So you’ve packed your life into suitcases and boxes and headed off to university. What next?
Your first term at university is going to be jam-packed with social events, orientation fairs and chances to explore campus.
With so much going on, the experience can seem both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. But we’ve kindly highlighted all the things you need to know and let you in on some secrets on making the most of it…
1. You’ll sign up to a million ridiculous clubs and societies
You may have been used to a handful of clubs at school – but suddenly you’re faced with hundreds of different options – from knitting to anti-gravity yoga and even Quidditch. Often no experience is needed (perfect!) so this is the ideal chance to reinvent yourself and follow your burning passions. Grab your broom and sign up to all the mailing lists you fancy (and then regret your decisions when you have to unsubscribe from a million emails the following week).
2. You’ll tell your family that you’re ok with them leaving…but feel homesick when they do
After your parents have cried (a few times) and checked you have everything you need (more than a few times), you’ll feel it’s time to wave goodbye and start trying to make friends. However, as you realise you are completely on your own, you might feel overwhelmed. Don’t panic! This is totally normal. Thankfully there is Skype for whenever you need a friendly voice during your first few weeks.
3. You will meet someone who you think will be your new best friend (but then they turn out to be more than a little strange)
Having left your home friends and all your inside jokes behind, it can be daunting to have to start all over again. You’ll meet lots of new people in the few first weeks – some of them incredible and others who you don’t think are quite for you. Usually the first person you meet is your friend for life or someone you never want to see again. This is fine. Stick at it, you’ll soon find people who are just right.
4. …But then you’ll meet the person across the hallway and instantly become BFFs
There are thousands of students at university, and lifelong friendships can be found in the most random of places. Be as social as you can and put yourself out there – everyone is in the same boat and looking for friends too.
5. You’ll have to do a fire drill
Someone inevitably will set the fire alarm off during your first few weeks. Maybe even several times a week. This will most likely be due to an innocent first dinner gone wrong, and result in the fire brigade showing up. If you are the culprit, own up and don’t panic too much – it will become a great story to tell (one day).
6. You’ll get lost (all the time!)
It is easy to find the bars and universities buildings when you have your Google Maps with you. But as soon as your battery goes, you are on your own! Be prepared to not have a clue where you are going during the first few weeks. Try and stick with people who look like they know what they are doing.
7. You’ll wear A LOT of fancy dress
There is usually a full schedule of social events lined up for students. These may fill you with excitement or dread, but don’t worry, most are completely optional. If you are keen to throw yourself into every planned event, you will most likely find yourself having to fashion a make-shift costume for the evening. From toga parties to neon raves, you will definitely end up wearing some questionable outfits.
8. You’ll get tagged in lots of photos with your new friends
No doubt you’ll wake up to a heap of Facebook notifications the day after one of the said events. Prepare for your timeline to be filled with hundreds of tagged photos with your new friends (despite this, you still won’t remember half of their names when you bump into them at dinner).
9. You’ll splash your weekly budget on every type of stationary and notepad imaginable
It is tempting to get really excited and stock up on all your supplies before you arrive, including purchasing your weight in stationary. If you have forgotten these essentials – fear not! If you are tactical you can usually pick up a lifetime supply of pens from the Student Union in exchange for signing up to various mailing lists – happy shopping.
10. You’ll will have absolutely no clue what you are doing
Leaving home for the first time is scary – not only due to the fact you actually have to do all your own laundry and cook your own meals. University is constantly full of new experiences and challenges, and it is fine to feel a range of different emotions, from feeling lonelier than you ever have before to the elation of acing your first exam. There are plenty of people you can talk to on campus if you feel overwhelmed, and never forget that all the new people you meet are going through the exact same things!