The Union Blog

How to cope with University life – from one student to another

University can be daunting if you’re a first year who’s moved away from home for the first time. Trying to fend for yourself, learn how to cook (without burning your halls down), make new friends and attend all your new modules is a lot to balance. 

Don’t worry if you’re feeling like University isn’t quite for you and you’re struggling to settle in - read this handy guide on some tips on how to cope. Here at your Students’ Union most of us are either ex-students or current students so we’ve been there.

Five top tips:

Throw yourself into University life as much as you can! 
This will help you make new friends and build a new support circle. We receive feedback every year that sports and societies are the best part of University experience, but some more pointers on how to build your new social life are below. 

  • Say yes to invites! The nightlife is great fun in Brighton and Eastbourne, and will help you get to know your new housemates/flatmates (did you know there are around 900 pubs and bars in Brighton to choose from?!)
  • Keep your bedroom door open as much as possible! This will help you seem welcoming and make friends easier. 
  • If you’re in self-catered accommodation try cooking with your flatmates! It’s economical and a fun ice-breaker.   
  • If you’re a student who commutes or lives from home, you can still join in on all the fun! Ask your new course mates if you can crash on their sofa after a social, then travel back in the morning. It’s also a great idea to throw yourself into as many campus events and day activities such as Pet Therapy sessions, cupcake sales, and student opportunities such as becoming a course rep. Or simply hang out in one of our communal SU areas and enjoy a game of table tennis!

Make your room homely
Avoid feeling homesick by having some of your personal photos of family and friends, sentimental gifts, and souvenirs around your room. 

Get enough sleep
When you’re tired, your worries can quickly blow out of proportion, so try to get enough sleep. A recommended 8 hours is the healthy balance.

Get organised straight away
Now that Freshers’ Fortnight is over the work begins, so print off a couple of copies of your timetable – leave one pinned up in your room, and carry one around with you. This will help you become familiar and comfortable with your new routine. 

You can also use your BSU wall planner to plot any key dates. Not got yours yet – head to your nearest SU office!

Reach out for help 
There are confidential and extremely accessible support networks available. Don’t drop out as a first resort, consider all of your options first, and the sooner you ask for help the sooner you’ll start feeling better.   

  • Wellbeing is the SU lead initiative with a number of brilliant services to support you such as wellbeing workshops, awareness raising and coaching. 
  • Connect with your SSGTS (Student Support and Guidance Tutors). They’re there to help with everything from academic troubles, to stress and mitigating circumstances. 
  • Drop In / Drop Out sessions are a great opportunity to speak to one of our support team without an appointment, who can help if things go wrong. 
  • Talk to your module tutors! If you’re struggling with attendance or understanding the module content, the best thing you can do is contact your tutor personally. Likelihood is they will be happy to help and see if the module is right for you. 
  • Charities are also really useful for unbiased, round the clock support. Consider MindStudents Against Depression and Student Minds.  
  • If you’re having financial stress, there is a Hardship Fund available, or talk to the University’s finance team for other options. 
  • If you’re experiencing mental health problems, alongside opening up to your new friends, Apps can be a great help in the privacy of your own space. Apps we recommend are SAM (Self-help for Anxiety Management), and Stay Alive
  • If you’re feeling stressed or worried, Emoodji or Calm are Apps we recommend.

You can also read more about your Students’ Union wellbeing services here.

We hope that these tips will help ease you into University life, or back into University if you’re a returning student. There is a wide range of support available so please don’t be afraid to ask. 

If you have any additional tips, comment below! 

Good luck!

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