Excited at moving into university accommodation. Photograph: photos.com
So you’ve arrived at university, found your accommodation, unpacked your bags, said your first awkward hellos to your new housemates, and said either a cheerful or tearful goodbye to your parents as you waved them off . . . now what happens?
Firstly, I would encourage you not to hide away in your room whilst the rest of your housemates mingle together in the corridor, initial introductions aren’t always the easiest thing to do but once the ice is broken you’ll feel a whole lot better. Those people in the corridor are your potential best friends for freshers' week, and fingers crossed, also for the rest of the year, so the quicker you get to know them the better!
The majority of universities hold a freshers' week at the beginning of term for all new first year students to undergo campus orientation, and introductions to the university and your courses. Typically you won’t have any lectures in your first week, but you will be kept plenty busy finding your way around campus and familiarising yourself with the student union, town, library and computing facilities, and much more! Freshers' week is also known for all the big student union parties taking place, as well as the first socials for all sports clubs and societies. Take the opportunity during freshers' week to attend the sports and societies fayre as signing up to one of these clubs could truly make your university experience. You'll have, not only the chance to sign up to that random sports club that no one is really sure is an actual sport, but also the excuse to meet new people for a drink as well as other like-minded people outside of your course and accommodation.
Although it does sound impossibly dull attending all the orientation courses set up for all new freshers it is important to attend these introductory courses on how to use the computing and library facilities. There will no doubt be a time in your university life when you will need to access the university computer room to print that last minute assignment as your own printer has decided to pack up, and you will need to know how to log into and access your student account.
It’s normal to miss home whilst at university, most students miss home and their parents and that familiar routine, but for some students this emotion can be much more intense. If you do feel particularly down at any point during freshers' week, the first term, or any part of your university life try and speak to someone about it. Normally you will find that the person you speak to will also be missing home so remember you are not alone in feeling like this. If you do feel you need to call home, try and keep the call short and brief initially as you may find it may make you miss home more when you speak to your family. Instead try and keep yourself as busy as possible; you will usually find that after a couple of days you will feel more settled in your new surroundings. If you still feel homesick after the first few weeks and need to speak to someone then try contacting your university student welfare team. Most contact numbers are found on the university website and universities will have a member of staff or counsellor on hand who can speak to you about how you are feeling.
Samaritans - http://www.samaritans.org/ or 116 123- offer a listening ear to any worries or concerns you may have whilst at university. All conversations are confidential and lines are open 24 hours a day.
NHS Direct - http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/ - offers free medical and healthcare advice.
NUS (National Union of Students) - http://www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/freshers-and-settling-in/freshers-and-settling-in-listing/homesickness-can-affect-anyone/ - has some very useful advice on dealing with homesickness as well as supporting students with a number of different welfare issues. It also has contact details for all university student unions.