make adapting to life as a university fresher less stressful and more fun:
1. Pack the Essentials
It might be tempting to bring all the comforts of home with you, but dorm space is going to be limited, especially sharing with a flatmate. Dorm room furnishings can be sparse: twin beds, a couple of chairs, small closets and tiny study spaces. Check the rules to see if microwaves, dorm fridges, and TVs are allowed before lugging the electronics to school. Limit your personal items to seasonal clothing and toiletries, but take a few family photos and colourful bedding, curtains and rugs to make your university space uniquely yours.
2. Get Familiar with Your Surroundings
Take a walking or bike tour and get to know the campus. Discover the shortest route to class and explore popular hangouts, like the library, student centre, and healthcare facility. Find out where the locals are and scope out area vendors for budget-friendly shopping. Finally, check out online reviews of things to do and places to go when you’re not hitting the books and have start having fun.
3. Make Some Forever Friends
New fresher life is about seeing new faces and making new friends. These are the best years of your life, so don’t blow it by staying locked up in your room all day. While being a wild party animal is not recommended, it’s perfectly okay to mix and mingle. Universities often host new fresher mixers to bring students together and ease the pain of being away from home. Attend a few fresher events–you might form a bond that will last a lifetime.
4. Be Safe, Not Sorry
According to statistics, one in three UK female students will experience sexual assault or abuse on campus. But if you exercise some common sense caution, you can avoid becoming a statistic. Travel in pairs or groups to the library, shopping, jogging, or taking after-dark treks across campus. Like mom said, don’t get in a car with strangers, be careful about leaving your drink unattended—alcoholic or not, and call campus security if you feel threatened or if someone is following you.
5. Boost Your Brain Power
Busy study schedules can blow a new fresher’s diet, but eating balanced meals will help keep you healthy and out of the drop in centre. Try to eat your largest, most protein-packed meal at the beginning of the day for extra energy and brain-boosting power to tackle a heavy class load. An occasional slice of pizza won’t hurt, but avoid packing on extra pounds by learning to cook simple but nutritious dishes like baked fish or chicken, steamed veggies, or low-salt soups. Stock your dorm room with healthy snacks like fresh fruit, trail mix, or protein bars for a quick pick-me-up.
6. Get Connected
Nothing beats being homesick better than a digital connection to family and friends via social media. Chat from across town or across the globe! Contracting with providers for Internet, WiFi, and cell phone service will help make the transition from home to university seamlessly smooth. Today’s digital devices like tablets, laptops and Smart phones, are nearly indispensable if you want to go make the grade.
7. Make Studying a Priority
While you’re away from home, it might be tempting to party all night and skip class, but it pays to make studying a priority. Develop good habits like recording and reviewing class notes immediately to retain information, taking advantage of study groups and after class tutoring. Your grades will open doors and determine future employment opportunities, so do your best to succeed.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Being a new fresher and not knowing what campus life is all about might seem awkward, but don’t beat yourself up because you don’t know. If you’re lost or don’t know how to manoeuvre through the maze of fresher paperwork, just ask. If you don’t understand a homework assignment, ask. If you need student healthcare services, ask. You may be a new fresher but you have a voice so use it. The only way you’re going to learn new things is to ask. You’ll find there are lots of people on campus who would love to help, if you’ll only ask.
9. Stay Healthy
Dorm rooms, recreational facilities, and cafeterias can be literal hotbeds for germs, food borne illnesses, and even staph infections. In shared spaces don’t share personal products like lipstick, deodorant, or toothpaste with your flatmate. Sanitise shared bathroom fixtures like toilets, sinks and showers. The best defence against germs is hand-washing. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after bathroom breaks, before eating, and especially after using your computer or texting. Studies indicate cellphones can carry bacteria and (don’t cringe) fecal matter! Don’t eat or drink behind friends or classmates or you could contract germs that cause colds, flu or mononucleosis (aka kissing disease). Make sure to keep up with jabs against diseases like the flu, pneumonia, mumps, meningitis, and tuberculosis. Consult your student healthcare provider to see which are appropriate.
10. Relax and Have Fun
Your time away at school might prove to be the most life changing and rewarding moment you’ve ever experienced. Make the most of it by delving into all that uni life has to offer. Dare to discover who you really are and what makes you tick emotionally, academically, and socially. Celebrate your youth in ways that are safe and engaging as you mature into the adult you’re destined to become. Read as many books as you can, attend scores of plays, and explore campus culture as you glean from learned professors and a brilliant community comprised of your peers.