Welcome to this blog on preparing for University! University can be one of the most terrifying things you can do at any age. Especially due to the fact that many 18-year-olds go off to University in a different city from where they are from. I have this experience. Being born and raised in the West Midlands I applied to Durham University as my aspiration. On A-level results day in 2021, I secured my place and a month later I moved 4 hours away from everything. This was terrifying at the time and yet I still had a good feeling about it.
The idea of moving away was something that I really struggled with. Everything was going to be so new and scary and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to cope.
The first week of university known as ‘Fresher’s Week’ can be a really scary week and often overwhelming. My fresher’s week had many things going on. Making friends with many new people, doing induction lectures on a course that seemed big and scary and learning how to live alone. At the time it felt like a lot and seemed like it was not going to be possible to keep up with. However, things do just start fitting into place on their own. You learn to go with whatever is happening. Although everything can get a bit much it is important to remember that everyone else is thinking similar if not the same.
-Remember you don’t have to do everything! Push yourself to explore however don’t overwork yourself!
2) Making friends
Making friends or the idea of not being able to make friends is a common worry among all students going to University. It is this worrying because you are away from your family and you suddenly have to rely on these all new people. An important reminder here is that you will not meet everyone in the first week. I was making friends at the end of the first year! It isn’t this one chance you have or it is over. It can feel worrying if you are still trying to find your people but the important thing to do is to keep going.
-Keep joining societies and keep talking to people! Even if you feel you have met your people, keep talking to others!
3) Being alone
Being alone has an inherently negative outlook and is portrayed as something that happens to you as some sort of failure. The question here is, is it a failure? Is it inherently negative? For me, I have learnt from University the power of being alone. Although I have amazing friends that I love being with it has been so important for me to practice and actively allow myself to have experiences alone. You can learn so much about yourself and feel very empowered about having this.
The ability to take myself out to do things I truly enjoyed was the most empowering because I felt confident in myself and secure. Feeling that security can be so helpful for everyday life at University to make sure you know that friendships may come and go but you are stable.
4) Imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is the feeling of doubting yourself and your own abilities which leads to the feeling of being out of place. It can sometimes feel that even though you earned your place at University, you simply fell through the gaps and aren’t supposed to be there. It was the case that whenever I handed in an essay I would think that this is how I would mess it up. However, it is so important to remember that you are deserving to be there. No matter what grades other people are getting or how they got there, you deserve this.
-Try not to place your self-worth in your grades, try and see them as how you can progress further through your education. For example, getting a lower grade than what you hoped for you is showing you how to improve.
Most likely, you will change as a person. This doesn’t mean in a negative way but because of these experiences and everything being new, you will adapt and change. Changing as a person is something that can be celebrated! I feel I have changed in a way that has made me a more confident person who is more self-assured.
It is okay to be worried about the changes that are going to happen. However, it is so important to remember that as much as there could be negative changes, positive ones will happen too!
-Try and feel a sense of confidence in yourself that you are doing what is best for you!
Burnout is one thing that can be really difficult to manage at University because a lot of people struggle to come out of burnout. The reason for this is trying to recharge at University is hard! When you need to maintain such a busy work and social life it can feel at the time that there is no time for yourself and this is what can cause burning out.
-The way I have found best with helping this feeling is to make time for yourself. This may look different to different people however it is just important to do what makes you feel good!
Overall, University can be a really positive experience in terms of growing and developing your own character. Although there is a lot of change and this may seem scary it is important to remember that this change is helping you grow!
Hopefully, this blog has given you some insight in case you are off to University soon or one of your loved ones is. How do you feel about going to University/How was it for you? Feel free to write a comment and let me know!
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