Settling into university

Starting out

I am a student who is currently in 2nd year and personally, settling into university has been an interesting roller-coaster. Thinking back to my first year, it took me some time to adjust. I remember that I wasn’t sure where a lot of things were, but once I got used to my bearings, I was fine.

Funny story but when I first moved to uni (living in Constantine college), I didn’t fully unpack for 2 weeks as I felt like I was at a hotel and would be going back. However, when fresher’s week was over, I realised it was time to buckle down, unpack and chase my dreams of being a Social Worker. One thing that I can say that I have come to learn is: feeling homesick is normal! I tend to do things to distract me, like watching a series or movies and this tends to work. It’s also a good idea to call family and friends from home regularly.

Another thing that has helped me settle into uni, is getting used to a more structured day, including lectures and seminars. This has been a great helping hand in the development of my organisational skills, as well as time management. In addition to this, I found a part-time job to keep me going as I am naturally a person who always loves to be doing something. Overall, I think that settling into uni wasn’t entirely difficult and it has allowed me to be more independent.

Total freedom?

Before arriving at uni, I had high expectations and was quite excited at the thought of total freedom. During my time at uni I have established that my expectations of the uni life have surely been met. Being in 2nd year, I am still getting used to how my academic expectations are being met though. I can firmly say that I underestimated the workload, so it’s a good idea to prepare for this.

Freedom is something I knew uni was going to provide for me. The thought of being a young, female adult away from parents has allowed me to identify myself as a strong independent woman. However, I do think that sometimes having this total freedom can be a challenge. This is different from how I felt it would be. Sometimes you can feel alone, but that is what friends and your books are for. There are lots of these at York!

The ups and downs

Being at uni has had its ups as well as its downs. However, during both times there have been people at York available to speak to, to help encourage me. Though at times this may have been me simply watching Netflix to keep myself going!

One of my main achievements was taking part in a summer programme. This was a time spent visiting social enterprises and finding out what they do and why they do it. It was highly fascinating and I class it as a high point. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of uni staff, as well as the friends I have made.

I did experience a low during my first year where I struggled at some points to keep up with the demands of my workload, as well as doing all the extracurricular activities. However, once I got the hang of it, it became easier. All of this has helped me further develop my organisational skills.

Top 5 things to pack for uni

  • If you’re from a BAME background such as myself, don’t forget your box of Indomie
  • Chargers (e.g. phone, laptop, etc.)
  • Another thing for BAME students, bring all your food spices. It is not guaranteed you will find them in York
  • If you are a religious person, don’t forget your Holy Book. This will help in times you may not realise and if you are not religious bring something you love from home.

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My name is Vanessa and I am a 2nd-year Social policy and social work student.

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