Going off to University can be difficult for some people. Through all the excitement and fun, there can also be elements of homesickness and unease. But don’t worry, it can also be quite easy to settle down into University life and feel right at home.
If you’re worrying about settling in, here are a few things you can do to help ease your worries and hopefully help you transition into life at University.
Make Your Room Homely
First, how is your student accommodation looking? Where you’re living can have a massive impact on how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel like it’s home to you, it’s going to be more difficult to feel at home.
Start with some decorating. Posters, photos, cards and ornaments are a great way to personalise a bedroom with not much effort. Plants are also great mood boosters, consider getting some for your room or the communal areas. Whatever you think might help your accommodation feel more like home, do it; it’ll be that much easier to adjust.
Join a Society
Joining a society is a piece of advice you will hear time and time again. But that’s only because it’s so vital! If you want to meet new people and make good friends, societies are one of the most effective ways to do this.
University student unions are overflowing with societies. From sports teams like football, basketball and badminton, performance groups like theatre, comedy and dance, to everything in between like baking, magic, role-playing and even Dr Who! There’s a society for everyone. And if there isn’t, you could even set one up yourself.
Without a doubt, if you join a society you enjoy you could meet some of your favourite people at University. You don’t even need experience in the interest; if you’ve never picked up a hockey stick, your University’s hockey society will put you on the development team and you can learn from scratch. If you haven’t already, join a society and give it a go. Societies are always open to new members at any point in the academic year.
Organise Communal Meals
If you feel like you haven’t had a chance to get to know your housemates yet, consider communal meals. People love food, especially if they’re not the ones making it. If you’re handy in the kitchen, consider offering to cook for your housemates one night, and ask if everyone would be willing to contribute some money or an ingredient or two.
It’s a great way to have a sit-down meal as a group and get to know each other. And if you all enjoy it, you could make it a regular occurrence and take it in turns to do the cooking.
Make Calls/Trips Home
Homesickness can be tricky. You miss home and your family, but if you spend too much time there, heading home every weekend, you’re going to struggle to settle in, especially since so much of the socialising aspects of University happen on the weekend.
Instead, try to put aside time for regular phone or video calls. You’ll get your fix of home without having to sacrifice too much time. And if you really need to and it’s within your means, you can make the occasional trip home to see your family/pets/friends and get that boost of confidence you might need. Just remember that your University is supposed to be like a second home, and you should balance your time between the two.
Get into a Routine
Routines and structure can help stabilise a person’s mood and help them feel more positive. If you’re shuffling about with no direction, not on a sleep schedule or eating regular meals, then this isn’t going to help you feel good about yourself and could be hindering your progress.
Try getting into a stable routine like you would have had back at school. Set a bedtime – but don’t forget to be flexible so you can still enjoy nights out – and make it a goal to attend all your lectures and seminars. Set aside time for studying and essay-writing, as well as some time for social activities, me-time, exercise and societies. Working to a schedule (one that’s not too rigid) will allow you to refocus and should put you in a better mood.
Hang Out in Communal the Areas
Hanging out in your room all day and night isn’t the best way to make connections, especially with the people you live with. You don’t want to be known as that housemate who never leaves their room and no one knows the name of. Make sure you spend some time in the communal areas at our student accommodation in Reading, even if it’s just to read a book on the sofa until someone comes in so you can strike up a conversation.
Say Yes to Events
There is so much going on while you’re at University. From parties and nights out to volunteering schemes and charity events, the student union and the University puts on so many fantastic events all year round.
It can be difficult to muster up the will to attend these events if you’re not feeling up to it, or if you don’t have anyone to go with, but you should try to take advantage of the ones that sound appealing to you. They’re great places to meet people, and you’ll be able to enjoy experiences you wouldn’t have done otherwise.
If you need someone to go with, consider asking your housemates. Even if you’re not best buds yet, this could be the start of that friendship.
We hope these ideas can help you get settled in at University. If you’re thinking about accommodation for next year, at CityBlock, we provide ensuite student accommodation in Lancaster and Reading.