Your first week at uni can be daunting. For many, it will be the first time they’ve been away from home and living completely independently, so it’s no wonder it can bring uncertainty and cause a little bit of anxiety. To combat this, I have written my top 10 tips from my experience at UEA to make the most of your first week at uni, setting you up to have the best years of your life!

Think Ahead

Before you even arrive, think about what you might need to bring. Aside from the obvious, it might be worth bringing a set of formal clothing for any job interviews or society formal outings. Remember too that Halloween falls shortly after you move to uni, so bring any fancy dress you may want to have around that time!

Get out of your comfort zone

It’s not easy to realise this, but everyone’s in the same boat. This is all new to everyone and most people won’t know many others at their uni. The first week of uni is one of the only times in life where it’s considered normal to go up to strangers and share your life story with them. Don’t be afraid of seeming weird, this is how you’ll make your best friends!

Get Involved with Societies and Clubs

Try new things and meet new people. The chances are, university is the only time you’ll ever live within a 5 minute walk of a garlic bread society! Societies and clubs are a great way to meet new people and they’ll also provide you with something to do to catch a break from the studying. Who knows, you could have a professional career in ultimate frisbee ahead of you that you didn’t even know about!

Leave Your Door Open

You’ll be living with the other people in your flat for the next year, so get to know them. It can be easy to shut yourself in your room, but this isn’t how you’re going to meet your flatmates and become as good friends with them as you can! My top tip would be to bring a doorstop just for that first week, to give a welcoming vibe to your flatmates and to encourage causal conversation with them. You’ve probably heard it all before, but it really does work!

Get to know your campus/city

This is your home for the next three years at least. Get to know where things are, what’s about, where you can do your shopping, where you can grab a coffee in the morning, and where you can spend the evenings having a great time with your friends. Take it a step further by using the exploration as a bonding exercise between you and your flatmates – take a leisurely stroll around campus or into the city with them!

Make your room your home

Fill your room with things that remind you of home – photos, plants, your favourite posters, anything you like. Don’t live the first year of uni in a plain white room, you’ll get homesick and you’ll get fed up of it. On top of this, your room is a great place to get work done so during the first week, create a habit of using your room as a productive space as well as a relaxed space. Don’t fall into a bad habit of your room being an unproductive environment!

Get to know your learning style

The difference in teaching at uni compared to that at sixth form is huge, and with this you will need to find your optimal method of learning. Use the first week or two to experiment and try new things. Do you learn best having read or taken notes in advance of the lecture? Taking notes in the lecture and reading them afterwards? Simply listening to what’s being said and taking notes afterwards in your own time? Everyone learns differently and it’s important for you to find your learning style.

Eat Proper Food

It can be easy to fall into the habit of ordering takeaways, eating out or living off a diet of instant noodles. All I have to say to that is don’t. Plan meals ahead of time and kit yourself up to make them during your weekly shop. You’ll not only save money by doing this but you’ll also feel good for having a healthy, balanced diet. 

Budget

For many, the first time living alone means the first time feeding themselves and being responsible for spending. It’s easy to get carried away with SFE giving you thousands of pounds every few months, so it’s important to budget. Set a spending limit for each day or week, and don’t forget to account for extra spending on things like birthdays, Christmas presents, holidays and trips home. Just because you have the money, it doesn’t mean it’s there to be spent. If you need to, make a savings account and deposit your weekly budget into your current account at the beginning of every week to ensure you don’t overspend!

Get to know what support is there for you

From supporting your mental and physical health to helping you find a job or connect to the WiFi, your uni will have buckets of help in store for you when you need it, but sometimes it can be hard to find it when you need it. During your first week, there will be plenty of guidance in place to help you get to know your support provisions, such as at freshers fairs or even in the welcome pack provided to you on your first day. Get to know it before you need it!

Categories: Education

Shay Jordan

Mathematics Undergraduate at UEA, Martial Arts Instructor at Kuk Sool Won of Lowestoft, and Blogger.

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