Blog & Insights
Tips for domestic students Part 2: Settling in
So here you are finally at University. You’ve got the timetable, you’ve done O-Week and the official checklist is complete. What happens now? It’s really normal to feel slightly unsettled in the first few weeks of term as everyday life continues around you. You’re maybe still feeling a bit unsure of your new surroundings, or just not quite comfortable with the new routine. Firstly, really don’t worry. Many of your peers are feeling exactly the same way – so you are definitely not alone. And the other good news is that there are a few ways you can help yourself to settle in. Here’s some quick and easy tips on how to get yourself settled into your new student life.
Life after O-week
Hopefully you’ve completed O-Week, picked up a bunch of freebies, joined some clubs and challenged yourself to try something new. If this particular setup doesn’t really appeal to you, there are plenty of other ways to make new friends, meet people and make connections. It might be as simple as leaving your bedroom door open to encourage passing visitors, or starting up a conversation across the table in the library. You can also check out social media for groups that may appeal to you whether that’s by culture, interest or activity. Above all, be open to new opportunities and try to embrace the social diversity around you. Having a supportive social network is a sure-fire way to helping you feel settled much more quickly. As the excitement of the new semester fades into your new normality, stay positive, and keep smiling – those new friends can hide in the most unexpected places!
Get to know your community
Places are about people. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you are surrounded by a like-minded community it can very quickly start to feel like home. Uni is quite a different experience from what you were probably used to back at school. Forget those small cosy school classes where everyone knew each other – there will be hundreds of other students attending your lectures. And just because someone is on your course, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get along, or that they will become your friend. But you have a collective connection in that they will understand exactly what you are going through – because they are doing it too, and that’s what is important to remember. Everyone you interact with from the course to your accommodation and everything in between will play a role in making up your immediate community. Take some time to get to know them and value the place they have in your life – whether that’s as a study mate, a cooking buddy or a fellow night owl. Having a familiar face to smile at as you enter the lecture hall can make all the difference to your day.
Explore and discover
Australia is truly one of the best places in the world to be at University. With an abundance of beautiful weather and fantastic landscapes it’s the perfect backdrop for exploration and discovery. If you’re ever finding the workload a bit overwhelming, or the pressure to make new friends feels a bit too much, take yourself off for a walking tour of the area, or hop on a train and see where it takes you. You might find your perfect coffee or brunch spot along the way and the break from the schedule will give you valuable time to refresh your mind. University is about so much more than just studying, it’s also about discovering what lies beyond the books and understanding where you are in the world right now. Familiarity with the local area is a great way to feel settled and at home.
Make it yours
If you are planning on living out of home, there can be a temptation to buy lots of new items to furnish your new living arrangements from lamps and pictures to cushions and throws. But this can actually make it seem less like your home. Creating a homely environment is about having a space that you feel emotionally connected to – whether that’s through a familiar picture hanging on the wall, some favourite bed linen or a memorable ornament. It will be individual for everyone, but the common meaning will be exactly the same. It’s a connection to your personal values, beliefs and cultures and helps reaffirm your place in that structure. So don’t waste money on new items, simply bring along some of your old favourites to adorn your new room. The added familiarity will be emotionally reassuring and supportive as you begin to settle in to your new life.
Keep your balance
Establishing a steady routine from the outset can be key in helping you to settle quickly into Uni life. But balancing out your new course demands with social activities can be challenging and does take some time to achieve. It’s a good idea to try and develop good study habits from the outset – and that means getting on top of your timetable early on. This allows you to quickly isolate where the pockets of availability are for socialising and having fun. A little bit of study every day is far more efficient for long-term retention than last minute cramming sessions. And your stress levels will certainly benefit! Having a balanced schedule is not just about managing study habits, it also means taking time out for yourself and recognising when you need a break. Any aspect of Uni life can sometimes seem overwhelming, but remember that everyone is in the same situation and there are always people around that want to help.