If you’re feeling daunted at the very idea of life at university, rest assured you most certainly are not alone. Most of us experience anxiety at the thought of such a massive transition, however, when it comes to looking ahead, there are useful concerns –learning to use a washing machine before leaving home, for example!- and then there are concerns which bring about unnecessary stress and sleep deprivation and don’t actually serve us in any helpful way. Here are three of the most common concerns about starting uni – DEBUNKED!
The social aspects of uni often seem more overwhelming than the workload. Almost everyone I know came to uni knowing few people (if any) on their course, and everyone, myself included, was a little bit terrified on that first day of turning up to a room full of ready-made cliques and friendship groups. It really is nothing like that. There’s a certain atmosphere about that first day -perhaps mutual fear- that sets everyone sort of at ease with the knowledge that you’re all feeling the same way, and as the year goes on, mutual interests bring you in line with awesome people if you allow them to – join societies!
This was probably my main worry coming to uni, and now I realize how silly it was! And I can’t use a map if my life depended on it (though, if you can, there are plenty campus maps available!) Newcastle has a fantastically compact campus so you could get lost for a little while and probably still get to your lecture in good time. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions either, most people will be happy to stop and help you. You’ll find that you spend most of your time in the same couple of buildings, and you’ll usually get a feel for things during the introductory week and have plenty of opportunities to find your way around with your course mates. By the following week you will most likely know your buildings well enough to find your own way.
For many students, money worries can really hinder their enjoyment of university living. Many of us are required to pick up part time work which is easy enough in such a bustling city (and often comes with another circle of friends!) but it does raise the issue of work/life balance, as it becomes a more difficult work/uni/life balance! It is perfectly doable, but most universities recommend 12 hours per week or less while studying. There are lots of employment opportunities within the university too, which the Careers Service will notify you of via your university email address; these positions can be anything from assisting GCSE kids with Maths and English over Skype, to running accommodation tours on open days (and are usually very well-paid!).
Hopefully this post has set your mind at ease with regards to these three common concerns. If I had more time I would address more concerns, but some things we have to find out for ourselves! Rest assured though, all these things that seem massive and scary in prospect are certainly less so in practice!