For some, the prospect of moving away from home and setting up solo at university of the first time is one that could not be more exciting. For others, however, it is an entirely more daunting prospect and one that is approached with a sense of severe apprehension. Needless to say, it is usually this latter group that will find it the most difficult to settle in once arriving at university having already gotten into the process with something of a negative viewpoint.
Of course it is always good to know that you are not alone in such troubles as it is exactly the same for tens of thousands of other students who find moving away from home rather difficult. So if you were about to move into your chosen student accommodation in St Andrews for example, what exactly can you do to help make the settling in process easier, smoother and more enjoyable?
Here’s a quick look at five tips from the experts:
1 – Create a Home from Home
First and foremost, it is a good idea to invest as much time and effort as necessary in creating a real home from home. It may seem as if reminders from home will make you homesick, but in reality what will make you feel even more homesick is new accommodation that is completely alien and unfamiliar. The idea is to make the place look and feel as much like a real home as possible while of course featuring your own signature twists and additions. From pictures from home to soft furnishings to decorations and all the other bits and pieces that surrounded you in your home, bring along as much as is needed to give you the sense that you are in fact home, rather than somewhere you may find intimidating.
2 – Invite Existing Friends
During the first few days and weeks in particular, it can be a good idea to invite some of your existing friends from home to come and visit you at your new location. This is beneficial not only because they will undoubtedly reassure you and help you see the good side of things, but you will at the same time begin building enjoyable and positive memories associated with your new place. So along with combating the feeling of loneliness, you will also begin to feel more at home in your new place having used it as a base for some seriously good times. Of course there’s nothing to say you cannot continue inviting your existing friends throughout your time at university, but it’s especially beneficial to do so when you are settling in.
3 – Break the Ice
If the main concern on your mind is that of making new friends and you are concerned in any way that you will not fit in, it is important to ensure that you made the effort when it comes to breaking the ice. The reason being that contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of new students heading out to university share exactly the same fears and concerns. Or in other words, everybody tends to sit around waiting for everybody else to break the ice when it can take something as simple as a quick greeting, invitation or introduction to set the ball rolling. So even though it might not be the kind of thing you usually do, make the effort to take the initiative and say hello to the people in and around your block.
4 – Spend Time Out and About
One of the very worst things you can do when it comes to settling into your new place is to spend hour after hour sitting around and basically feeling lost and uncomfortable. This is a perfect recipe for claustrophobia, homesickness and loneliness as the more time you spend surrounded by those same four walls, chances are the more you will end up resenting them. It is a much better idea to make as much effort as necessary to spend plenty of time out and about in order to get the point across to yourself that there is far more to university life than just the room you are sleeping in. Sooner or later, you will start to see your room as something of a safe haven and a sanctuary that you will probably grow very fond of.
5 – Give it Time
Last but not least, never fall into the trap of assuming that you should fall in love with your accommodation the first time you lay eyes on it all that you can settle in as quickly as you expect to. While it’s true to say that some people will immediately take to university life like ducks to water, the vast majority of people take quite a bit of time to settle in and begin to feel at home. It might take several months or it might not even be until your second year that you really start feeling comfortable and happy where you are, but this is perfectly normal and given enough time, you’ll soon realise how much fun setting up alone can be.