The first few months at university can seem like a bit of a whirlwind of organising, finding your way, and meeting what feels like a million new people – if you need a bit of a survival guide, we’ve worked with student living specialists, Scape, to put together a few tips.
Make your room feel like your room
If you’re living away from home for the first time, making your new room feel like home is going to be a priority. Obviously, there will be some rules to follow – this isn’t Grand Designs – but you can still get creative and turn it into a room of your own without sacrificing your deposit.
Having a few plants around your room can instantly help to spruce it up and create a relaxed, soothing atmosphere. Studies have shown that certain species of plants can clear toxins from the air in your room, lift your mood, and even make you more productive. They come in all shapes and sizes, too, so why not mix it up – go for a large plant in the corner and maybe a few small ones for your desk or windowsill. If you’re not exactly Alan Titchmarsh and struggle to keep your plants alive, opt for a couple of fake ones for the same aesthetic.
Even though you’ve moved out, it can be nice for parts of your room to remind you of home, too – photos are a great way to inject some personality into your space. You can find some nice freestanding frames in different sizes to sit on your desk and around your room, or you can stick them to the wall (with paint-safe command strips) for a nice collage.
Get involved and meet people
Enjoy discovering life on your own! Join some fun clubs and go to as many events as you can – it’s an easy way to meet as many people as possible. If you’re living in a shared flat or even have a shared kitchen, these communal areas are a great space to get chatting.
Although you might feel homesick at times, this is completely normal and comes with the territory. Staying in regular contact with your family and friends will help keep you grounded and remind you that despite being far from home, you’re not at all alone.
Most universities have a generous offering of various clubs and societies – there’s always something for everyone, and in the rare case there isn’t, it’s not very difficult to start your own. Joining a club or society is great for meeting people with shared interests across faculties and expanding your network.
And don’t be worried about getting in touch with people you meet afterward to catch up for a coffee or a drink! You’ll all be in the same boat, so trust us, they’ll be glad you messaged them.
Look after your body
It’s easy to over-indulge, especially in the first few months with plenty of free pizzas and often a few too many drinks. But try to balance this out with a little bit of self-care. Try to eat as healthily as you can, when you can – plenty of fruit and veg (even in a smoothie will help), protein like chicken, tofu, or pulses, and lots of water. Plus, you’re likely to save some cash if you cook at least one meal a day rather than relying on your trusty Deliveroo driver to bring you dinner!
Remember to exercise too! If you’re more of a home workout person, get hold of a yoga mat or join a fun online dance class. Exercise can make you feel super energised and releases those amazing endorphins which will give your mental health and mood a real boost.
Make time for your mental wellbeing
It’s going to be a busy time, and university is exciting, but it can challenge your mental health too. Having good mental health means you can cope with daily life and manage your stress. Taking care of your wellbeing is for everyone, whether you’ve ever experienced mental health issues or not.
It can be difficult trying to find time for yourself at university when you’re trying to keep up with everything else but try to relieve the pressure and do something you enjoy taking your mind off of things if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed – or even if you’re not. Watch your favourite TV show, draw, or listen to music. Meditating is also a great way to calm your mind, even just for 20 minutes a day.
And ensure you get some good sleep! Easier said than done, we know, but getting some rest at such a busy time will benefit you massively. Science has shown that regular sleep is actually even more beneficial than getting more sleep, so try to go to bed and wake up at similar times every day. If you’re struggling to switch off, try listening to something calming to send you to sleep.
If you’re feeling like it’s all too much, talk about it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Talk to someone, whether it’s a friend – new or old, a family member, or your course tutor. There will always be ways to help you feel better about your situation.