The stereotype image of university life is a group of students having a whale of a time – going out to college parties, getting drunk, enjoying being irresponsible before joining the real world of work … and even occasionally going to the odd lecture. And for lots of students, life really can be a ball (some of the time – no one can spend their entire time dressed in a poncho, sombrero and fake moustache for a Mexican Fiesta Party J ) BUT, student life can also be difficult – the pressures of leaving home for the first time brings up all manner of insecurities and anxieties. Add that to the pressure of always looking like you’re having the most amazing time of your life and it’s no surprise that the first week of the university term is a huge emotional challenge for lots of new students.
Think about it …. Who would choose to be dropped off by their nearest and dearest into a situation where the accommodation is seriously under par compared to your family home, you don’t know anyone and you suddenly have to start cooking, washing and generally doing all the things that someone else has been doing for you for years..? It doesn’t sound like a brilliant idea on the face of it – but that’s what is happening to millions of 18 year olds in the UK this month. Of course, the expectation is that it’s going to get a whole lot better – bur right now, it’s tough.
So what can students do to make things easier?
- Even if you’re shy and nervous, make the effort to go into the communal area of your accommodation – don’t sit in your room all the time. Leave your door open when you are in there so others know that you are up for a chat. When I first took my son up to uni, we took a big cake – having something to share is a way of making that initial contact and is an ice-breaker.
- Have a look at the clubs and societies on offer in fresher’s week – create a social life for yourself with other like-minded people.
- Remind yourself that everyone in your flat or on your course are all in the same boat as you – if you’re all too shy to make the first move, then you’ll never talk to anyone!
- Be honest about how you feel – you don’t have to off load ALL your fears onto the first person you see but there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re a bit nervous about starting uni. Some people can over compensate by creating a whole persona of fake confidence – most people can see through that!
- Accept that the few couple of weeks WILL be hard – but will get better.
- Look after yourself – eat well, get some exercise and be good to yourself.
- Stick with it for a while before rushing home for the weekend. Give yourself time to re-adjust to your new life.
- Lastly, if you feel that things really are getting on top of you, find out about emotional help from Student Services – lots of universities offer well-being classes (such as mindfulness) as well as counselling. Don’t suffer in silence.
For a range of MP3s – including a FREE Relaxation audio, and audio/ebook for Social Anxiety, please use the following link to Bluebell Therapy’s new shop: