How to make the most of Freshers as a student living at home

Starting university can feel stressful: in the weeks approaching freshers it’s totally normal to be a bundle of nerves or excitement or anxiety. But when you live at home, that anxiety can compound: Did I make the right decision? What events do I go to? Who do I go with? Will I make any friends? Is everyone having a different university experience to me? I know what this feels like. But I promise you, with a few active efforts, you’ll find you have the same excitement, meet the same people, and enjoy kings in a way that is universal. Here are my top 3 tips:

1. Talk to EVERYONE 

I am not an extroverted person by nature at all. But the fear of not meeting anyone forced me into sociability. And it definitely paid off. Everyone wants to meet new people. No one will judge you! They sit in the same nervous anxiety, wanting to talk to people. Introduce yourself to the person next to you in the induction, compliment that girls skirt in your tutor group: some of my best friendships started through totally random interactions. My best advice? Ask questions (people love to talk about themselves), those awkward stock phrases do work and write down conversation topics on a piece of paper. It is oddly comforting to know that, yes, you will have things to talk about!

2. Don’t be afraid to go out by yourself 

I won’t lie, it wasn’t always easy to make myself do this. But the more club nights, or quizzes, or breakfasts I attended, and the more people I met and made small conversation with, I realized I was building a network. I was becoming known and through that I had people to go places with. You have to take that first step. And it’s intimidating when it’s by yourself. If you are really nervous, bring that friend on a gap year, or at that apprenticeship. It will do wonders for your confidence. But you don’t need to: it’s only a moment of discomfort. And you will find you were worried about nothing.

3. Stop being hard on yourself 

You may feel like you’re missing out on something instrumental to the college experience. With so many people in accommodation, it becomes a myth to project anxiety on. But l’ll promise you three things. First, accommodation is not perfect. Friendships are no less superficial at first, and their anxieties no less. Living with people, or being in greater proximity will not promise better friends. Secondly, a London university is very different from a campus. Regardless of being in accommodation, everyone has to make an effort to be social. Everyone in your university feels similar to you anyways! And finally, you have benefits that they don’t. You’ll be in less debt, you have the comfort of your own room rather than the dorm rooms and you’ll never have to drag your laundry to the dreaded washrooms. Who knows, maybe your parents will even help you…

Written by Olivia Gearson, English 1st Year

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