10 things I wish I had known before moving to university…

I have just finished my first year at the University of Sheffield and though my time has been cut short by Covid-19, I still feel that I have had an amazing and unforgettable experience. These are just a few things that would have calmed my nerves and would have been useful to know before moving to university.

  1. Moving to university will make you more confident and independent. You are thrown into the deep end when you move out of your family home, but by the end of the year you will notice how much more confident you are when speaking to new people and independent you are when looking after yourself and not relying on your parents.
  2. You are not on your own, everyone is in the same boat. Others will feel just as daunted as you do and will need help along the way just like you. If you don’t know how to do your laundry, you will not be the only one, so ask people for help and figure things out together, this is also a really good way to bond with people.
  3. Don’t worry about being unprepared. You do not need to come to university already knowing how to cook and do laundry, everyone learns these things together when you get there.
  4. Making friends is easy. Whether it be with flatmates, course mates or society friends, most people come to university knowing no one and are keen to meet people. Be open minded about making friends with everyone, even if they aren’t typically “your people”.
  5. You worked hard for your place, so get what you deserve! Though I have been very lucky to have settled well in my flat and on my course, I have known people who decided that their course isn’t for them, or they are unhappy in their accommodation. But don’t worry, if you feel things aren’t right, you can reach out to your course leaders and accommodation services and they will help to sort things out. After all you have worked hard for your place and are paying a lot for it.
  6. University is what you make of it. Try your best to get involved in all aspects of university life, it will make your experience better. This is a great way to help you settle in by keeping busy and meeting a lot of people. Though you don’t have to be the ultimate social butterfly, make an effort to get involved and put yourself out there.
  7. Constant socialising can be overwhelming but it is okay to have time to yourself. Particularly in your first term at university you will meet a lot of new people and it can be very tiring but it is okay to take some time out to chill and call your family.
  8. University is expensive! I definitely didn’t realise how much money I would spend and found that having a job in first year was a good decision. Have fun but be sensible with spending. Try to get a student bank account with a good overdraft facility and potentially a part time job on the side but don’t work too much that you are missing out on things.
  9. “The first year doesn’t count,” is a myth. Though your grades in first year may not contribute to your degree, this is not a reason to neglect your course. Spending time in lectures and meeting people on your course is a great way to settle in and make friends. You should attempt to attend as much as possible to get a good feel for your subject and so that you aren’t playing catch up in second year.
  10. Moving to university will be the best decision you ever made. Personally, I have had the most amazing experience in my first year and created a lot of good memories. I have met great friends and grown a lot as an individual.

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