When you first go to university settling in should be your priority. Pack some pictures and items that allow you to personalise your space, get involved, join societies and make sure to keep in touch with friends and family from home.
A new surrounding brings new beginnings, and a new flock of students are gearing themselves up for what is for a lot of you your first time living away from home. While this is an exciting alternative from a lifestyle dictated by your seniors at home, for some it can be a daunting prospect. We are here to calm those reservations you may be having, and to guide you through some of the steps you can take to ensure you settle into your new home as quickly and comfortably as possible.
YOUR NEW ROOM
Print out some photos from home ready to take with you, whether it is from your gap year to Outer Mongolia, or simply a few snaps of family and friends. These will act as a good reminder of home life. Pinning up posters from your favourite films/bands and so on will also really assist in putting your own stamp on your new room. Not only this, but it is an indication to visitors to your room what some of your interests are, which has the potential to act as a conversation starter. A word of warning – avoid covering your whole room with one theme as several hundred One Direction posters may scare your neighbours off.
Chances are, living out of your suitcase will not allow you to generate the feeling that this is your space. There will undoubtedly be that one guy (nine times out of 10 it’s a boy), who will still be rifling into his bags for a clean t-shirt five weeks after the start of term. Never mind the bed linen they never got round to using. Unpack effectively when you first arrive so that you feel fully prepared in your new surroundings.
Putting pillows in pillowcases and duvets into duvet covers is the last thing you want to be doing when you first arrive at university. But, you don’t want to be doing it at 3am when you come crawling back in after your first night at university either. As mentioned in How to Survive Fresher’s Week, having your bed setup at the start saves a lot of future hassle – perhaps save your Toy Story duvet cover for term two though.
It may also be worth investing in a decent duvet and pillows as well as a mattress topper perhaps. Ensuring you’re capable of having a good night’s sleep when you need to at university is invaluable.
Music undeniably is a key way to guarantee that your new space has a strong sense of familiarity. It certainly has that uncanny ability to transport you to a fond memory, or remind you of a relative/friend from home. However, make sure you are respectful of others when it comes to listening to music; waking up your neighbours with ‘Take That – Relight My Fire’ at four in the morning as part of your pop music marathon is unlikely to make you very popular.
With the numerous free online communication methods now on offer, both national and international contact is an easy ritual. Take advantage of programs such as ‘FaceTime’ if you are an Apple user, or alternatively set up a skype account. Both of these will allow you to contact whoever it is you want to speak to, free of charge. Remember those at home will be eager to know how you’re getting on as well, so scheduling in a half an hour call every fortnight will help to calm any of their anxieties also.
The opportunities are endless when it comes to personal touches in your university room – well, within reason, (space may restrict having the delights a bouncy castle unfortunately). Fairy lights are a common feature in some rooms, as well as rugs, lamps, cushions and books. Whatever you feel you may need, don’t be afraid to take it along with you.
YOUR NEW SURROUNDINGS
If you are perhaps prone to feeling homesick the best remedy is to immerse yourself in any club/society or organisation that you have a real passion and interest for. Our post Why you should join clubs and societies underlines the advantages that come with being involved with such clubs and societies. They really help to expand your friendship group, and allow a relaxed aside from your academic studies. Grasping the endless amount of opportunities available at university and truly engaging yourself in the true university spirit, will unquestionably help quell any feelings of homesickness.
For many of us meeting new people can be a nerve-racking situation, especially in a new, unfamiliar domain. Taking that first leap can be a difficult one, however forcing yourself to talk to new people at university can only have a positive outcome. Most the time the person will be thrilled that you have approached them. You never know who you may meet, and what impact that person could have on your life. Lots of people meet lifelong friends at university who can help make settling in all that bit easier.
Taking a trip with family or friends to your prospective university in a relaxed environment before the start of term is a great idea. This way you can see where you will be living for the next three years, and perhaps get to know your campus/new town a little better. This way when you do move, you will be bound to recognise a few key places, allowing yourself to feel a little more accustomed to your new surroundings.
Leaving home and heading out to university for the first time is a pinnacle part of any student’s life. For many it is the gateway for what career path they will undertake. Recognising the importance of feeling at home and being happy with university life is an integral cog when it comes to achieving your academic success. Maintaining an upbeat nature through university and reaching your targets will greatly assist you when it comes to applying for spring and summer internships, as well as a graduate job.
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