Top tips to get your head around uni

Starting uni is a big change, but we've got some tips to help you live your best life

This series of articles are written by Hannah, who works at The Student Room as part of the Community Team. In her spare time, Hannah practices as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. Using this knowledge, she has written a set of three articles to help you feel at home at university.

In this article, Hannah talks about how to look after yourself to ensure you're feeling your best self at university. It's a big change, after all - living independently, cooking your own dinner, paying the bills... welcome to adulting!

Keeping well at university

Whether you have moved away from home or are commuting in every day, your lifestyle is bound to become very different. 

It’s an exciting time but it can be a bit nerve-wracking right? As a fresher you will have lots of “priorities”: making friends, getting your studies off to a great start, settling into your halls, keeping in touch with friends and family and maybe looking for a new job.

It's really important that you really look after yourself at a time like this. Not only will it help you escape that dreaded Fresher's Flu but will also help you through any homesickness. 

By keeping check on yourself and doing the things that make you feel happy at uni everything will fall into place, helping you to feel more balanced, confident and comfortable in your new home which will motivate you to make the most of uni-life. We have nine key needs as people: security, mind-body connection, emotional intimacy, purpose and goals, community, status, creativity and stimulation and sense of control. In this article I'll be focusing on security, mind-body connection and emotional intimacy.


This is probably going to be you first time living away from home and it's important that you feel settled in your new digs. Firstly, become familiar with your new surroundings, is there an accommodation hub somewhere close to your halls? Is there a security team you can contact if you notice something suspicious? Where are your halls reps based? What do you do if you lose your key or security fob which gives you access to your accommodation during the day or the middle of the night? Finding out the answers to these questions and having a “plan” is likely to make you feel more relaxed in your new surroundings and keep any anxiety you may be feeling at bay. 

If you’re going out partying get your fresher reps to tell you the reputable taxi firms, or whether there is a local bus stop close by where a night bus operates. Always travel back home in a group to give you peace of mind that you and all your new pals have arrived home safely. 

Having a late-night library session or taking part in a society or sports club on campus during the evening? Again, if it’s walkable, it’s always best to stroll home with someone you know. If that’s not possible, send a text to one of your flatmates and let them know you’re on your way.

Mind-body connection

Our psychological well-being is affected by the way we look after ourselves physically. Not having enough sleep, decent grub and water can affect our body both physically and mentally. 

To keep well create a healthy routine when it comes to food, ie three meals a day with snacks in between to keep your energy levels up. Remember food is fuel. Always have a bottle of water in your bag to keep you hydrated during lectures. 
If you’ve been partying hard, this is especially important. Try to get a good night’s sleep, if your halls are noisy invest in some decent earplugs and take some time out during the day to have a 20-30 minute kip if you need to.

Emotional intimacy

It’s important to be regularly in touch with someone that really knows who you are “warts and all”. Someone who you can totally relax around. This could be a friend, family member or your boyfriend or girlfriend. This can be a tricky need to fulfil if you've just arrived at university. It's also not always easy if you are commuting in and your friends have left your home town to go to unis around the country. 

Remember that everyone who has ever attended university has deep down been worried about not making friends. You're not alone. If you haven’t “clicked” with anyone immediately, don’t worry. It’s early days and you have lots of opportunities ahead of you through meeting people in your seminars, lectures, societies, sports clubs or maybe a part-time job. 

In the meantime schedule in some time to phone or FaceTime family or your best friends, at least one a day. If all of your friends have gone off to different unis schedule a Google Hangout using doodle and catch up once a week. Face-to-face time with your favourite people is an investment to ensure you continue to have a healthy emotional life as well as nurturing your support network. 

What helped you settle in to uni life? Any tips for future students?

Read other articles in this series: