Welcome to Wednesday’s blog everyone. With Freshers’ Week drawing ever nearer, today we have a brilliant guest blog from Residence Life Helen, who is helping you to prepare for this exciting next chapter in your life.

There’s a story the world tells you, about coming to university. About Freshers’ Week, in particular. You’ve probably heard it. The story goes that it’s amazing. Just unimaginably epic. That it’s the single greatest week of your life; the time you make the best friends you’ll ever have and live happily ever after…

And yet, right about now, it’s very normal for lots of new students to be feeling a bit worried. Maybe that’s you, or maybe it will be. Maybe the idea of moving away from friends and family isn’t feeling particularly epic and amazing. Or maybe some parts of the mental picture you had about coming to university aren’t going according to plan – perhaps you haven’t been allocated the accommodation you hoped for, or you’ll be living in the private sector instead of in a university residence. Today’s blog is about that feeling, and things you can do to tackle it and work through it.

The reality is, most people do have a great experience of university life. They find friends and forge new relationships; they grow and change and learn about themselves and the world. But, realistically, you don’t do all that in a week, or even in a month or a term – it’s more gradual, and it often involves surprises and changes of direction along the way. And, for most people, starting uni is a big change to many aspects of your life – where you live, how you spend your time, who you spend it with… when you think about it, it’s not very surprising that it’s often a mixture of exciting bits and challenges.

Things you can do now

  • Student Minds have a fantastic ‘Know Before You Go’ guide to help you prepare for the transition to university life, with lots to think about. It’s well worth a read.
  • Take a look at the list of Freshers’ Week events and think about what you might like to get involved with. You don’t have to commit to a firm plan now, but having a rough outline of the week mapped out can be helpful. A good strategy is to incorporate something you’re already familiar with and enjoy doing; and also try something you’ve never done before – maybe radio drama? Breakdancing? Chess? (One note, though: there are over 900 events listed. Don’t try to do all of them. That will not go well.)
  • If starting uni is going to involve taking on tasks you haven’t really had to do before – food shopping, cooking, laundry, managing your budget, making your own appointments, or navigating public transport – now is a really good time to practice them. If there’s something you don’t feel confident about, is there a way you can give it a go now?
  • When you’re packing, think about how you’d like to personalise your room to make it feel like home. Many students really value having lots of photos of friends and family on the noticeboard in their room – why not spend some time choosing which ones to bring?

Things to do when you arrive

  • Meet people! Wherever you’re living – on or off campus, in a flat or a catered hall or a studio – you’ll be joining the Exeter student community with tons of opportunities to get involved. Take them. Start getting involved in things that interest you, start connecting – start planting the seeds of the friendships that will grow throughout your time here.
  • Explore! Find the nearest shop, the laundry, the library, the way into town. You’ll feel more settled when you know your way around.
  • Take care of yourself! Let’s face it, you’re bound to feel horrible if you don’t. Try to incorporate things like healthy food and drink, a sensible amount of sleep and a bit of exercise. If you choose to drink alcohol, pace yourself and remember to have some alcohol-free days.
  • If you find you feel homesick, you aren’t alone. This can be a really intense rollercoaster experience – and it can happen wherever you’re living, and even if you’ve lived away from home before. The good news is, it does pass with time – you’ll gradually start to feel more and more at home. Keep busy, enjoy the fun parts, and if you need someone to talk to, remember the Residence Life Team and Nightline are great resources – all the team members are students themselves, know what it’s like, and are here to help.
  • Finally, remember that social media isn’t very representative of real life – people tend to use it to curate the good bits. All your friends may seem to be having a fantastic time, but probably so do you. So, don’t judge yourself against other people, just concentrate on taking care of yourself and shaping each day into a positive experience.

We’re so much looking forward to meeting you all when you arrive! I firmly believe you’ll have a great time, but please don’t put yourself under pressure to be feeling 100% wonderful every moment of the day – and remember, Freshers’ Week is just the beginning of the story. Welcome to ‘once upon a time…’

Thank you to Helen for these reassuring words of wisdom. On the topic of ‘arriving’,  our Arrivals booking system will be temporarily suspended from 12pm on Wednesday 11 September to allow for us to collate up to date resident lists in preparation for the weekend. It will reopen on Monday 16 September so that any of you looking to arrive between 16 September and 16 October will be able to book an arrival slot. The Induction system will remain open, so you can still complete this and clue yourself up with everything you need to know about your residence.

If you’re in the midst of packing, but want to save yourself the hassle of getting together all your bedding, kitchen and bathroom essentials, then UniKitOut can help. Now is the last chance to order for pre-arrival delivery. Shop now and save 10% with the discount code EXETER10 .

Accommodation Meridith