Mary shares her experience of dealing with fear when first starting out at university
1, Making friends
Yup, that awful feeling that somehow all the people you meet at uni just won’t be on your wavelength. And you’ll be alone. Forever.
But seriously, there are SO many opportunities to make friends and it’s all about making the most of these opportunities.
As soon as I got to uni, I signed up to the Tennis Soc because I’d played a little when I was younger. It was the best thing I ever did at uni – I joined a team, played doubles, got fit and met so many people. One of them remains one of my best mates (9 years after graduating!).
Find your Tennis Soc as soon as you can – doesn’t have to be sport related, could just be subject related, a job on campus – anything that forces you out of your room and gets you talking and laughing with other like-minded people is so very important.
2. Keeping up with the workload
The word 'dissertation' still gives me nightmares. Even in my first year as the essay assignments piled up, I internally couldn’t understand how anyone could write so many words in such little time.
The truth: it’s not as bad as you think and there is so much support.
As well as learning to organise my time better (e.g. just waking up a bit earlier, not procrastinating on Facebook ), I learned to reach out to my personal tutor whenever I felt I couldn’t cope.
3. Spending too much money
My addiction for shopping and looking my absolute best at the next student night out was a great fear of mine – how could I afford to maintain this lifestyle?
The answer was I couldn’t. Full-stop. Once I succeeded at points 1 and 2 above, however, I was able to borrow outfits from newly acquired friends (we even had names for said outfits such as ‘the seagull’ – a dress with seagulls on it – I didn’t say we were creative!) and procrastinate less.
The other way I dealt with the issue was getting a job that I could fit around my studies. This was being a Course Ambassador, which I did for a few hours a week - a great source of income without being too stressful to juggle with my studies.
4. Leaving home
While I was excited about getting away from my parents and having the associated freedom, I was also terrified of how I’d cope with life without all the home comforts. I remember my mum crying as soon as we walked into my new accommodation – and that’s when it really hit me!
But what you need to realise about uni life is that it’s all a HUGE experience – it can be hard, it can be great, it can be average but it will make you into the person you want to become. Starting to live independently is all part of that exciting journey. Embrace it and soon you’ll be avoiding those calls from home.