Top 10 tips for starting University

Student smiling and handing out maps in a Welcome t-shirt.

Welcome to the Uni of Reading!

My name is Drew and I’m in my final year of studying Politics and International Relations.

If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling nervous and full of excitement all at the same time. Starting university is (hopefully) one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. You finally get some freedom and get to meet plenty of new people. There’s always so much to take in and so many things to do that it’s near impossible to know where to start, so here are my top 10 tips for starting university:

  1. Get to know your flatmates: These are the first students you’ll meet, and you’ll be living together for at least 9 months, so it’s important you get to know them. Once you’ve sorted out your new room, go mingle in the kitchen or offer to help unpack. I remember when my new housemate brought loads of snacks and we all sat in the kitchen just eating them all and chatting for hours.
  • Make your room feel homely: Making your room feel homely can have such a big impact on your mental health and feeling like you belong. It can be depressing if you just feel like you’re staying in temporary accommodation. Spice your room up with photos of your favourite people, warm coloured lights, and loads of cushions and blankets! (Check out fellow Student Content Creator’s Anemona’s blog for more tips on how to make your Uni room feel cosy!)
  • Start a flat group chat: This is the best way to communicate with your flat when you’re not all together. This comes in handy when you need to ask questions, nag people to do their washing up or are making plans to go out.
  • Go to the freshers’ fayre: Going to the freshers’ fayre is the best way to find out about societies and sports clubs. You can see what these clubs do, what they have planned for freshers’ and get loads of freebies. If you miss the freshers’ fayre never fear, you can still get involved in clubs and societies, check out Reading Students’ Union opportunities page for more information!
  • Go to as many social events as possible: Going to different social events is the best way to meet new people and make new friends. You can find social events through societies/sports clubs and through Student Life Events on the Welcome app. Remember that there are plenty of non-drinking socials and that you can drink non-alcoholic drinks at “drinking” socials.
  • Create a budget: It’s important you make the most of your money when you start at university, especially with the increased cost of living.  The best way to do this is to plan the things you need to buy through a budget. If you’re not sure how to do this, then have a look at the Money Matters essential page.

There’s also a Life Tools talk on how to ‘Live well on a student budget and prevent debt’ on Wednesday 20 September 14:30-15:15 in Palmer 106. No need to sign up, just drop-in.

  • Speak to people on your course: It’s day one on your course and everyone is sat in silence because they’re too shy to start a conversation. Be the one to start the conversation and then everyone will get less nervous and start speaking to you as well. Starting a conversation with new people can be daunting but just go for it. Even simple questions such as: What halls are you in? What are you studying? Where have you moved from?
  • Make sure you study: This wouldn’t be a university blog post if I didn’t remind you to study. But seriously, keep on top of your uni work otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed, and you’ll run out of time to have fun. If you need tips on studying, then visit the Study Advice service.
  • Go to your school/department welcome talk: This is the best way to understand how your course is structured and what you need to do to prepare for your modules. It’s also a great way to meet other people on your course. You can use the UoR Welcome app to find the details the course talks and activities taking place.
  1. Take care of yourself: starting university can be a very busy time and can get stressful, so it’s important to take time for yourself. Try having a movie night, meditating, reading a good book or just anything you really enjoy to help you unwind. Make sure to check out the support and wellbeing pages on Essentials to find out about all the personal support available to you throughout your time at the University of Reading.

Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your time at uni. Just remember to be yourself and have fun. I wish you the best of luck!

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