Coming to University can feel like a scary time. Back in 2013, the summer before I came to university, I had so much going on – I passed my driving test, I turned 18 years old, I found out my A-level results and most importantly I found out that I’d be studying Biomedical Science for the next 3 years of my life at the University of Essex!
As someone from a small town in Staffordshire, moving to a new county in the South of England was both daunting and exciting at the same time. I had so many worries: would I like the area? Would I make friends (because I didn’t know anyone going to this university)? Would the university be good? Would I enjoy the course? Would it be too far away from home? Would the accent get on my nerves? Would there be many other students from the Midlands or North of England? Would I forget to take anything important? etc. etc.
The keen bean that I was, I did a LOT of research before coming to university, like reading blog posts and looking at various student oriented websites, to see what university is all about and how to settle in well and make new friends. This managed to put my mind at rest a little bit and the idea of going to university seemed much less scary and much more of an exciting prospect!
So, to save you from the stress, I’ve put together a short list of common fears about coming to university and why not to worry!
- What if I don’t make any friends!? Okay, to start with everyone is in the same boat! Unlike school, there are thousands of people here and if you join sports and societies, you’re most definitely going to meet others that you get along with and may even become best friends with! Also, you’re likely to be studying a course that you are interested in, as well as every other person on your course – so you already have that much in common!
- What if I don’t like my flatmates? This one is kind of tricky because it depends on a LOT of factors, like how many people you’re living with, if there’s a residence life team to help you settle in (don’t worry we have one at Essex!), what they’re like, whether they are 1st year students etc. The truth is flatmates are like a lottery – you don’t know WHO you’re going to get and after the first couple of weeks you begin to realise it doesn’t even matter! You will make other friends and there are also Facebook pages for our accommodation, so you can get to speak to others before you even arrive!
- How will I cope living on my own? For many university students, this will be their first time living away from home so you just need to remember that you’re not alone and there’s lots of help available. It can be a little bit daunting at first, but as long as you keep on top of house work (e.g. laundry, keeping the kitchen tidy etc.) you will cope fine! There are also lots of good recipe books aimed at students that contain lots of cheap, easy and healthy meals, so you shouldn’t get stuck for ideas…and if all else fails there’s always pasta 😉
- Will I get home sick? Just remember, you will always have your home friends and family at the other end of the phone. Just keep in contact regularly and possibly invest in a student railcard to cut the costs of train prices when returning home (Tip: Santander offers a 4 year railcard with their student accounts for free!). University is a great opportunity for you to make new friends and have some independence, so it will keep your mind distracted from thinking about home too much. I found that I didn’t miss home anywhere near as much as I thought I would.
- How will I cope with the work load? University’s have lots of support systems in place to help you to cope with the work load and personally I found university study much easier than A-Levels, particularly as I have the library on my doorstep that I can use to study at any time (as well as the numerous PC labs around campus). Also, the major difference between university and school is that the lecturers write the exam questions and they want you to do well! So keeping on top of lectures and extra research will ensure you get a good grade.
I hope you liked my post and feel free to ask any questions about coming to university in the comments section 🙂 Otherwise, good luck!