Sponsored feature, words by Russ Thorne

Everyone handles their first week at uni in different ways, whether it's shaving half of your hair off and donning a sarong, or cowering in your bedroom clutching your teddy. It's all understandable, it takes a while to get into the swing of student life.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to help settle your nerves and settle in to your new home. Some are fun, some more practical, but they'll all help in the long run.

1 – Sign up to some stuff (and go to at least one thing)

Dance club
Uni is the perfect time to try something new. It might be a sport or an activity you've always wanted to try – yarnbombing, anyone? - or you might want to carry on with an interest from home, whether that's poetry or programming.

During Freshers' Week you'll be bombarded with options for clubs, societies, events, meetings...take all the info, sign up to anything that sounds even remotely fun and think about going to a few of them. You might not actually join the Extreme Puppeteering Society, but it's better to know they're out there and when they meet than to sit forlornly at home, a puppet-sized hole in your social calendar. Give yourself some options and you'll be grateful for it.

2 – Get to know your housemates

The icebreaker conversations are important – “what A Levels did you do?” “where are you from?” “do you know how a washing machine works?” and so on – but try taking some time to have some more meaningful conversations with the people living around you as well.

Uni students

For example, ask how people are feeling about being away from home, what they're most looking forward to about the first term, things they'd like to learn and how they like their tea. Share some things about yourself, too. You might find that you have more in common with people than you think, and if you all know you're in the same boat you can look out for one another. (And you'll always get the tea right, which can make bleary freshers' week mornings-after much better.)

3 – Go out of your comfort zone

You don't need to do anything extreme. But uni can be a great place to make new friends if you let it, so give it a try. If you're in halls or shiny managed accommodation from people like The Student Housing Company, try leaving your bedroom door open as people are arriving to let them know you're around. Or go and introduce yourself - a friendly face makes a huge difference on the first day.

As the week goes on, embrace your independence and experiment a little: try cooking something, staying up all night talking to new friends, going dancing, or try doing the laundry. If you've never done it before, even something like that is an adventure (keep the white clothes away from the coloured stuff, by the way). There's lots more freshers advice in our uni section.

4 – Explore the area

explore the area
Make some time to explore your new home. Wandering around campus, checking out the library and sniffing out the best ordering spots at the student bar are all good things to do while getting to know your housemates or coursemates. You can also rummage around in your new halls – accommodation from people like The Student Housing Company comes with many useful things, and you can always get in touch with them to ask any questions while you're settling in.

Plus, unis tend to be in or near interesting places: don't be one of those students who arrives and leaves three years later without taking advantage of the local area. Be a tourist, go and see some sights and roam beyond campus with your friends to find some interesting places to eat, drink, shop and generally enjoy your student status.

5 – Be a good neighbour

Finally, there are some simple bits of etiquette that can make your first week living with strangers go swimmingly. Keep your music / TV at a friendly volume. Don't hog the shared cupboards (or the bathroom). Tidy up after yourself – there's nothing more annoying than a scruffy housemate. Bringing people home after a night out? Be considerate and keep the noise down (if you're, ahem, bringing a special someone home, be careful, too). And we're not kidding about making the tea...

More? Get further freshers tips from the Student Housing Company here.