As a prospective university student, you might be worried about what to expect. If you're not ... well, that's a bit worrying in itself! Especially if you're moving away and going to a new city, it's a big deal! And so I put together a few tips for you to make that transition a little easier. Some may agree or beg to differ, and some were advice I was given myself. So have a read, see what you think, and most importantly enjoy the new experience! (It's so worth it!)
1. Buy a doorstop. Who is honestly brave enough to knock on a strangers door and introduce themselves? Erm, I wasn't so much. It's so much easier to buy a doorstop, prop open your door, and allow people to come in and say hi whilst you unpack. It shows your approachable and friendly which will hopefully get you off to a great start with your new roomies.
2. If possible, get colour-coordinated stuff. Now, everyone laughed at me in my flat when I did this. It genuinely wasn't planned, I just liked purple stuff! So I had purple plates, bowls, chopping boards ... You name it. It just helped me to recognise what stuff was mine and what was other peoples (that way I was only ever washing up my own stuff!)
3. Have a takeaway / shared meal on your first night with everyone. Or monthly for that matter. My parents recommended that one, and though only a couple of us did it, it really worked! We got talking, we all ate and we just had a bit of a bonding session. We got talking about what we were worried about, had a giggle about this and that and just generally got to know each other.
4. Do go out on freshers. Now most people probably wouldn't need telling... But for us, we decided to only go out a couple of nights. In some honesty, I feel a bit deprived! Definitely try and go out for the majority of the week, you don't need to get drunk, but go out and meet people. I met some fantastic people who later became good friends. It's all about improving your confidence and socialising. You never know who you might just meet!
5. Respect your neighbours / your other housemates. Simple but it makes life so much easier!! You can't always be expected to get along, but try to avoid daft arguments about loud music or the kitchen being a mess. Do your bit, clean up your mess and think before you do. Loud music til early hours of the morning when your mate next door has an exam at 9am isn't on. There's bound to be some disagreements, but ones over petty stuff just aren't worth it!
6. Remember that there's so many other people who are feeling exactly how your are. They're homesick. They're daunted by the amount of work required. The harvard referencing system is just too hard to get! Don't be frightened to talk to people and tell them your worries. You might find it refreshing to discuss your problems and find others are having the same issues, or they might even have advice for you. Don't suffer in silence.
7. Learn the drinking games / invent your own. These are easily, though I probably shouldn't encourage them, some of the best ways to get to know people. They're fun, you can relax, and you find out so much about each other! Look up: Ring of Fire and Never Have I Ever. There's different rules for each but these are the two games I think we play every pre-drink, regardless of what year you are!
8. When going out, make sure you buddy up with someone, especially if you're in a new place. We all stuck together in our flat and looked out for each other and I really recommend you do the same. It not only made me feel safer but it meant I had a lot of trust in the people I went out with. If I didn't, I'd probably struggle to relax and enjoy myself. Make sure you have money for a taxi home (if needed) and always have each other's numbers, just in case you do get separated.
9. Buy / Bring lots of fancy dress stuff! You WILL end up using them at some point in your uni career. The amount of times we've all had a manic dash to Primark to find things that make us look "Piratey" or "Army-Chic" is too many to count! Just bring anything you think will come in handy, you'd be surprised! But themed nights are definitely one of the best nights out!
10. Lastly, it might be a bore but you have to remember you're there for your course. Make sure you pick the right course for you and make sure you're happy on it. There's always time to change before you get too settled, just speak to a tutor. Going out is great, don't get me wrong, but remember that you're paying good money for a degree, so do try and get the most of out it.
I think that's it for my advice. There's probably a few more tips but I guess sometimes you have to make your own mistakes and learn from them. I was the first in my family to go so it was a bit of a daunting experience; and now it's coming to an end, I just want to do it all over again!