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First Month Starting University

First month starting university

Starting university is an exciting time! It can also be a little overwhelming. A lot happens within the first four weeks of starting university, and so it can be difficult to stay on top of things. Where do you need to be? What do you need to do? What can you get involved with? What does the rest of the academic year hold? There’s a lot going on and a lot to think about. That being said, it’s a good idea to remember that there’s little pressure on you for the first month of starting university as it’s really a settling in period. 

Here are a few of the things you should be thinking about during that first month of starting university, so you can stay on top of everything and make the most of that special time.

Get Prepared to Start University

Gather up all your important documents

It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve gathered up all the paperwork you may need to show your university when you get there. If you’re an international student, is your visa sorted out and ready to go? If you only have a passport as identification, is it worth getting another form of ID organised so you don’t have to take your passport with you whenever you need to prove your age? Are there documents that you can hold digitally instead of physically (like a railcard for example)? If so, try to have digital versions where possible to avoid losing anything important.

Familiarise yourself with your student portal

On the run-up to leaving, you should be able to access some (if not all) of your student portal functions. By logging in and familiarising yourself with your online access, you’ll be a little more comfortable when you get there and have everything else to get used to. You might be able to review your timetable and even what societies are set up.

Make sure you know where you’re going

Do you know the name of your accommodation building and how far it is from the university buildings you’ll be using most of the time? Figuring this kind of thing out before you get there will save you a lot of stress on the day. You’ll need to know things like where to get your keys and what time you can pick them up.

Get your bearings

It’s time to explore your new city! The joy of the first month of starting university is getting to know your new town or city. Spend some time both on and off campus to get your bearings. On campus, where do you need to go for lectures and seminars? Where’s the library? Where’s the student union? Off-campus, find your nearest park, find some nice cafes or co-working spaces you might like to work from. Is there a market or supermarket close by that you can get your groceries from? Exploring the area with your new flatmates is a great way to get to know each other too.

Be a social butterfly

The first few weeks of starting university will be jam-packed with social events. Whether that’s freshers events, society socials or simply spending time with your new flatmates. If you want to make some new friends, this really is the best time for it. Throw yourself in at the deep end and join clubs or societies that appeal to you where you feel you might meet similarly-minded people to yourself. 

The first month of university is an extrovert’s dream. If you’re someone who is more introverted, make sure you get enough time to yourself to recover and recoup. The freshers life doesn’t suit everyone, so it’s okay if you want to take it easy and settle in in your own way. There will be lots of other new students who will want exactly the same thing as you. 

Settle into your new accommodation

Use the first month to get your bedroom and your communal rooms feeling a little more homely. You can do this by picking up a few potted plants, a couple of scatter cushions and throws to keep cosy when winter comes along, or even some fairy lights for your bedroom.

You will appreciate coming back to a welcoming space at the end of the day later on in the term. When it comes to communal spaces, within the first month of starting university, you might want to agree with your flatmates what things you need for the kitchen. You can start up a kitty for a few bits and pieces now and for getting communal essentials like washing up liquid and tea towels.

Join a society or two

This is the time to decide what hobby you might want to keep up or take up new at university. Do you enjoy drawing for example but never find the time to do it? Would you love to go skiing but struggle to find people to go with? This is the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into something new and meet some new, like-minded people while you’re at it. If you’re not too sure what to choose, try more than one – you can always drop them later on down the line when things get busier.

Along with making friends, joining a society at university is great for your CV. It helps demonstrate that you’re a proactive individual who wants to get involved in things and enjoys working in a team. You might even find yourself being part of the team who manage the society – organising events, managing the money and working in a team.

Any societies or clubs you join will also be a welcome break from your studies later on in the term when your workload picks up. Joining a sports team or a society that involves being active will be a healthy way to help relieve stress when things at university get a little harder.

The first month of university is an extrovert’s dream. If you’re someone who is more introverted, make sure you get enough time to yourself to recover and recoup. The freshers life doesn’t suit everyone, so it’s okay if you want to take it easy and settle in in your own way. There will be lots of other new students who will want exactly the same thing as you. 

Take good care of yourself

Starting university is probably one of the most lifestyle-changing events you’ll encounter within your lifetime. Your daily routine might differ quite significantly from being in school – your sleeping patterns or diet might change and you might find yourself a little stressed at certain points in the term. So, especially during the first month at university, you need to be particularly aware of taking care of yourself.

Managing your money

Take some time within this first month of starting university to plan out your spending for the year. Write down what you will have coming in and when, then make a list of all your outgoings. That’s everything from your rent and bills to your Spotify subscription and cups of coffee. Doing this will help you avoid overspending and running out of money later on. It means you can set some money aside to do fun things at university with the friends you make.

Focus on your work

And finally, remember why you’re at university in the first place. Start your academic year off well by bringing your whole self to your lectures and seminars. Listen closely at the beginning to what your lecturers and tutors have to say about what the rest of the year will hold. They will be focussing on assignment dates, how to submit, how they work and what they expect from you.

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