Starting university: a guide for students

White curve
Meeting new people

You’ll meet a lot of new people in your first few weeks at uni. While this may be fun and exciting, it can also be exhausting, so make time for rest.

It’s likely that you’ll be sharing with people that you’ve never met before in your accommodation. As all of you will live life differently, it’s important that you feel comfortable in your home space and have opportunities to be alone.

It can be helpful to recognise when you need your own space and make boundaries from the outset. Don’t feel that you have to talk all the time; equally, don’t be afraid to start conversations.

Try not to expect too much from the people you meet in the early days, during freshers week and initial social events. While it’s possible that you may make lifelong friends, remember that not everyone will be presenting their authentic self at the start. It takes time to get to know people properly and decide whether you’re the right ‘fit’ for each other.

Meet different groups of people from your course, accommodation or any clubs or societies you join. This will give you a range of friends and different perspectives - and that’s what the university experience is all about!

In general, students tend to fall into one of two categories:

Optimist or worrier diagram

The Optimist

The prospect of meeting new people might be really exciting. You may be thrilled at the chance to learn about other ways of life and have new experiences.

Try not to exhaust yourself socially at the beginning though. You can’t do everything and meet everyone, and while it’s important to be sociable, don’t feel obliged to keep up a whirlwind pace.

Some of the best friendships are made over time. They don’t always happen overnight.

Student's legs and school bag

The Worrier

You may be socially anxious, wary of meeting new people and making conversation. You may also be worried about how you think you’ll be perceived by others.

Getting to know other students in your accommodation can be a helpful place to start - asking questions about where they are from, what they are studying and their interests to see if you can find any common ground. Offering cups of tea and biscuits helps, and if you bake then you’ll be popular if you share the results!

Always try to be yourself and comfortable with who you are. If you are not true to yourself, it will be harder to make the right friends and find the support you’ll need in the long run.

If you find yourself scared to leave your room or go into your kitchen, that’s completely normal. Remember to tell yourself: this is your home and you need to feel safe and comfortable in it. Be polite, open to conversation and confident when cooking and preparing food, and this will encourage others to talk to you in shared spaces.

If you’re struggling to make friends and feel lonely, don’t become a recluse, locked in your room. This won’t help and these feelings should pass if you work at it. Ask your wellbeing team for advice and guidance if you need to.

People on stairs



Starting University

A resource for young people about to start university

View resource

Wellbeing Action Plan (child)

A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult times

View resource

Warning signs poster

A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.

View resource

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