Starting studying can be a major transition. Some people come straight from upper secondary school, while others may have been working for a few years. Some have had to move, perhaps far from friends, family and partners, and some may have left home for the first time. Having to tackle your lectures, syllabus, deadlines and exams at the same time as you are trying to get to know new people and integrate into a community can feel overwhelming.
SiØ staff meet a number of students who find student life difficult, perhaps especially when they first start studying. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Get to know your campus Where is what? Your first encounter with university college may be a bit intimidating and leave you feeling lost, literally. Where is the diner, library, bookshop or nearest toilet? But don’t worry, you’ll soon learn your way around. Find out in which part of the building your first lectures will take place, and go from there. And remember, you’re allowed to ask for directions!
Pay attention to the information provided, especially in the first few weeks. You will receive useful information about your programme, subjects, exams and deadlines. The student manual contains lots of useful information and will be of great help during your studies. You should also use the university college’s web pages to stay up-to-date. One good tip is to put the teaching plan onto your mobile phone and synchronise your email account.
Do you need somewhere to live? We have student housing on campus. Here you have the opportunity to live together with other students in an active student environment. Check our housing pages for more information.
The buddy scheme is designed to help/guide new students. Make use of your buddy; ask them about anything you are wondering about. Take part in the buddy programme and you’ll also get to know other people more easily.
Prioritise spending time with your fellow students. Plan your studying so that you also have time for a social life. Remember that you have to take breaks from your studying without feeling guilty. Your subconscious will continue working on what you have read.
Join a study group
Studying with others, talking about the material and listening to each other talk about the syllabus is a good way to learn. It can also be a good idea to ally yourself with someone in case your motivation to study wavers.
Plan your time/create a schedule
Create a weekly plan in which you enter all of your appointments, e.g.:
Study days/studying time
Free time/coffee appointments
Be realistic with respect to what you will have time for, and remember to set aside time for more than just studying.
Accept that things take time
Allow yourself to be new beginner and to not understand everything. Don’t expect to become an expert overnight. You’re studying to learn something, not because you’re already an expert. Building friendships with new friends also takes time.
Expect challenges in the beginning
Even if you’ve started your dream subject and are proud and happy you got in, don’t be surprised if you feel lonely and under pressure. Our emotions can swing wildly. One minute you can feel happy and invigorated, and the next minute totally lost. These are completely natural feelings that occur when you both have to fit into somewhere new and at the same time have left behind everything familiar.
Join in student activities
Social challenges can almost be worse than academic challenges. Investigate the sort of committees and groups there are. Perhaps you could imagine standing for office in student politics or helping out in the student pub? Being with fellow students in settings other than academic ones can be very energising.
Lots of people are going through the same things you are
Don’t forget that others are also nervous and anxious. Everyone is afraid of being an outsider or not feeling welcome in a group.
Remember, you can contact the student adviser on your campus for a chat or two. You can find contact information here.