Blog & Insights
Tips for domestic students Part 1: Transitioning to University
School’s done and it’s time to head off to Uni – but is it as easy as it sounds?
The biggest change you are likely to notice on leaving the comforts of high school is a new feeling of control and independence. Your destiny is now firmly in your own hands – and that feels pretty good! But alongside that comes a certain weight of responsibility that can take some time to get used to. With no one to haul you out of bed, get you to class and spoon-feed you an assignment, you will need to keep yourself organised, manage your time, adjust to new learning methods – and make sure you don’t starve. Once the initial excitement of independent study has worn away, these new responsibilities can sometimes feel daunting and overwhelming. But you are certainly not alone. It’s really common for many high school students to find themselves feeling anxious and worried about managing the next stage.
Here’s how to make those first steps that little bit easier.
First of all, make sure you take the time to go to all the University Open Days that you are seriously interested in. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the actual campus away from a glitzy website, to see how it all operates – and above all talk to real people having real-time experiences. You can easily pick up on the local vibe, see the facilities firsthand and snap up a few freebies! Visiting in person also means that you are much more informed and more likely to make the right choice when you finally select where to study – which also means you are statistically already set up for a successful experience!
Ring in the changes
The switch from school to University is generally accepted as a pretty big deal for transitioning students because it impacts most areas of your current life. You’ll be dealing with a new schedule, new people, new ways of learning, independent living and even new cultures. Some of these stresses are more visible than others, and some will affect you more than others. It’s different for everybody. Try and relish the challenges ahead even if they do not naturally fit in your comfort zone. A positive outlook will give you a greater chance of settling in more quickly, and there are many strategies and methods that can help you achieve these goals. If you are feeling disorganised, try out some of the many study Apps available. With a multitude of options to match every need they are a great way to keep on top of your diary and manage your workload. If you’ve never cooked before and you’re planning on living away from home, host a cooking party and get your friends involved to pick up some tips and tricks. If you ordinarily put pressure on yourself to get top marks, try and accept that there will be a period of adjustment before you fully get in the swing and have adapted to a new way of learning.
As a tertiary student, you will be entirely responsible for managing your own time and your own commitments. Scary, huh! But even if you thought you were someone who could juggle everything in your head, when it comes to University you should probably think again. There will be so much going on from assignment deadlines and test dates, to study meets and social fixtures, that it’s virtually impossible to manage this without some additional help. Try out a few different methods and find out what works best for you. It could be the latest app or just an old fashioned diary. The juggle is definitely much easier when you find a way to control the balls.
The University years will be some of the best times of your life, and responsible for some of your favourite memories. Even if you are someone who ordinarily shies away from meeting new people, when you get to Uni try to throw yourself in at the social deep end straight away. Use the Orientation weeks to meet new friends, join new groups and enjoy new interests. If you hold back in the early weeks, it becomes much more difficult to make progress later on. It’s far better to be involved when everyone is at the same stage and looking for ways to integrate with a new community.
Keeping a line of connection open with family and old friends is an important way to remind you that you will always have a backdrop of emotional support, no matter what. It’s especially useful if you ever feel like things aren’t going so well. It might just be that weekly phone call back home, a quick visit with a friend or an email chat with someone you relate to. Starting Uni is an exhausting period as we are subconsciously and consciously putting on our best selves with every new person we meet. That’s a lot of energy! Feeling loved and having time to be your old self with no expectation upon you is incredibly relaxing – and it boosts your emotional energy for managing the new transitions around you. If you ever find you are really struggling for emotional support, there are always qualified counsellors available to help you.
Give yourself a break
Although you may now feel like you have proper adult responsibilities, try not to load too much expectation upon yourself. There is a lot of change to deal with and getting into the swing of University life takes time. Most students find the self-directed study to be the biggest challenge, so if you find your marks have slipped a little since school, don’t let this stress you out. It’s a completely natural part of the process. Give yourself time to adjust to the new environs and most of all, try to enjoy the process!