University. A place where dreams become reality and you find out who you really are… How are you feeling? I was terrified and excited all at once. Awed by meeting new people at university. Intrigued by the prospect of reinventing myself.

Rest easy, you are not alone; everyone who has ever been to uni has been on this journey. Here are a few pointers to help you in those all important first few weeks…

Be bold.

They may have visited the uni already but everyone will be just as self conscious and scared as you when they arrive ‘for real’, even though they may not show it. Just say, “hello”. What is the worst that can happen? No one is going to be able to get to know you if you don’t talk.

So, in those first few days, say hello to your new neighbours. Try and help out if you can and just be approachable and open. If you have no idea what to say then just listen.

Be brave.

We are all afraid of meeting new people and going to new places. University is a fresh start, a place where you can be anything that you want to be.

Don’t get caught up on what people used to think about you in secondary school. Put yourself out there. Invite people out for a drink. Stand out and be confident. Explore your new surroundings. Go clubbing. Be interested in everything and you will find others interested in you.

Join in.

Join in with as much as you can. From archery to yoga, try things out at least once. If it doesn’t work out, you will at least have a few funny stories to tell.

Speak to new people you meet in class and your halls and find out what they are doing. You may not like everything you try, but through process of elimination you will find out what it is that you really do get a kick out of.

Try things.

There is nothing that you cannot do and you should adopt the mantra that there are no failures, only experiences. You will be amazed where you can end up if, when people ask you something (and as long as it is reasonable), you just say ‘YES’. Better to do too much and reel it in, than not enough and feel like you missed the boat.

Good luck and don’t worry. Remember you got through the first day of secondary school and you will get through this.

By Michael Muttiah