If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re coming to York in September – yay! Or you’re at least considering it, which is also worth a yay! And if, like me, when I was in your shoes, you might also be a contextual offer holder as well. So that’s a triple yay! But jokes aside, a serious congratulations for your achievements so far, now you can get onto the fun but also the stressful task of preparing for university! Yikes – I know, where do you even begin? Well, at least from me, I’m going to cover my top 5 tips for settling in when you arrive. I hope they will give you some inspiration that will make this process more enjoyable – as it should be!
Don’t be afraid to talk first
Just like you, everyone else is in a new environment and likely anxious. So it’s more likely than not that everyone will be quite friendly as you’re all trying to make friends. First year and freshers especially are the prime time for meeting your friends for life. So don’t be afraid to be the first person to talk and break the ice – no one will bite! Well, hopefully not.
Whether it’s inviting people out to meet up for the first lecture, try out a cute cafe, join a society or even a walk around the neighbourhood, seize the opportunities and find your people. The same applies to when you’re in accommodation, the kitchen is usually the student hub, so be there when everyone else is and you will get to know your housemates much quicker and easier.
Explore your college, campus and the City
In your first week or so of university, your course will usually not start the content properly yet, so this is a great chance to take the time to get familiar with your surroundings. Take a walk right around your college, around your campus and maybe the other one too. And also check out the city, just a walk will do, and perhaps pick out some places you want to check out properly on your next trip. All the city centre roads can seem very confusing at first, but trust me when I say there’s a system and you’ll slowly get it! I’m still getting there personally.
Aside from that, try and get familiar with the bus routes and how the buses work, key locations like the library, Nisas, as well as lecture and seminar rooms. Exploring these a bit now should be quite helpful in helping you get used to things once your degree content properly starts up. And if your degree started with content-heavy work as soon as you arrived then – I’m so sorry – but don’t worry, you will also be fine!
Plan, plan, plan
Although I did previously say that the first week or so will usually have less degree content, that doesn’t mean you still won’t be busy! With what you ask – pretty much anything and everything! You are literally settling into a new lifestyle and rhythm, there are all sorts to sort out – personally and academically. These can include different events, department talks, university talks, information on IT, other general information, activities, applications, socials with new people, tasks, unpacking, forms to fill out and many, many more. In a nutshell, this is a fresh start with places to go and people to see – you will have a lot to sort out.
So my whole point after that waffle is to make sure to plan your week, your days even. Nothing massively detailed but enough so that you know what you have to do at what times and by when. What deadlines you have to complete and submit things for, any events you want to attend, just so that you don’t miss anything you might have really wanted to do.
Keep in touch with loved ones
You’re just going to university, not into hiding. They still exist in your new world, you’re not alone. They probably miss you sometimes and it’s okay to miss them too, so call. Whenever you want, however many times you want, no one is going to stop you. You do what you need to do, to make this transition as natural and non stressful as possible. No one wants you to feel isolated, and no one expects you to be tough and face it all alone. Your loved ones and friends care about you and would like to know how your university life is going, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a call and keeping connected.
Finally, your time at university is short and will likely go fast. And even though you’ve just started, It’s really true! I was like you not long ago and I’m writing this now with my first year already gone thinking – how, what, where did you go? So honestly seize every chance and opportunity that comes your way to make memories and boss uni life. You’ve got this!
At the end of the day, be your authentic self, be organised, have fun and you’ll be fine.