Mentally preparing for University

Posted 3 years ago

Your first university experience is just around the corner

How do you feel?

Whether you're feeling ecstatic, anxious or just unsure of what to expect, that's completely normal. You're expected to have lots of thoughts and questions flying around your head. By mentally preparing yourself for what is about to happen and what comes with this new lifestyle change, it won't come as much of a shock to your system once you've arrived...

Will I make friends?

Whether you'll make friends or not will definitely be something you think about before moving to uni. It's the thing that most first years worry about. It's normal - you're leaving your friends behind and about to make new ones! Remind yourself that this experience is new for everyone and every single student will be looking for a friendly face to talk to and hopefully become friends with. No matter how nervous you are, don’t hold back - make that first move and introduce yourself to people; who knows, these could be the people that really shape your uni experience!

This is a huge transition in your life and not something you've experienced before. Student Minds, the UK's student mental health charity, understand this and have created a guide to help you to really mental prepare yourself for all aspects of student life. They have also put together 'Student Space', specifically to make it easier to find the support you need on everything from mental health and wellbeing to friendships and social life at University. 

What if I don't like my course?

The thought of starting your university course may be making you anxious because of the fear that you may not enjoy it. Go into it open-minded. You won’t be able to master everything straight away and you might be unsure at first, but give it time. You should allow at least a few weeks until you ultimately decide whether it's for you or not. 

Also, some people just 'get it' straight away and others don't so try not to compare yourself to other people on your course. Everyone has their own pace of learning and that’s just your personal development blossoming.

One thing to prepare yourself for is feeling stressed once deadlines start. The best way to cope with this is to always allow free time for yourself. Create a timetable and make it a necessity that you have regular breaks and remember there is also always someone you can speak to on your course and centrally at the university too.

How will I cope without my friends/family?

Chances are that you will feel homesick once you're at uni because independence can be quite daunting for young adults and that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Most students, especially during Welcome Week, will be missing home just as much as you are. It'll be hard but try not to go home straight away; we would encourage you to speak to your friends and family at home whenever you need, but try to get used to coping without your parents/guardians as much as you can. Talk to other students about how you're feeling and try to spend time with them because then you can be there for one another and it'll keep you both distracted. 

If you are feeling down and as though you can’t talk to other students about how you are feeling it is still important you speak to your family where you can, as well as staff in Halls and centrally at the University - they will be able to reassure and guide you more professionally about how to cope.

Hopefully, that helps you get yourself a bit more prepared and gives you more of an idea of what to expect. You are definitely not alone in feeling nervous about starting University but remember there is plenty of support available to help you through.

Click here to see some more Support and Advice articles on the Halls Life website to help you prepare.