How to prepare for university

Hello! Welcome to this blog by me, Ryan. I wanted to use this space to talk about my experiences with various topics. I know you’re probably thinking, ‘what makes you so special’. Well to be entirely honest, the answer is Nothing. But if my experience ends up helping just one person who reads then that makes me a happy person. 

So I wanted this blog to help with preparation as something someone can come back to whenever they need. Preparing for University is such a big deal so it doesn’t have to be rushed; unless of course you’re the sort of person who loves a near impossible challenge the day before (Hi, I’m that sort of person). I’m going to run through how I planned to go to university and what you might need. We’ll take a look at physical things you might need, but also how to prepare yourself mentally for university. The advice I have to give is very much based on my limited experience, but I hope it can help some other people.

A simple way of planning the physical items is like pretending you’re going abroad for a few months (after the year we’ve had everyone needs it) but you don’t know what country you’re going to, so you can’t just take a whole suitcase of swimwear, you’ll need to balance your clothing for the wonderfully random British climate. For a lot of people, you’ll be taking your things in one car to university. So as much as a car full of clothes and not much else, would be sufficient for some people, it is not the best approach to living away. Just like a holiday, you’ll need your typical bathroom items, and even some cooking/kitchen items to take along with you. Unlike a luxury hotel however, you need to bring your own duvet, sheets and blankets which I made the silly mistake of not doing the first time. If you’ve forgotten anything along the way you can always get anything you missed anyway, at nearby Tesco (or wherever your shop of choice is). So I’ve spoken about all your essential items being so important, but equally important are your luxury items. What do you want to take that makes your life happier or easier? For me, it was my laptop and my camera and for you guys it may be completely different. The idea for me was to make the dorm rooms seem less like prison cells, and more like a bedroom by adding posters, tapestry, basically if blu-tack keeps it up, you can have whatever you want on your walls (and I’d fully recommend it). 

I’ve spoken about the physical items that you need to take with you to university but just as important as that, is your mental preparation for a completely new experience. Before going to uni, a lot of people haven’t been away from home for any length of time. Some people may struggle being away from home and some people may be okay with it, everyone is completely different. Creating some sort of method of communication between yourself and your family before going to uni can be amazing, whether that be creating some family group chats or even just setting a time each week to call your family in advance, it will all help to relieve that initial homesickness. University is going to be an unusual experience, especially for the first few weeks, meeting so many new people with new habits and schedules. The thing that worked for me was being positive about everything I possibly could (which I understand is much easier said than done). But if you get excited about the things you could achieve and accomplish, things could be amazing. On a slightly more realistic note however, people have very different experiences with mental health at university. As I spoke about in my last post; a lot of universities have mental health support and there is a handy website to know what your one will have (I’ll link it below like last time). Knowing what support is at your chosen university can very much help you if you’re ever in the situation that you might need it.

Before moving to university I had a little head start on some of the people I was going to meet. After being accepted onto the course, the head lecturer created a facebook group which we would use to communicate to the lecturers to ask any questions. Through that, someone had the brilliant idea to add everyone into a messenger group without the lecturers so we could get to know one another. Seeing as my confidence at the time was next to non-existent, it was a great way to speak to like-minded people that I would get to know, without having to start a conversation of my own. At Staffordshire University (and potentially other unis), there was a freshers group on social media for my intake, which meant it was easy to see all the new people and connect with whoever I wanted. If so far, there is no way of communicating with potential friends then don’t worry, making friends is so easy whilst at university and can really be done within freshers week if you would prefer that to see people in person to make your new friends.

My final piece of advice is to GET EXCITED. University is such an amazing experience and it’s made better if you think of everything positive that you can get from it. For a lot of people this is their one shot at university and the uni lifestyle so MAKE IT COUNT. The friends that you can along the way, the life experience and the snazzy degree you get at the end is something to be proud of and an amazing thing to work towards and be excited about.

https://studentspace.org.uk/find-support – Student Space , Support services provided by university.