In the final part of the series of articles about starting university, I''ll be talking about the importance of feeling in control, fulfilling your attention need in a healthy way and how being creative and learning a new hobby can lead to academic success. It's all about having a healthy balance, folks.
Feeling in control
Once you've been at uni for a few weeks you start to find your feet and create a routine that works for you. Being proactive in managing your time and feeling in control of your new life is a fantastic way to help you to feel content at university. If you haven’t yet found a new way of life that suits you don’t worry, you will get there. You just need to take a few steps to help you get in a better place.
Three or so weeks of not feeling settled is really tough and some of you may feel that’s it all a bit hopeless – it’s not hard to see why when one in 14 students drop out of uni within the first 12 months.
So how can you regain control? Well acknowledge firstly how you’re feeling, it’s a real positive that you’re aware of how it’s affecting you. Now try to pinpoint if you can where you don’t feel 100% in control.
Next look for a solution. If it’s related to your course, book an appointment with your tutor. They’ll have lots of experience in supporting first year students; you're certainly not the first student to feel this way.
Remember you can also go into your student union for a chat with student advice or a similar service. They’ll have some ideas of the things you can do and the support they can offer to help you feel more settled.
Set yourself a few little goals. You know yourself better than anyone, so map out the activities and the baby steps you must take to get to a better place for you. Try to make a plan every day and always take the time to proudly acknowledge the fact that you’ve ticked something off your list.
By regaining control, it won't be long until you start to feel more at ease with uni life.
Read the other articles in this series:
Connecting with other people
If your attention needs are met in a healthy way you’ll find that you’ll easily be able to maintain your focus and feel present whatever the situation, whether you’re in a seminar, down the student union doing a pub quiz or researching for your next essay.
Connecting with other people regularly is vital for our mental and emotional health. In the same way that food, water and rest fuels our bodies, contact with people fuels our emotional appetite in a healthy way.
Your attention need may have been fulfilled previously by a combination of people such as your family, your favourite teacher, your group of school friends or your football coach. How are you meeting them now? Reflect on who it is that you connect with now on a daily basis and how this makes you feel.
If it feels good, keep going and enjoy the interaction you share with these people. If it doesn't feel enjoyable gently drift away and invest your energy into other budding relationships.
You may have noticed that there are few individuals who demand to be centre of attention by being as loud as possible. Try to not to judge. This is a perfect example of them trying to somehow fulfill their attention need in the short term.
Don’t feel the pressure to make a best friend right now, try to go with the flow. Remember you can still call on your nearest and dearest. One of my favourite sayings is “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. This was definitely the case for me at university. I made some close friends in first year, yet by the third year we had drifted apart and now my best friends are those I made in third year.
More on TSR:
At what point did you make close friends at uni?
With studying for a new course, learning in a new environment and through trying out new social activities your creativity and stimulation need should be happily fulfilled. This is really important because without achievement and the opportunity to use our solution-focused skills or be inventive we can become bored leading to feeling dissatisfied and potentially depressed later down the line.
A healthy reason to find ways to stimulate our creativity is because it can improve other areas of our lives. By learning something new we develop new interconnections in our brain and these new neurological links can nurture our other brain functions.
So if you learn a new a skill such as knitting, games development or muy thai boxing it’s bound to enhance your academic ability – a reason in itself to seek out a new hobby and undoubtedly meet new friends while taking control of this new exciting chapter of your life.
|More on TSR:
Three secrets to get your head around uni
Finding your feet after freshers
I hope you've found this trio of articles really helpful and if you have any questions you can just post them below
Hannah works at The Student Room as the education community manager, in her spare time Hannah also practices as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. This guidance is based on the framework of the Human Givens approach which focuses on the principle that all human beings are born with a set of innate needs which must be fulfilled to ensure they remain mentally and physically well.