Reflecting on my first term of Uni

After conquering my first term at University I feel it’s a good time to reflect on this big lifestyle change! On the whole, I would say Uni life has treated me very nicely so far, however I was totally unprepared for how overwhelming it can be at times. In this post I’ll discuss my 3 top tips on how to settle into your new life, as well as how to deal with things when they get a little tough. Obviously, these are personal to me, however I hope they can help fellow students too.

  • Don’t stress about not making friends

This is probably my top tip for before you begin your university adventure. Speaking on behalf of me, my friends at Uni and my friends from back home, as your move in date gets closer, the reality of moving to a totally new place and not knowing anybody seems totally overwhelming. Having just spent 3 months with all my childhood best friends, being care free and making amazing memories, the idea of being hours apart from them seemed so hard. That, on top of the fact that they were all going off to university within an hour radius of home and I had chosen to make this big move to be 3 hours away from all my loved ones. In the few weeks prior to my move to Bournemouth I remember being petrified that everyone from home would still regularly see each other and I would be alone in the South of England with no friends. How wrong could I have been! In fact, moving that extra distance away has been the best decision as it’s really highlighted who my true friends are from back home, whilst forcing me to branch away from my old friend group and make new friendships with people from all over the country. The fear of not making friendships is one that you should not spend your last few weeks at home worrying about, because there are so many opportunities in your first term to meet new people and form great friendships. Freshers runs over a two-week period and is the best way to get out and meet new people. It’s not just out partying like people think, the University set up several Freshers’ Fairs to offer you opportunities to join societies and get involved in things which interest you. You also form friendships based around the people you live with, not just in your flat but with people in the flats surrounding you too, as everyone intermingles in Freshers week. Finally, your course is a great way to make friends as you are mixing with like-minded people, who have a similar career interest to you. So please, for anyone reading this who is about to embark on their University adventure, don’t waste any more time worrying about not forming amazing friendships at Uni as I can assure you it is the best place to make new friends!

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Me and my best friends from back home and from Uni!

  • It’s totally fine to feel homesick

Before I started University I knew I was going to struggle with being away from home. My Mum’s always gone on about how I’m not great with change and deep down I know I love my home comforts. I even found myself missing home when I went away to Malia for a week last summer, so how on earth was I going to cope living on my own for such long periods of time? The reassuring factor is that everyone is in the same position, and while others may feel less homesick than you, everyone has their moments of feeling down and missing home. This is a great starting point as it means at times of sadness you always have people you can turn to. Whether it’s your loved ones at home, who will always be there to give you a boost and reassure you that you’re doing the best thing for your future, or your friends at Uni, who will definitely understand how you’re feeling. My two top tips would be, one, to never suffer alone with feelings of homesickness. Whilst it may be useful to sit alone and consolidate your thoughts, always open up to those around you about how you’re feeling as I guarantee it will make you feel better afterwards. Secondly, whilst it might be really tempting to run home in your first few weeks at Uni, don’t do this. I would say wait at least a month before going home and instead, encourage your loved ones to come and visit you. Speaking from experience, you need this time to properly settle in and going home will only hinder this process.

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My parents on their first visit to Bournemouth!

  • University studies are nothing like A Levels/College

I can’t tell you the amount of times my A Level teachers told me “they won’t help you like this at University” and it just completely going over my head. But they could have not been more right and it’s not until you start University studies that you realise how much your teachers helped you at school. I think the thing that has shocked me the most is the amount of independent work you have to do to succeed in your degree. While A Levels were challenging, once school was finished evenings and weekends were pretty much free time to relax and hang out with friends. It wasn’t so necessary to read around your A Level topics, however if you took this approach at University, you’d be heading for fails on your assignments. My top tip to adjusting to independent study is find a work place which works for you. This may be your bedroom, a coffee shop, or like me, the library. This place has been a life saver in offering me all the academic material I could ever need, while being a quiet, focused working environment. While the idea of spending your day off in the library may seem tedious, when you come out with a first draft of your assignment completed it’s a great sense of achievement!

Hopefully this has give anyone reading an insight into University life, while offering a few useful tips that really helped me settle into my new life in Bournemouth. If anyone has any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me through my social media profiles which are linked on the homepage of my blog. I’d love to hear from you!

Lil x

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