Settling in to Student Life: top tips
17 August 2021
Life as a student is pretty unique. It's a time when you might be figuring out who you are and what you want: experimenting, trying new things, meeting new people, seeing what life has to offer beyond the boundaries you may be used to. It can be exciting, nerve-wracking, confusing, even totally terrifying…
And it's different for everybody.
Those first few days, weeks, even months at university can be pretty tricky. There's a lot to figure out and get used to and it's a big change, especially if you've moved away from home. The settling in period is different for everyone.
Some people find it really easy. They might thrive off their new-found freedom and enjoy the challenges they face, such as adjusting to a new place, making new friendships and connections, and taking in the huge amounts of information, suggestions and advice that comes their way.
Others might have a more difficult experience, struggling outside of their comfort zones, lacking in confidence or support, or feeling overwhelmed by everything.
Either way it's totally normal. In fact, you might even find you go between the two: to be enjoying yourself one minute and feeling uneasy or homesick the next.
Settling in to university life can be a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, so with the help of some of our Kooth counsellors, we've put together this handy list of tips to help the process run as smoothly as possible:
Reach out your support network
Whether it's your friends or family back home, or people who are around you, your support network can pick you up when you're feeling down. Whether it’s a quick text or Whatsapp message, an email, social media post or a phone call - we all need someone to lean on during difficult times.
“Staying connected with people who know you can be so helpful during periods of change like starting university. It might even help you to feel more confident and relaxed knowing you have people to support you.” Kooth therapist
Take time for yourself
You-time is especially important when you're going through something big. Whether it's taking a few minutes out to go for a walk or spending an evening in by yourself, stepping out of the academic and social scenes to just be by yourself can help to ease the pressure.
“With a jam-packed timetable in those early weeks, taking a few minutes out (or however long you need) can help you decompress and recharge so you don’t get too overwhelmed. It can also be an ideal time to reflect on what’s happening and how you really feel.” Kooth therapist
Enjoy your comforts
Whether it's your favourite book, a film you love or those songs you listen to on repeat, our comforts help to ground us and make us feel safe and relaxed. Stepping outside of our comfort zones is great, but it can be really challenging and sometimes scary too, so remember it’s okay to indulge yourself with feeling super comfortable every now and again!
“Doing things you find comforting or enjoyable is essential self-care. It’s a way to say ‘I am Important’ without words. It’s also a great way to soothe some of our difficult feelings when things feel too much.” Kooth therapist
Be kind to yourself
Remember that it's okay not to be okay. Settling in to a new place with new people and a whole new way of life is a lot of change all at once, so look after yourself and do what feels right for you. If this feels tricky (as sometimes it does), focusing on what you might say to a friend who is finding things difficult might be helpful.
“We often focus on being kind to others and while that’s a great skill to have, self kindness is that inner voice we can develop that helps us take care of ourselves too. It supports us and gives us understanding instead of criticism. It’s the voice that says, ‘you tried your best’ instead of ‘you failed’ or ‘what do you need?’ instead of ‘get on with it’. It’s an empowering skill to have but often one we have to practice.” Kooth therapist
And finally from us, best of luck for your first term. Don’t forget, however things are going for you, you are not alone. You can always reach out for support here at Kooth Student.
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