Standard. None of us do – you’ll also find that all major adulthood transitions make you feel a bit unsure about where you’re headed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t jump in with both feet. Starting uni is exciting and daunting, but there are things you can do to ensure you don’t fall off the radar. And I mean that academically, socially and personally. Listen up.
Easier said than done when you’re trembling like a Chihuahua, but nerves may bring on a tendency to bite off more than you can chew. You don’t want to do that to yourself. Relax, you’re at university, you’re already a high-achiever. Statistically you’re already in the top 10% of the country, academically, so there is no need to try and prove yourself by taking on extra uni work like a maniac in your first year. Don’t get me wrong, being ambitious is fine, but allow yourself time to get used to the regular uni workload before you start piling on more.
Uni is exciting all year-round. There are always things to do. But don’t make the mistake of thinking every week is like O’Week. There aren’t thousands of people gathered at activities and parties all day every day. Many people fall into a particular circle after the Semester starts up, so make sure you throw yourself into O’Week and get involved early. Join societies, introduce yourself, put your feelers out. Once everyone gets stuck into their uni work there won’t be as much time to search for your social circle. The earlier you find your interests, the earlier you’ll meet like-minded people, and the more exciting your semester! Get involved.
Your study/work/social life is a bit of a juggling act, but it’s certainly manageable. If you’re working to support yourself while studying, you might think there isn’t much time left over for your social life – that’s just not true. Dedicating time to your social life is good for your mental health, and it shouldn’t be ignored just because you’re busy with other things. Make sure you set aside time to relax with friends, even if it’s just to grab a coffee between classes. The friendly chat can make all the difference to an otherwise stressful week of uni and work shifts. Take the time, and reach out to your friends when you need it. Or even when you don’t. Balance is key.
There is a reason you came to university. It might be because you were bored, or maybe you have a dream career you’re chasing, either way, just make sure you remember why you made the decision to start uni. It will be helpful when you lose focus, and trust me, you will lose focus at one stage or another. It’s so important to have a direction, even if you’re not sure what that direction is yet. University is all about finding out what you want to do, and the kind of person you want to become, so if you’re feeling a bit directionless don’t worry, just don’t lose the dedication to get back on track.
You’ll hear advice from a lot of different people about the best way to approach your first year of university, and you might find all of it instructive. But if you’re feeling a little daunted by the prospect of people telling you how to navigate this new part of your life, just remember that you have a reason for being here and that’s what you need to focus on. Nothing else matters as long as you’re at university for your own reasons.