5 Things You Should Know Before Starting University
September 1, 2022
1. You May Feel Homesick and Lonely at Times
Starting college or university is a weird time because even though you may be really pumped to start a new adventure and meet new people, it’s a huge departure from the life you’ve known for years. It’s incredibly common for feelings of homesickness or loneliness to set in after all the hype of Orientation Week dissipates. It can help to call or visit home (if possible), or even speak with a mental health professional on campus if you want help knowing how to navigate those feelings.
It is totally normal to feel lonely during first year. Just know that everyone is in the same boat, and that as you spend more time getting to know your new friends, you will start to feel better.
2. The First Three Months Can Be Disorienting
New environment, new living space, new faces, new food, new courses, new schedules, new teachers, new classrooms, new clothes, new responsibilities, new colors, everything is new when you start college and university! Literally everything. Give yourself at least three months to adjust to all the newness, and don’t worry if you get three months in and still feel jumbled. Depending on how much you rely on routine, it may take you longer to get into the right groove. But don’t expect too much from yourself in the first three months.
3. You Don’t Have to Stay Friends with Everyone You Meet in First Year
Like we said above, moving to college or university comes with a lot of new faces. In the first week alone, you could meet hundreds of new people. You may become really good friends with people on your floor, in your classes and in whatever extracurricular activities you get involved with. But don’t feel pressured to keep up with every new person you meet in your first year (or even in that first week).
Discern who you’d like to get to know better and invest in those relationships. Not sure where to start? Think about who makes you feel lifted up, who challenges you to do better and who seems to have a great outlook on life.
4. This is the Time to Try Everything
Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before. But it’s worth saying again. Try EVERYTHING. Ever wondered about fencing? Always wanted to take an acting class? Saw a flyer for a basket-weaving club and thought that looked cool? Want to try out for the club track team? Do it!
Though it may feel like your schedule only has room for classes, studying and more studying, go the extra mile and make time for trying something new or something you’ve always wanted to try. Colleges and universities have an incredible array of clubs and activities that may not be as accessible once you graduate.
5. Get Good Systems in Place Early
Along with everything else that’s new at school, you will have to keep track of a ton of new responsibilities. Unless you’re going to live at home (and even if you are, you should still practice these!), you’ll need to learn how to manage your money, do laundry, balance a schedule and take care of yourself! Set yourself up for success later by taking the initiative to learn these skills now. Scheduling in some time to work on your budget or learn laundry best-practices can save you a lot of headaches (and keep you from wearing the same jeans for months) later on.
Starting your first year at college or university is one of the biggest transitions of your life. The more prepared you are going into it, the better your experience will be.