Adjusting to university life

Whether this is your first time away from home or you are going back to study after a break, starting university is a time of great change.

Even if it is exciting, change is not always easy to cope with. The first few days can be quite bewildering and it’s not unusual to feel lost or lonely.

How can I help myself?

1. Build in time to chill out

Make time to relax with music, read the paper, take a hot bath or whatever you like doing. Make sure you get enough sleep.

2. Expect to be nervous

Everybody is finding their feet, however cool and confident they may appear. Anxiety at this stage is completely normal and if you do not find your lifetime friends in the first fortnight, you are certainly not alone.

3. Maximise the chances of finding people you get on with

Go to things you know you will enjoy. University is a great opportunity to explore different interests or change your image. Don’t feel you have to keep in with the crowd at all costs.

4. Don't beat yourself up

Don’t worry if you're not always at ease socially, or if you say or do something you later regret. Learn whatever lesson is there for you, then forget about it and move on.

5. Don't feel pressured into doing things you don't want to do

Whether it is spending more money than you can afford, using drugs, having sex or even just going out when you are already exhausted, you do not have to do anything if you don't want to.

6. Don't bottle up problems

Talk to someone: a friend or family member; someone in your college team or your supervisor. YUSU and GSA have support teams who can listen and help - see sources of help and support.

7. Be organised from the start

Think about how you divide up your time and get clear how many hours a week of academic work you need to put in. This will help make the most of your free time.

How can we help?

Adjusting to university life is a lot easier when you develop a sense of belonging. Look out for opportunities to meet others in your department, college or at YUSU or GSA events. See if you're a member of our student communities. Find out about student clubs and societies and find things to go to on our student events page or via the MyUoY app. 

Our Success at York Toolkit can help you develop social optimism - this can help with feelings of loneliness. See also our tips for wellbeing.