How to Cope with University Life

Four Parts:Upon ArrivalStaying Healthy During UniversityStaying On Top of University WorkSocialising and Staying Safe

University. The place where you're about to spend what everyone says will be the "best three (or more!) years of your life". From studying, partying, and being away from old friends and strict parents with their restrictive house rules, to embracing the "student" title with open arms, it can definitely be a huge change - and for some people, it can be a massive challenge. So how do you get used to that change?

Part 1
Upon Arrival

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    Ask whoever is at reception or the front office to give you information on your course or to help you work out how to move you into your new home (if you've opted to move into halls of residences). Also ask about what events are happening and what's on offer. There is often a whole load of parties happening at the start of each year/semester (often known as 'freshers' or 're-freshers' week), so see if you can get any information about those as they're a great way to get to know people attending the same university as you!
    • When you arrive at university, you'll probably have been informed by where to go by an email from those responsible for informing new students. If not, your best bet is to find reception, or the main entrance. This is helpful, as they always have lots of good advice on posters, pamphlets - and there will always be people around who will be open to your questions.
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    Take some time to make your room look nice. Having a room that feels like home can sometimes be all the difference. Put up pictures, hang decorations, put a nice fluffy blanket on your bed - the comfier you feel, the better! Not only will it make you feel good, if you have a nice looking room anyone whom you're sharing your halls with might want to hang out in there - and there you go––friends!
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    Take some time out to get to know the campus. It's important to know where things are, such as where to go if there's a fire drill or where you can grab a coffee with your friend. Having more knowledge of your area will make it easier to cope, as you'll feel more acquainted with your surroundings.
    • It's also important to note where things like security staff are based, where residential support is, maybe even start scouting which buildings your classes are or are likely to be in.
    • Have a look at the social areas for places like bars, cafes, and so forth, where you can meet new people if need be. If there are any food shops onsite, make sure you take into account where they are, how much food is, and other relevant information.
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    Check out the surrounding area. It's very important to know where local amenities are located, such as doctor's surgery, pharmacy, laundromat and places like that––you're going to need these services to help you to live a comfortable life. Knowing about what's available can make all the difference.
    • If you're on a tight budget at university, have a look for some food shops and the like and compare prices––it's important that you know how to get the best value for your money!
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    Finish moving in, kick back and relax in your room. Or, if you're feeling brave, go out and start meeting people!

Part 2
Staying Healthy During University

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    Maintain your physical health. When it comes to surviving in a new place by yourself where you don't have any adults around to make sure that you don't come down with scurvy or something else dreadful, make sure you look after your physical health.
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    Get proper sleep. This is advised, but let's face it - you're at university now. Part of the whole student trope is dragging yourself to your 9ams after being out till 2 in the morning the night before painting the town red. Either way, you will need to sleep sometimes - and make sure that you do when you get the chance as nobody wants to have anything to do with someone who looks like a zombie! (Unless you're into that sort of thing, of course).
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    Eat well. Even those dodgy canned vegetables are better than nothing. Drink plenty of water and fruit juice (preferably without vodka or some other kind of spirit that you only drink if you're that desperate to get drunk). Try to vary what you eat.
    • Often, the more colourful your plate looks with different foods, the better. And this shouldn't be too hard––everyone knows that students tend to be attracted to all things colourful and shiny.
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    Keep yourself in shape - even just opting to walk up those two flights of steps instead of taking the lift is better than nothing!
    • If you're showing some rather dodgy signs that suggest your health is on the decline, be sure to go to the doctor's.
    • If you're coughing up mucus or you ate something dodgy, it's much better to get yourself looked at than waiting for things to get worse, then having to miss multiple classes to get better! Physical health is very important; if your body feels okay, often this means your mind and your mood will be much better too!
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    Maintain your mental health. Loads and loads of students can struggle with anxiety, depression, and other similar things when they leave home for the first time. There should be a counselling and advice section at your university - and it's well worth paying a visit to them if you feel down all the time or things aren't starting to get better any time soon. Similarly, if you're stressed about exams or assignments or anything like that, counselling services can help you manage that stress and help you make the best use of your time.
    • If you're struggling with ongoing mental problems, make sure you get signed up to the mental health service at your university. You won't be singled out or anything like that––it just means that staff can keep an eye on you if you suddenly take a downturn.
    • If you need any kind of help, it often means that it can save you having to explain your situation as most people will be aware anyway.

Part 3
Staying On Top of University Work

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    Make sure you don't miss the classes. They're a pain to catch up on, and if you don't feel like going now, you almost certainly won't feel like going later. Go on. Get out of bed and go. If there's anything you don't understand in class, communication is the key––don't let the anxiety eat you alive.
    • Email your teachers or lecturers and ask him/her to clarify something if you didn't understand it. Chances are, you're not that far behind from understanding, you just need it explained in a few more basic terms.
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    Do your assignments. Yes, everyone is already aware of how much you hate that era of history that your assignment revolves around. Complaining isn't getting it done though, is it?
    • However, if you're really, really struggling to motivate yourself or you genuinely feel like you're not going to be able to get it done in time, email your teacher or seminar leader to let them know. Explain the situation and if they feel your excuse is good enough, they'll give you an extension.
    • If motivation or procrastination become a big problem, it might be worth going to the campus counsellor and explaining what you're struggling with. They'll most likely have some good tips on how to motivate yourself.

Part 4
Socialising and Staying Safe

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    Find friends and develop your social life. It's actually a lot harder to make friends at uni than most people tell you it is. You might go out clubbing every night but that doesn't necessarily mean that people you meet there want to hang out with you. The same goes for the people in your halls of residence––you might see them in their pyjamas staring at the murky liquid known to all as coffee through half-closed eyes but that doesn't make you an automatic friend. Your best bet to make friends is just to continue being nice to everyone.
    • It might take days or weeks to find people that you really, really gel with. You might be lonely for a while––some people don't even start making solid friendships until the second semester! But what matters is that the people who are worth your time will find you eventually.
    • People who are likely to get on naturally gravitate towards each other, you'll see. Join societies, keep getting involved with events and other things, and you'll find that over time (and it might be a bit longer than you'd thought), people will realise you're the bee's knees and come to hang out with you.
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    Make sure you keep some money back for emergencies, and budget. It's no fun having to live off microwavable rice for the last two months of term because you blew your entire student loan on alcohol in the first few weeks. Trust this advice!
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    Know your limits with respect to alcohol. While this may seem trivial, it is actually serious. There's nothing worse than waking up the next morning next to someone you don't know or finding out you've had your wallet stolen and you have no idea how to retrace your steps to find out where you lost it. More than that, you won't impress anyone if you throw up on the middle of the dance floor at the nearby club. Honestly, knowing your limits will do you so many favours.


  • Make sure you find out what to do during an emergency when you're exploring campus.
  • Check out nighttime safety assistance. For example, are there campus guards able to walk you back to your residence if you feel concerned? Is there sufficient lighting to help you get back to your residence when it's dark? Knowing (and making use of) these sorts of things will help you to keep safe.


  • If you or someone know is feeling really down and feels like they might do something harmful to yourself or others, call security or emergency services straight away. It seems overly paranoid, but it's so much better to be safe than sorry.

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Categories: College University and Postgraduate