The excitement of Freshers Week is over... but what now?
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 the ways you can satisfy your purpose, goals, and community status safely to help you get the most out of uni life. This particular guidance is based on the framework of the Human Givens approach, which focuses on the principle that all humans are born with a set of innate needs which must be fulfilled to ensure they remain mentally and physically well.
Purpose and goals
It's natural for us to want to feel “stretched” and feel like we've achieved something awesome. Think about it, we all look ahead and imagine our future, mapping out the steps we need to take to get there. You will have done this over the past year; focusing on your studies to give you the best chance of meeting your university offer.
You did it, you’re at university, and you've begun to study towards your degree, but have you made a new set of goals?
With Freshers Week now over, uni life really begins. You should now have an idea of future assessment deadlines so start to plan your study routine. A lot of reading comes with being a Fresher, so consider how you will manage the balance between working towards your assessments and doing your wider reading.
If you’re in lectures the majority of the time, think about how you will manage the practical nature of the course with the reading to back it up.
To help you get into the groove take small steps, creating a plan the night before each day, as well as planning and noting down all the things you’d like to achieve in your first month.
Get hold of a yearly wall planner from the freshers fair, stick it on your pin board in your bedroom and start plotting your goals for the year. Being able to see the steps you need to take to fuel your success will give you a greater sense of meaning and will help you to get cracking.
Remember not all goals need to be study-related. If you’ve been part of a sports team or have a hobby that you’d like to continue then keep at it! You’ll be so much happier for it and it’s another opportunity to make new pals. Go and visit your student union one afternoon and see what they have to offer.
Don't forget to plan in treats. A reward for handing in your first essay? Or being brave enough to join in a new activity with people you don’t know. Fingers crossed, you’ll feel brilliant just from the fact that you’ve put yourself out there.
But also consider planning in your first trip home, visiting your best friend at their uni, organising a night out with your new course mates, or maybe treating yourself to your favourite dinner with the best ingredients; go with whatever floats your boat and most importantly, enjoy it.
It's great to find like-minded people who have similar ideas, comparable ways of living and who share our perceptions; by doing what you love you are likely to find these people and once you do, you’ll be happier for it. Some of you may have hit the jackpot and by luck live in a flat full of like-minded people. It just makes everything so much easier right?
Others may not have been so lucky, but don't worry, your new mates might come from your course. As a history undergraduate with only eight weekly hours of course time in my first year, it was hard to be part of a group. But for my housemates who were studying medicine it was entirely different.
From day one they were a “medic”. They worked hard and they played extra hard and they were all given “medic parents”, second and third years who had opted in to a buddy system.
Through all of their activities and the support from their senior buddies they created unbreakable bonds and as the year progressed they never strayed far from the medical school community. I found my tribe through playing water polo. I stumbled across the team during Freshers Week during one of the fairs and that was me sorted for the next three years.
But as the months progressed I also became part of the wider sporting community at the university and this actually in a roundabout way helped me to find more friends in my course.
By Christmas of first year I was sitting with a few of the rugby boys every Thursday morning feeling a little bit (at times very) delicate after a full-on Wednesday afternoon of sporting competition followed by the infamous “Sports Night”. Through them I met more friends and we had a great time in the three years to follow.
A sense of status, the feeling that we are able to bring something worthwhile to the world and that people appreciate what we have to offer fuels a large part of our personal sense of strength and well-being. Consider ways you have fulfilled this need in the past, maybe through volunteering, potentially through mentoring a younger student at your school, or by being a team leader in your part-time job. How will you do this now?
Look for new projects and opportunities. Do what makes you happy. If you find new activities that you enjoy you are very likely to be more authentic in the way that you chat and spend time with others.
This is a bonus in itself because, guess what, all of us prefer to talk to and spend time with people who we perceive to act and behave truthfully and as themselves.
If you’re true to yourself, you’re not going to be wasting energy on trying to impress others, your natural gravitas as a human being will shine through and very easily you will unknowingly create yourself your very own status.
How did you settle into uni life? Any tips for other students?
Read the other articles in this series:
- Tips to get your head around uni
- Three steps to feeling at home at uni
- Everything you need to know about Freshers