Adjusting to university life

Close up of a mint green mug on a table, in a background, a blue chair and white kitchen cupboards.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Related content

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.

Don't bottle up problems

Talk to someone: a friend or family member; a college tutor or your supervisor; YUSU, the GSA and Nightline also have support teams who can listen and help.

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.

Workshops and groups

You may find it helpful to attend one of the workshops below, which cover some of the common issues students face in adjusting to university life:

See our Workshops and groups page for other workshops that may help with your wellbeing and adjusting to university life.