When you go to university, it’s a difficult place to find your feet. While some have been living independently for a while, or have had the chance to travel, for many this could be the first time they’ve been living away from home, the first time they’ve had to go cold into a new situation and make a place for themselves there.
Finding yourself in a new place where no-one knows you and you don’t know anyone is a liberating experience for many – these people don’t know the old embarrassing stories about you, the school nickname you’d love to shed, or remember the stutter you shed only after great effort. This gives you a great blank canvas to make friends and establish a new reputation, but a university is a big place and it can be difficult to find your own place within it.
Today we’re looking a few ways you can make a name for yourself at university, and make sure you’re living the university life you want and deserve.
Life at Home
The first thing to do is make sure you’ve met everyone you’re living with. If you’re living in student accommodation, Huddersfield, Oxford or Southampton in your first year at least you have little choice about the people you live with. It behoves you to take the initiative and introduce yourself, unless you intend to isolate yourself entirely while you’re studying. Keep your door open on that first day as you move in and be ready to organise a tea round for everyone else. That starts a conversation and puts you unobtrusively at the centre of it.
You need a group of friends around you, not only as company and willing assistance for any plans you might have, but as a vital support network. Students are grappling more and more with the mental health issues of pressure, isolation, anxiety and depression. Having friends you trust and can talk to is a vital buffer against such shocks.
A great place to look for friends is in the universities clubs and societies: we walked earlier about the university as a broad blank canvas for you. Joining a couple of clubs full of people that share these interests give you a head start on colouring this canvas in, giving a basis for some lasting friendships.
And of course if the sort of reputation you want to pursue is one of leadership and authority, standing for a place on the board or committee of your favourite clubs is a good place to start.