*disclaimer – not all photographs are my own!*
University feels like a fond and distant memory to me now. It’s a precious couple of years and not a single experience will be forgotten.
SO I have decided to pass on some of my experience to those of you starting uni in a month or two.
First things first, don’t panic. You have got this!
Read my 12 steps to success for fitting in at the first week of uni:
1. Open door policy
Make sure you’re knickers aren’t on show for everyone because having your door open is inviting and you might spot a lonely or nervous looking person scurrying past to make a cup of tea and there’s your chance to make a friend/make someone feel a bit better!
Plus people will see your door open and possibly stick their head round the door and introduce.
2. Don’t be afraid to knock
In my first year of uni, I didn’t really get on with a couple of people in my halls and I was so close to just going home and thinking it was a bad idea. However, I decided to give it one last push and went across the hall and knocked on a random persons door! I made a great bunch of friends from then on and ended up living with them in second and third year.
If I hadn’t built up every bit of my confidence to do that, I would have possibly gone home! Find your own happiness and don’t feel obliged to stick with the first people you meet.
3. Be the tea/coffee mum/dad
‘Want a cuppa?’ – remember how everyone likes their tea or coffee. It’s a sure fire way to make friends and people love it when you remember a small detail about them.
It also brings everyone together.
4. Do stuff as a group!
Know a simple recipe that your mum has been showing you how to do in preparation? Share it with others!
My go-to was always a Chilli Con Carne or Shepherds Pie. Easy and feeds everyone!
If you need to do laundry, go together. Make the mundane grown-up jobs less boring!
5. Communal spots
Suggest you all meet at a certain time in the kitchen or in someone’s room and just drink beer and play ring of fire. Going out and partying is fun but if you really wanna grow some friendships, sit and play stupid games and have a laugh. It absolutely takes the pressure off everyone when you’re in your comfort zone!
If you’re not big into drinking, have a movie night! Fold up different genres on paper and pull out one at random. After that get everyone to put their top 3 of that genre and the one that gets pulled out is the one you have to watch!
I had my birthday two days after arriving to uni and I was really nervous about this as I’d never had one away from home before. If it’s somebody’s birthday and you hear about it, whether you know them or not, get them a crate of beer and a box of heroes. Go the extra mile and plan something! See what they like doing. If they’re a club kinda person, go to a club. If they’re a pub person, go for a ‘Spoons dinner and beers.
I really did not deal with my birthday situation well, I was shy and awkward and a lot of people came and brought me a bottle of rosé and a bucket of sweets because they heard a girl called Jess was having a birthday and I awkwardly said thank you and went back to my room!
They turned out to be great friends and roommates after but they took the piss out of me for years for my little socially awkward episode. Help someone come out of their shell, they’re probably just as scared as you!
If it’s your birthday, don’t keep it a secret! Go and tell everyone and tell them what the plan is. Everyone is very much go with the flow for the first few weeks so get a party going!
7. What to do if you’re not happy
I’ve always lived by a 3 week rule. Two weeks is the length of a holiday and three weeks is a little bit more realistic than that. Don’t be ashamed if it isn’t right for you, don’t be pressured to do something just because everyone else is.
If you get to uni and something doesn’t feel right, give it 3 weeks. Try all the above and I really mean try and if after then it’s still not good, re-evaluate. Speak to family and friends and people you know who have lived the uni experience before rash decisions are made. There’s no shame in not liking something and that doesn’t make it a mistake, it’s all part of life’s experience and your journey might be on a different route!
12. Spend a little time on your room
Spend some time making your room a comfort zone for yourself. Bring your style and personality into it. Living away is not always the easiest to begin with so make it feel as homely as possible.
I’m jealous of all you people beginning your adventure at uni in September/October. It was a great experience and really grew me as a human but I wish I had somebody who could have told me all this beforehand!
It’s been 3 years since I finished and 6 years since I started. The moment goes quick but it’ll last a lifetime!
P.s my door is always open for anyone who might need some advice about any aspect of university.
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