University challenge: 5 things you’ll face in your first year, and how to deal with them

First year university challenges

In September, new students will pack up and leave home to start their next journey. It’ll be exciting and a little daunting – and there may even be times you just want to go home. All these emotions are normal, every single student will experience these feelings at some time or another. There are many situations that you will have to face during your first year, mostly good, but some not so good.

Here are a few issues that you may have to face as a university student.

1. Homesickness

Feeling homesick is a natural part of adjustment to university life. For most students, moving to university is the first time they have been away from family and friends and it can be a bit of a shock to the system. If you are missing home, the best advice is to keep yourself busy; join clubs and societies where you will be able to find like-minded people. Try and get a routine going as soon as possible, this will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment. UCAS advises on their blog post ‘How to handle the stresses of university life’ that, “Striking up a conversation with your housemates can be as simple as popping on the kettle to share a cup of tea, or sitting down to watch a film one evening. With your course mates, you could suggest setting up a study group to share ideas (this can also ease some of the stress associated with assignments), or you could ask if they want to grab a drink after a lecture. If you feel comfortable, tell your friends that you’re missing home – the chances are they will be too.”

2. Adjusting to university life

During your first year at uni, you will probably be experiencing the biggest changes in your life so far. When the excitement of Freshers Week is over and you have to settle down to everyday university life, you may well start to feel a little isolated having left the support network of family and friends behind. Some students say that they feel a little ‘disconnected’ at first – this is natural. It takes time to settle into a new home with people that you don’t know. You are also trying to adjust to a new routine and environment. Just remember, you will not be the only one who is feeling this way.

3. Peer pressure

You have probably already had experiences of peer pressure before. It happens in all walks of life and university is no exception. explains, “The desire to fit in can drive people to make choices that they wouldn’t normally consider. It’s the mistaken impression of some students that, unless they behave in a similar way to those around them, they won’t be accepted or will fail to fit in. Just because your peer group is doing these things it doesn’t mean that you have to do the same, and no-one is going to judge you for making your own decisions in life. If you decide that certain things aren’t for you, don’t join in simply as a way of seeking approval from your peers. Most students will admire you more for being yourself than for going to great lengths just to fit in.”

4. Time management

Your workload will increase at university. There will be deadlines to meet, essays to write and lectures to attend, as well as a social life to handle. You will need to plan and keep to schedules, otherwise you may get snowed under with work and overwhelmed by it. Get a diary, calendar, or wall chart and write down everything that needs to be done, and prioritise the important things.

5. Health check

With a massive change in routine, late nights studying and increased work and social life, you are bound to feel a little run down at times. During the first few weeks at uni, ‘freshers flu’ may rear its head. The best thing to do is start off your university experience on the right foot. Before you go to uni, make an appointment with your doctor to insure that all your jabs are up to date. When you are at uni, stay active, even if you go out for a walk or short run. Do your best to eat healthy, drink sensibly and rest well.

Where to look next:

  • To find out more about our A Level and GCSE courses, click here
  • We have possibly the best boarding in the UK – have a look at boarding at CCSS
  • Our student profiles give you an insight into what life is like for students at CCSS
  • If you’re interested in seeing which universities our students go to, click here.

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