Settling in to University life

Arriving at university is undoubtedly both an exciting and emotional experience. Perhaps you’re excited by the prospect of being totally independent, having no one to answer to and making some new friends and fantastic memories to boot. However, for some the first few weeks aren’t always plain sailing.

Whilst many recall their first year at university with fond memories, nearly all will admit that from the outset they were a bit overwhelmed by everything - the new environment, living with people you’ve never met before and the sudden sense of self-responsibility. If you’re feeling like this, then words might not do justice in explaining how you probably feel. “This is so different”, “how will I get through this?” and “but I feel so homesick” are just a few things you might be saying to yourself.

Please don’t feel like you are alone.

The Guild of Students and the university have a huge array of fantastic support services for all registered students, ensuring that you have someone to talk to in a confidential setting, who will listen to your worries without judgment.

We have put together this handy set of top tips in the hope it will make this transition slightly easier for you.

Moving to university can be harder than expected, but don’t worry you aren’t alone.

Everyone may look like they are having lots of fun, but most people find that it is a really challenging part of their life. We have put together some top tips to help you adjust to your new life at university:

1. Don’t spend too much time in your room

Although spending time in the safety of your room is sometimes easier, try to spend lots of time with your new flatmates or in the communal areas where you’re living. The more time you spend with others, the more friends you’ll make and the better you’ll feel. Suggest flat meals, film nights, games nights…

2. Explore your new surroundings

The quicker you get to know your new surroundings, the sooner you’ll feel at home. Take time to explore the university campus, your accommodation site, and the city centre.

The Student Mentor Scheme are running ‘Finding your Feet Tours’ on Monday 19th September from each accommodation reception at 11am. The Guild are also running events all the time. Click here for more information

3. Make plans

There are lots of events during the first few weeks of university designed to help you settle in and make friends. Get to know what’s on and make plans to go! Keeping busy and having a plan of activities each day will help you make friends and get involved in university life. Find an event that suits you at guildofstudents.com/welcome

4. Stay healthy

Starting university is a really busy time that may leave you feeling tired and run down. Do your best to avoid any illnesses by looking after yourself. Remember to eat well, drink lots of water and get enough sleep.

5. Don’t call home too often

The sound of a familiar voice can be really helpful, but can also make it harder to get stuck in to your new life at university. Try to contact home after something positive has happened like making a new friend, cooking your first meal, or going to your first lecture.

6. Bring a couple of reminders from home

A happy reminder of home can give you a boost during the first few weeks of University. Whether it’s a family photo, a special present from a friend, or just your favourite mug, a little piece of home always makes you feel better.

7. Get to know what support’s on offer

If you need a little extra support during your first few weeks at University, there’s lots of help on offer from both the University and Guild of Students. Get to know what help is available to you and use it if you need to.

Guild Advice is a free, impartial and confidential advice service for students of the University of Birmingham. Situated on the Ground Floor of the Guild of Students open 10-4pm during term time.

Global Buddies offer a peer to peer service that provides informal support and guidance for international students on how to engage in wider community activities. The scheme helps international students meet people from other countries and fully integrate into University life.

The Student Mentor Scheme Office is in The Vale Hub, so pop in for a chat. It is open Monday to Friday, 4-8pm during term time.

8. Get involved in University opportunities

Your time at university is unique. At no other time in your life will you have the same opportunities to learn new skills, make friends, volunteer and try new activities.

Joining Guild societies can also be a great way of meeting like-minded people, there will be a Society fair during Welcome Week, but it is never too late to join. Have a look at what you might be interested in by visiting www.guildofstudents.com/studentgroups

Volunteering is also a great way of meeting people, and really adds something to your CV. Visit www.guildofstudents.com/jsv/volunteering to find out what volunteering opportunities The Guild provides.

9. Take one day at a time

Settling into university can take time, so don’t expect to feel at home straight away. If you’re missing home or have had a hard day, take a deep breath, put the kettle on and remind yourself to take one day at a time.

10. Stay positive!

You are embarking upon one of the most exciting, eventful and memorable periods of your life. Make the most of your time in Birmingham – work hard, make friends, and embrace University life!

Socialising

As well as a fantastic jam-packed events schedule, the Guild of Students will ensure that there are lots of ways in which you can socialise and make friends.

Welcome week is packed full of nights out and pub crawls, The Freshers & Societies Fairs; and for those who aren’t a huge fan of drinking and clubs, there is a huge selection of non-alcoholic events taking place in your accommodation such as a ‘Mocktail & Casino night’, ‘Bowling & Pizza night’, ‘Games night’ and a traditional ‘Pub quiz’ to name but a few!

For our full events schedule, please visit www.guildofstudents.com/welcome

It is important to remember that beyond the haze of welcome week and nights out, there are lots of other ways to socialise throughout your time here. The Student Mentor Scheme hold a number of non-alcoholic events all year round (contact them for further information) and you may also make friends with those in your flat, block and also on your course.

Beyond your flat, block and course mates, it is a must that you check out the massive range of student groups. There are well over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations, collectively known as student groups for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of – there really is something for everyone!

Joining a Student Group is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills or pursue a current interest with people just like you! To find out more, to browse the current list of groups and to sign yourself up, please visit www.guildofstudents.com/studentgroups

 

Whilst we offer you all of these wonderful events and opportunities to meet new people, we understand that for some, making friends isn’t easy. You may have moved into a flat with people who you don’t get along with, maybe you haven’t clicked with someone who has the same interests as you and you may feel isolated and lonely as a result. However, please don’t worry. Making friends can take time and isn’t always a breeze and let’s face it, we don’t have to form life-long friendships with everyone we meet. Whatever hurdle, we are here to support you and help you overcome it.

Help is on hand as soon as you get here…

As a first port of call the Student Mentors are on hand, right from your arrival where you are greeted by a welcome team member (students in pink t-shirts!) to help you move into your accommodation, right throughout welcome week and beyond. Any student in accommodation can get support from a Student Mentor and the added bonus is that they are students just like you and therefore really understand what you are going through. The Mentor Office is open to all students and is located on the Vale, in the Hub, next door to the Duck & Scholar.

Throughout arrivals weekend they are open from 6pm-9pm and then through welcome week and beyond, Monday to Friday 4-8pm during term time

If you are currently receiving specialist support at home, or if once you arrive you feel that you would like some support, then rest assured that the university has a fantastic support service available to all registered students.

A professional team of Counsellors, Wellbeing and Mental Health Advisors can offer support and advice in the following areas: Wellbeing, Counselling, Disability (Mental Health Advisory Service & Learning Support)

Tel: 0121 414 5130
Visit: Aston Webb Building, Edgbaston Campus
Online: www.intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/student/support.asp - (info. & opening times)

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