…by Melissa / from Glasgow / studying Social Anthropology with Development / 2nd year
It is completely natural to feel apprehensive, nervous or even scared at the prospect of living in student halls. For many it is the first time in our lives we move away from our hometowns or at least the first time we are fully expected to live with complete strangers for a year. However, it does not take as long as you would expect to make a generic student flat with people you have never met feel completely like a home.
Firstly, expect to feel awkward at first but know everyone is feeling the exact same way. Push yourself. If you have to, introduce yourself first the likelihood is everyone is slightly unsure how to act in this situation and is feeling very similar to you.
Secondly take part in everything you are offered to- as long as you feel comfortable. Go for coffee with someone you have just met, hike up Arthur’s Seat with your flatmates even if exercise is not normally your thing, message people first (especially if you’re on the same course and you don’t want to walk alone to your actually first day of university), try potluck night at your neighbours, attempt new sports and explore the city you are going to be living in for four years. Not all of these things will be perfect but at the very least you have tried them and met more people than you would have from sticking to your comfort zone.
Thirdly even if your flatmates are not automatically your best friends or even if they do not share similar interests or hobbies that does not mean you will not end up being great friends. Everyone is nervous but, especially at the beginning of university, everyone is excited and enthusiastic to try things. Even if you are naturally introverted study afternoons, cooking food together, movie nights and even just walking to lectures with people in your accommodation can be a great way to begin and cement new friendships.
Lastly do not be afraid to take time for yourself- your social life and academic expectations differ greatly from prior experiences and that is not necessarily bad however it is just as important to take time to ensure you rest and take care of yourself as it is to throw yourself into university life.
Student halls will make you change your whole perspective on new experiences, situations and meeting new people. Your experiences in freshers week will help you feel more at ease and comfortable for starting courses at university. The people you live with in first year may be a part of your life story and even if they are not you will learn so much more about the world you are a part of through the people you meet there.