Ah, your first everÂ university term.
Starting university is a brand new chapter in the book that is your life. It’s a fresh start. You get to live away from home, make incredible life-long friends, broaden your mind and so much more. But first, you have to navigate your way through your first ever uni term.
Later in your university life, you’ll muse on this period of time with reflective fondness. When you’re in the midst of it, though, it’s a different story. Your first term at university can, from time to time, feel a little bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re all in this together.
To prepare you as best we can for what is toÂ come, we’re talking through a few of the things that will mostÂ definitely happen during your first term at university.
1. You’ll (probably) drink more than you ever thought possible.
It’s no secret that students love a good night out and there are plenty to be had during Freshers’ Week. When you’re all of a sudden dropped into a brand new environment away from home and are keen to make friends, it’s all too easy to get swept up in a week of partying. If that’s your thing, that’s cool! That’s what Freshers’ Week is all about, right? It is (for the most part) happy mayhem. (Just look after yourself, okay? Stay hydrated and don’t be that person who ruins themselves so badly on the first night that they can’t enjoy the rest of the week. It’s totally not worth it; the FOMO will be too much!)
On the other hand, although Freshers’ Week culture often seems to be all about partying and getting drunk, if that’s not your thing, that’s cool too. You should never feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. Though, we get it, when all of your flatmates are hyped about their fourth night in a row of partying and you literally can’t think of anything worse but everyone else is doing it – it’s hard to be the only one to decline.
At the end of the day, you have to stay true to yourself and what you feel comfortable with. If drinking and partying isn’t your thing, there are loads of events going in during Freshers’ Week that don’t involve alcohol and you’ll end up finding a ton of like-minded people.
2. You’ll get lost.
Kudos to you if you manage to navigate your way around your new university campus successfully from the get-go. But let’s face it: you probably won’t. Sorry to break it to you, but there will be that one lecture that may as well be located on another planet because trying to find it will fluster the hell out of you, resulting in you being at least 15 minutes late, profusely apologising to your lecturer between each quickened breath.
In case it does happen, leaveÂ for your lectures and seminars that little bit earlier. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions if you’re really struggling – you’re new, you can’t possibly be expected to know the campus like the back of your hand in the first few weeks.
3. You’ll sign up to too many clubs at Fresher’s Fair.
Ah, Freshers’ Fair. Or ‘societies fair’ as it’s sometimes known – is an event typically held in the middle or towards the end of Freshers’ Week. It gives new and current students alike the chance to discover all of the societies and clubs running at your institution.
There are weird and wonderful societies aplenty to be found at Freshers’ Fair. It’s likely that you’ll see more than one or two that align perfectly with your interests and you’ll be signing up to everything left, right and centre. Everyone is guilty of it.
Fast forward a few weeks later, when you start settling into more of a routine and don’t have time for absolutely everythingÂ alongside studies, socialising and enough sleep;Â you’ll realise that signing up to the Nicolas Cage Appreciation Society wasÂ maybe a step too far.
4. Your first ever university assignment will be due.
After the blur of Freshers’ Week has passed, trust us, your lecturers will not waste any time getting into the work. (Yes, believe it or not, you do actually attend university to work! Who knew?) Before long, your first ever university assignment will be due. *Gulp*
Don’t worry too much. As it’ll be your first ever university assignment, your lecturers won’t be expecting perfect scores. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try your very best, though. There are a ton of resources out there to giving you a helping hand.
5. You’ll have a 5-minute-best-friend.
Or two. Or three.
The thought of starting university and not knowing anyone is a pretty daunting thought. Keep in mind that essentially everyone is in the same boat, and as such, everyone will be trying their very best to make friends and fit in as soon as possible.
This means that you’ll likely end up attaching yourself to someone – anyone. Be it your next-door neighbour in halls or the person who sits next to you in lectures on the very first day. Though, soon enough, you’ll realise that you probably don’t have very much in common with this person and the two of you will likely spend the rest of the year awkwardly avoiding each other at every given opportunity…
Alas, don’t worry. Eventually, you will find your very own group of like-minded people who will go on to be life-long friendship material. Don’t panic if it doesn’t happen overnight.
6. You’ll have a few what-the-hell-am-I-doing moments.
When the dust from Freshers’ Week begins to settle and you find yourself curled up in bed suffering with the infamous Freshers’ Flu (yes, it’s real) wishing more than anything you were back at home in your own bed with your parents looking after you; you’ll probably start to feel a little doubtful about university life and whether you’re cut out for it all.
Those what-the-hell-am-I-doing moments plague almost everyone in their first term at university – you’re not the first and certainly won’t be the last to feel this way. However, typically, this feeling of dread is nothing more than a result of homesickness, Freshes’ Flu, sleep deprivation and this big, sudden change in your life. It’s totally normal.
Having a good chat with someone from back home will make you feel more at ease, as will getting a good night’s sleep and maybe eating a nutritious meal or two. Uni life is likely a world away from the life you had back home and so it will take some time to adapt.
However, if these feelings do continue even well into your second semester at university, it may be worthwhile having a chat with your course tutor (or even your GP) to figure out what your options are and, ultimately, what is best for you moving forward.
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