How to deal with nerves and anxiety about starting university

When you think about starting university, you expect to be filled with excitement about what the next three or four years of your life will be like. After all, it will be a new academic journey different from the previous seven or so years of studying. Moving to a new city, getting to meet a range of new people and making lifelong friends. A time to look back on fondly as being the first big change you have as a young adult. And now doing a degree in a subject you are hopefully really passionate about.

These exciting new steps can also be accompanied by nerves and anxieties surrounding questions that you’ll be stuck asking yourself. But those questions are normal and shouldn’t stop you from preparing for the next few months.

We’ve broken some of those worries into different categories and have shared our tips and reassurances. So that you don’t have to feel overwhelmed and can focus on enjoying your current down time.


Academic

Should I prepare for studying over the summer?

Yes and no. You will probably be exhausted from studying for the last few months and completing mock exams/coursework. The summer break should be the time that you take to relax and rid yourself of stress – but realistically if you’re thinking about university, you won’t be able to avoid worrying about results and preparing for September.

You don’t have to worry too much about preparing anything academically before you begin your course. You may not know which modules will be covered in your first term, and without guidance from your lecturer it may not make much sense to you either.

What you can do however, if your course provides one, is pick up the reading list. Familiarising yourself with the texts and doing some research into how to identify important parts of a text and construct essays will help you feel more confidence for that first week.


Will I understand my lectures, what if the work is too difficult and too different from A-levels?

Most students will feel this way. This will be new for everyone. And no matter how confident people may appear – this will be their first time with other students studying the same thing with the same pressures and expectations. It may take a few weeks or even all of your first term for you to come to grips with your course material. That is to be expected and if you do feel overwhelmed or worried – your lecturer and university are there to listen to your concerns and provide you with the help you will need.


Mental

How will university affect my mental health?

With any new changes you may have in life, there will come pressures that you may never have thought would affect you. If you come to accept that there may be problems that you have to deal with, it will be easier for you to prepare and tackle them.

Stress and anxiety can come from a range of places. Because of the focus on mental health especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now more information and resources available that can help you. You can speak to your university, with the staff in your student accommodation, and with your friends (who may even be feeling the same way).


Social

How do you balance university and a social life?

Balancing things perfectly can sometimes prove impossible. Try combining studying with being social – take a study group to the library – and plan to have lunch together in-between.

How important is social life at university?

It’s as important as you make it. University is a place where, ultimately, you are there to study for your future. But you also are entering a new stage of your life, being more independent and being more responsible for yourself.

Where will I be able to meet new people and make friends?

If you’re living in student accommodation, whether that’s student halls or private, you will have the opportunity to meet a range of different people your age. Many of them will have similar backgrounds to you, and some wont. But the nice thing about that is you will be able to expand your people skills and learn new things.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s university story will be different. There is no right way to do things, and so you should just focus on enjoying the day to day. And take a lot of photos!


We’ll be sharing more blogs the closer we get to move in day focusing on the first few weeks/months, like our settling in blog, to help you out.

Still thinking about where you want to live in September? Living in student accommodation can be a great way to live out your dream student life and socialise the way you want. You can see all of our Host locations here.

 

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