Starting university can feel incredibly overwhelming, but it’s also exciting! You are starting a new chapter in your life and you might be moving away from home and living alone for the first time in your life.
Here are a few tips on how to handle your first year at Uni and tackle the
uncertainties and social anxieties that can come along with this – especially if you don’t feel like being a social butterfly.
Learning to respect your own comfort zone:
One of the most important parts of starting University and moving away from home, is to look after your own mental health. Moving to a new city, leaving the comfort of home and the familiarity of friendships can be a shock to the system. Looking after yourself is important to ensuring you can make the most of the University experience. I don’t just mean ensuring your milk is in date or that you’re not just living off pot noodles. I mean really taking care of your wellbeing and health. Being healthy is more than just physical health, it also involves mental wellbeing. I can’t stress this enough, self-care and taking care of your wellbeing is so vital when starting university. Here are 4 self care tips for starting uni:
- Get some good quality sleep
- Get fresh air and gentle exercise
- Keep your new living space tidy and homely
- Give yourself time to switch off
These tips may seem silly now but after a busy fresher’s week and a new term, you’ll be needing them.
You don’t have to be a social butterfly, but do get talking!
In a new place it’s natural to feel unsure and anxious. So don’t worry if you feel homesick and lonely at times. It’s normal, but try not to let it consume you. Keep yourself busy, take time by yourself and most importantly, Talk! Share your concerns with your friends, family or University. They will be able to support you.
There are plenty of alternatives to nights out
Another aspect of good mental wellbeing, is knowing your own comfort zone. Yes, Uni can be about nights out and socials, but it doesn’t have to be all the time. You don’t have to be a social butterfly! If you are like me and enjoy a cocktail with your friends, an occasional night out but prefer quieter nights in, you might not be a natural social butterfly. That is ok! You are allowed to have a social life at university that isn’t all about
clubbing! There are plenty of alternatives to nights out. Do what you enjoy the most in order to support your own wellbeing, whether that means movie nights in, take out, games night, bring and share evenings or walks. Whatever makes you happy and whatever is within your comfort zone is what is best for your wellbeing. Don’t ever feel pressurised into something you don’t want to do.
Learning to love your own company
Self-care also involves learning to love your own company. It is important to
take time off from socialising and studying, especially during your first term, when everything can feel fast-paced and overwhelming. Take time to switch off, relax and reflect.
When you first arrive at Uni, it is important to get to know your new flatmates and course mates, but if you find socialising takes it out of you, then prioritise time by yourself. I have personally always loved a morning walk or cuppa and a bag of chocolate buttons, together with a good Netflix series in the evening. You will find your own balance!
Learning when not to say ‘yes’ all the time
Yes, socialising at University is important and you shouldn’t isolate yourself.
However, you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every social event running in Freshers. Learning to say ‘no’ might not come easily, as we are often
eager not to feel left out, look like a party pooper or miss out on memories.
Memories aren’t just made in Fresher’s Week
Speaking from experience, memories aren’t just made in Freshers’ Week! You have three whole years to make friends and memories; try not to stress. If you’re not a social butterfly, learning to say ‘no’ might just be the best thing for you and your wellbeing! If drinking and clubbing isn’t your thing, you don’t have to do it! There are plenty of other activities you can do and you will find friends outside of parties.
NOTE: if anyone judges you for choices that are respecting your own wellbeing, then they might not be worth your time. You’ll find plenty of people who will like you for just being you!
Article written by: Rebecca White