Name: Maddie Astle
Year (18/19): Third year
I was really nervous to come to University – like the majority of people are! Before I arrived, I’d found lots of freshers’ pages on Facebook and had been added to a couple of group chats for my accommodation and course. These really helped to make me feel more at ease about starting as I kind of knew who I would be meeting.
When I first moved in, I was nervous to talk to new people but I thought to myself that I’d have to throw myself in the deep end and get to know lots of people. My advice would be to grin and bear socialising for the first weeks, get to know lots of people and go from there – you’ll know who you want to be friends with! There are so many ways to make friends; join a society, chat to people on your course, or people in your halls.
Personally, I felt really homesick the first month at uni. I still do now sometimes and I’m going into my third year! I had made a lot of friends and I felt comfortable to open up to them and tell them that I was missing home and wasn’t very happy. It made me feel better knowing that a few of them also felt the same and they helped me to feel a bit brighter about everything.
I still wasn’t feeling very happy so I made the most of the support at uni and spoke to my lecturers about how I was feeling. All of the staff at university are so willing to help and can offer advice on how to combat how you’re feeling. All I can say is that it is so normal to feel a bit lost and unsettled, so don’t be hard on yourself if you find yourself feeling this way!
With the peer mentoring scheme, I found that it helped me to feel less scared before starting. My mentor offered advice on a range of topics, such as what books to buy, whether to get a bus pass and what there is to do in the City! It was reassuring to know that I had this point of contact at the uni, especially someone who recently experienced first year. I would definitely recommend the peer mentoring scheme to anyone starting uni as it can make such a difference to how you’re feeling and how quickly you can settle in.
With second year, I felt a lot more comfortable about moving back to Leicester and starting my studies again. I was moving into a house with my closest friends and I was aware of how everything at university worked so I didn’t have the unease that first year came with.
Overall, for me I would say starting uni is a scary thing but it really is what you make of it! Join a society if it interests you, message that person you got on well with at an event, talk to people on your course (you do have your subject interests in common after all!) and just be open minded to everything that comes your way.