Going to university is a chance to start over for many. It’s a blank canvas, an opportunity to reinvent yourself and be the person you’ve always wanted to be without being held back by a reputation that stretches back into your childhood.
Today we’re offering a few tips to help you make a success of your clean slate, and enjoy a social life that works for you, rather ruling you.
Even if you’re shy by habit, make an effort to contribute to conversations. It’s easy to feel overawed by the situation and go quiet. There are people who will appear more confident, people in their second, third and later years who appear to know everything. Try not to let that hold you back: no one knows everything and if someone appears to, it’s an illusion. Your friends will want to hear from you so don’t feel bad about chipping in!
Don’t: Talk all the Time
If you tip over into dominating conversations, you’ll find your friendships withering away. It’s a difficult balance to strike, especially if you’re trying to course correct from being too quiet. In general, try to make sure you’re asking questions as well as talking. You should come away from a conversation feeling like you’ve learned something new, even if it’s just what someone’s having for lunch. If you feel like you’re lecturing all the time, you’re doing it wrong!
Do: Embrace University Life
If you have close friendships back home, try not to let them rule you. If your only strong friendships are at long distance, you’re not going to be making the most of your time at university.
Throw yourself into clubs and societies, find friends you can spend time with, share success and commiserate failure with, and collaborate to make things, whether that’s a student play, a five-a-side team or a costume for a party.
Don’t: Cut Yourself Off From Home
You might be settling into your student accommodation in Sheffield and be very happy, but sometimes what you really need is to talk honestly with someone who’s known you since childhood. If you want to talk about where you’re going, sometimes you need a conversation with someone who knows where you’ve come from.
Make time for the occasional catch up with old friends, whether by phone or by organising a big meet up in the holidays.
Do Do Do: Be Honest With Yourself
Don’t let your enthusiasm to make a success of your time at university blind you to your own feelings. If you’re not happy, don’t push things further and further. Think and reflect on what’s not working for you and try to find a new balance. Students are often martyrs to isolation, depression and anxiety so make sure you can talk to someone if you really need to.