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. But you may still be nervous so to help we've put together some common concerns from students and how to deal with them.
Why it’s important to be yourself
We all have had moments sometimes where we feel we don’t completely fit somewhere. And feeling this way can lead us to try and change into someone new for our friends, family, or even romantic interests.
It can sometimes leave us feeling that the person that we are is not enough, and that it would be better to try and act as someone else.
University life can be the perfect place for many people to start fresh – most people are away from home and have the chance to meet new people. This shouldn’t be an excuse to hide the real you, however. Rather, it is a good time to practice some of the techniques below to help you with being yourself and your new environment.
Getting to know who you really are and being proud of that person is essential for your self-esteem and development. What we’ve put together below are not strict rules, but rather reminders for you to go easy on yourself – the journey that you are on is your own and you should be proud of that.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
It can be so easy to compare what we see in somebody else’s photos or posts online, especially when we are having a hard time in our own lives. We spend every second of our lives in our heads, but we forget that what we see of other people is what they want to present to the world.
Of course people will only want to show moments that are happy but it’s often only a snapshot of that time. Try and remember that you don’t have to keep up an ‘online’ social presence all the time.
Surround yourself with positive people.
Find people who share your interests, and it will be easy to form bonds with them. When you share your life with people who try to see the bright side of bad situations, that can also help you to see the positive when things are difficult.
University is perfect for this as you will have a whole lecture hall filled with people who have chosen to study the same subject as you – so there is your easy start at making connections.
If you have hobbies try and find groups in your student area to join. If there isn’t a group, make your own and get people to join.
Take care of your body.
Our bodies need to be nurtured and looked after. We often can neglect ourselves when we are stressed or busy. But it is important to take the time to figure out what your body needs. If you have a problem, it’s important to go and sort it out. You should never feel ashamed of getting help should you need it.
You can find advice through the NHS website.
Be kind to yourself.
You can fail at things – remember that it happens to everyone. You won’t always be able to do everything perfectly. And that’s okay. Look back at what you have done and remember that everyone must start somewhere and often at the start things can go wrong before you get it right.
Practice positive self-talk.
Constant positive talk will help teach your mind not to jump to negative thoughts. If you do have negative thoughts, especially after something goes wrong or someone says something to you that hurts your feelings – ask yourself – why am I thinking this way? Who does this thought benefit? Can I be kinder in the way I think to myself?
Challenging these thoughts will help you to build the habit of only allowing positive and helpful thoughts to be your focus.
Face your fears.
We’re not talking about fear factor type of fears. What we mean is, figuring out what currently has you worried, and confronting it. Asking yourself why you feel this way and what can be done to overcome that feeling. Ask for help in finding ways to do this – it’s easier to share your worries with others. They might even feel the same way as you. Your university or student union or even your student accommodation will have people who can offer you support.
Live in the present.
It can be easy to slip into the habit of thinking too much about what’s to come. Especially as you begin a part of your life where what you do now does affect your not-too-distant future.
We must remember that life is happening to us now. If we constantly chase the future and focus ourselves there, we miss out on the present. Take time to appreciate the day – it’s what we have, and it can help you to focus on what is going on with you today.
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