Starting university this term? Here’s my advice…

With term around the corner, Emily shares her advice for incoming first years so you can get the best start to university as possible!

By Emily Alger

If you’re starting university this term you’re probably feeling ready for a new start and excited for the new experiences and people you will meet. You may also be feeling nervous about the change and moving away from home. Here are my top tips to have a great start to the term and your university experience.

Step out of your comfort zone

“Spending time with people is a great investment and it’ll ensure you have great friendship groups throughout university”

University is the perfect time to start a new sport, develop your interpersonal skills and grow as a person. When you arrive, university may feel overwhelming. Going back to the comfort of your room after a society event or lecture may feel like the safe thing to do. I’d encourage you to get out your comfort zone. After a society event, take up the offer to do the follow-up social and don’t be scared to get chatting to people – jump in! It can be intimidating to meet new people but by starting early, when everyone is getting to know each other, you can really help kick-start your university friendships. Spending time with people is a great investment and it’ll ensure you have great friendship groups throughout university.

Don’t push yourself too far

A group of three people smiling and chatting outside Senate House.
You will meet lots of different people during Welcome Week, but make sure you go at your own pace. Image: University of Warwick.

You may feel like you need to go to every society event or club night to have the best Welcome week experience but take it at your pace! There is certainly too much on during the first week of Freshers week to attend every event. Really think about what events you want to attend and where you can meet the most like-minded people. It’s important to stay at your best so you can enjoy your free time and stay on top of your work. If you want a night in then go for it, university is a marathon and not a sprint – make sure not to wear yourself out. Even though I’d encourage you to meet as many people as possible during the first few weeks, lots of relationships do form in the terms and years after you arrive so don’t push yourself too far.

Everyone’s experience will be different

A sign at the entrance to the university, reading 'Warwick. The University of Warwick.'
Warwick is a very diverse community, so try not to compare yourself to others. Image: University of Warwick.

I remember seeing lots of Facebook photo albums being posted in the first few weeks of university by my new friends. I did compare my experience to other peoples who seemed to be having a really fantastic time. The experiences I saw being posted online did not seem to align with mine. I enjoyed university but I missed home and felt a little out of my depth both with the work and whilst meeting new people. You need to remember a photo album is just a snapshot of someone’s university experience. Don’t worry if someone seems to be having a “better” experience than you, focus on yours. Like anything you will have good and bad days but that’s okay, do what you enjoy even if it doesn’t align with a typical university student. I didn’t drink back in first year; I’d see people going out and sometimes I felt like I must be missing out. Now looking back I’m pleased I didn’t force myself to prove that I could enjoy activities that other people enjoyed. I did what I enjoyed at the time and that helped me form the fantastic friendships I still have now.

“Don’t worry if someone seems to be having a “better” experience than you, focus on yours”

Keep up with the work!

Some library books on some shelves. There is a girl reading a book in the background out of focus.
Don’t forget, you’re here to learn! Image: University of Warwick.

With the excitement of Freshers week, it is easy to forget that at some point you will need to start studying and attending lectures for your degree. Try and form a healthy routine around your work early. Assignments and coursework can easily build up and that could jeopardise your time off and social plans you have arranged. If you can work out how to study effectively early on in term then you can really enjoy your evenings and social plans. During the day I would make sure to mix study alongside social plans to keep days fun and productive. When you arrive at university you will realise everyone has a different routine, make sure you find the one that works for you and don’t worry about how other people space out their day!

If you’re a little worried about starting University, check out our blog on being an introvert during Welcome Week. If you’re keen to get cracking at the Library, check out our post on everything you need to know.

What are you most looking forward to about starting Warwick? Let us know in the comments below, by tweeting us @warwicklibrary or messaging us on Instagram @warwicklibrary. Don’t forget to like and share this post.

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