Starting University - Tips from a Recent Graduate
Starting university is an exciting (if slightly stressful) time which often includes leaving home, possibly moving to a new city and gaining independence as you move onto the next stage of your life. As a former student myself (graduated in July 2020), I understand the stress that can accompany the move to university, which can be a big change to adapt to. Based on the recommendations of current students, I have even put together a Sustainable University Student Starter Pack, which contains everything you need to start this next chapter. As well as this, to try to help you to prepare for the change of heading off to uni, here are some of my top tips for transitioning into the uni lifestyle:
Starting university - what to expect
Everything will be new and different so it is hard to know what to expect when becoming a student and it will take time to adjust to this new lifestyle. There may be pressure at the beginning of university to try absolutely everything and meet everyone you possibly can; however, this is not for everyone and can seem very overwhelming. Whilst throwing yourself into everything is exactly how some people like to begin university, choosing a few activities you may like to try or going to a few events that sound interesting will still introduce you to new people, new hobbies and will ease you more gently into the student lifestyle. Expect there to be endless opportunities to attend events, try a new sport or society or meet new people, and whilst this may seem daunting, try and take on a few as these opportunities may only come around when you are a student and will help you to meet new people and settle into your new way of life. Don’t be afraid to attend these events alone, there will be loads of other people also on their own so this is a great opportunity to make friends.
Starting university will most likely involve studying and learning in a way you have not done before so expect it to take you a bit of time to adapt to this new way of learning. It is important not to compare yourself to others on your course and remember everyone will be facing challenges like these too and a big part of your first year at university is getting used to this new way of life. Your tutors and lecturers are there to help you, so if you feel overwhelmed drop them an email or stop by their office to talk about your studies. Attending lectures and tutorials is a great way to meet people and making course friends means you have somebody to lean on if you are struggling with a course - plus, everybody needs a library buddy at some point during their time at uni!
Starting university in September 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic
It is undeniable that starting university this September (2020) will bring additional challenges because of the restrictions currently being imposed in the UK and much of the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will be different approaches being taken by different universities in terms of how they deal with the restrictions through rules on bubbles, in person teaching and society events. But, if you are moving into halls, this will present an opportunity to meet people and most universities are providing some in person teaching, an opportunity to befriend your course mates. Plus, with gyms reopening, many sports will be able to operate in person sessions and society events are another opportunity to try something new and meet new people, even if this is through online sessions.
Your university will also be aware of the additional challenges this year and will be holding freshers events in some form, even if these are online or in a socially distanced environment and events organised by the university student association are a great way to meet other new students. Whilst starting university during a pandemic undoubtedly brings additional stress, it is important to remember that all first year students are in the same boat and other new students will be just as eager to meet new people.
What to buy before starting university
Aside from the obvious essentials you will need if you are leaving home such as bedding, crockery etc, it can be difficult to know what else you will need whilst studying at uni. As a recent graduate myself, I have put together a Sustainable University Student Starter Pack, which contains essential items for you to use at university. I worked alongside current students who advised me which products they use most, to ensure that the pack includes the most useful (and sustainable) products for students.
The pack includes sustainable stationery - a recycled A5 hardback notebook and refillable bamboo pen, for your lecture or revision notes. A 2 in 1 shampoo and soap bar will help you to pack lightly for your move, with one small bar replacing 2 large (and single-use plastic) bottles. The pack also includes a beeswax wrap, a reusable alternative to clingfilm, which can be used to wrap up sandwiches to take with you for lunch on campus. Additionally, a bamboo cutlery set is perfect for taking with you if you fancy a more substantial bowl of pasta or salad on the go, rather than picking up plastic cutlery. Plus, the hessian pouch will keep your cutlery clean in your bag. The items are packaged inside a beautiful box which can be reused as storage in your new bedroom or flat - get your university starter pack now.
Starting university can be stressful, but it is also such an exciting time and an amazing opportunity to make lifelong friends. So grab your face mask and your student starter pack and throw yourself into the new uni lifestyle!