• Starting a new life as a university student

For many people, going to university can be the time of their lives. It grants people the freedom to choose whichever course subject they would like to study, mingle & socialise with their peers & best of all, complete independence. Complete freedom from your bossy parents & to have as much academic freedom as one dreams. After all, this is the lifestyle we all dream about, spending nights hitting the bars & clubs & getting completely hammered am I right?

However, for others, university can seem quite a bit daunting at times. It is not easy to adjust to new surroundings. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you are on top of the world after receiving your exam results & being accepted to the university of your dreams. Having sleepless nights as the thoughts of going to university overcome you with excitement & anticipation? The idea that you can have complete independence away from your parents & do whatever you want to do? But then, when you begin your academic semester, those emotions you once had starts to fizzle away & you are left thinking "maybe university isn't all it cracked up to be." You know, the idea that the grass is always greener. If you are one of these people who are feeling emotions like this right now, you are not alone! Quite the opposite actually as many students are in the same position.

It is normal & quite common to have negative feelings towards university. The fact that you are away from your comfort zone far away from your loved one's & in a completely new surrounding can be very challenging. The fact that you are getting a taste of independence & finding out that it's not all what you expected it to be like. For example, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, buying your own food etc. What is also difficult about university is a feeling of isolation. This may seem odd considering you are mingling with thousands of students of your age, & yet, they are not like your friends back at home. Also, the campus is huge & highly developed which can make the place look a bit intimidating, the assignments you will do & learn will not be like anything you have done & communication with your lecturers & professors are hard if not impossible to do because of the sheer no of students.

When all hope seems lost, their is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are a student & are experiencing negative thoughts of dread, despair or hating university life, STOP RIGHT THERE! University is hard work & it takes time to adjust to things. A long time. I for one took about 2 months to fully adjust to my surroundings. The point is that university life can be daunting but, the longer you stay, the easier it becomes. Just bite the bullet & things will get a whole lot easier.

Some people have told me that they hate university life because they just can't fit in well with other people, or they find the course boring/irrelevant or, they are simply losing confidence & are missing friends & relatives back at home. If you are one of those people, help is at hand. First, you must acknowledge that its not university life that sucks but rather, your university life sucks. If you keep yourself at a distance from people & do not participate in things like activities & clubs then yes, university life can feel like hell as you'll end up being isolated & alone. However, all this can be averted & if you consider these assumptions, I guarantee you that you will enjoy your life at university because I'll tell you one thing, you will look back & ask yourself, "where has all the time gone?"

Anyway, here goes. To improve your life at university, have a complete makeover. In other words, don't wear threads that make you stand out like a sore thumb. Simply observe what a typical student wears e.g. jeans & what the in hairstyle is & simply copy it. Make yourself look more attractive, & as for hygiene, have a shower often so that you smell nice instead of smelling rank. Also, improve your personality. Don't radically change & don't be something your not but do little things like smiling, laughing, ease up a little etc. All this can dramatically improve your reputation & you will be making swarms of friends in no time. Life is a whole lot better when you have friends at university because they are there to help you through tough times you may be experiencing at university.

Partake in activities or consider doing part time or voluntary work. The university offers a wide range of activities at which you can participate in. The benefits of this are not only can you make new friends, but also it keeps you occupied &, improves your CV once you graduate university. Best of all, you are doing things that you enjoy.

If my advice has not helped in any way, I strongly would advise you to seek help from counselling. The best bit about this is that its 100% free & everything you discuss between you & your support counsellor is completely confidential. Support at university is brilliant as they offer you the best guidance because be rest assured, they have come across hundreds of students like you who have had issues once arriving at university.

If you hate university because you are struggling with work or finding it difficult to concentrate, please contact staff through email or if you have the chance, speak to them personally.

Well I hope I have eased the pressure for some students who are going through this. All I can say is that university is a challenge but, it you adopt any of my assumptions, it can be quite rewarding. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that university is not as you perceived it to be like, this is the first stage of recovery & I assure you, if you give it all you've got, university will definitely be a better place. Besides, at the end of the day, the academic semesters fly by so, you might as well make the most of it.

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