Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Where to Go When You Need Some Advice; Education: University Should Be the Time of Your Life. but for Some, It Takes a Bit of Getting Used to. Chris Wills Outlines the Support Networks Available When You Need a Little Advice

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Where to Go When You Need Some Advice; Education: University Should Be the Time of Your Life. but for Some, It Takes a Bit of Getting Used to. Chris Wills Outlines the Support Networks Available When You Need a Little Advice

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS WILLS

New experiences

Finding yourself living with a group of complete strangers - not all of whom you are necessarily going to gel with - can make the first week at university a nerve-wracking experience, even without any lectures factored in. The main thing to keep reminding yourself is that you are all in the same boat - and that those unsettled feelings won't last. If you make the effort to get to know your housemates (and pretty much anyone else you come across during the first weeks), you'll be surprised how quickly things become familiar and you start enjoying university life to the full.

However, if things don't settle down for you and, for any reason, you think the accommodation, course or university may not be right - don't feel trapped. If things aren't working out, it is very possible to change one, or all, of those things.

Accommodation

Living away from home doesn't just mean getting to grips with your own laundry or mastering a killer spaghetti Bolognese, it also means learning to live with (and, perhaps, put up with) new housemates. The chances are you'll have no choice about who you live with University should be the time of your life. But for some, it takes a bit of getting used to.

Chris Wills outlines the support networks available when you need a little advice in the first year, so you're going to have to put up with their eccentric, dirty and/or drunken ways for a year until you do. Try to be open-minded.

Halls of residences are the perfect place to make your first new friends and to meet people who may never have entered your social circle back home.

On the other hand, if you find you really can't handle your food vanishing from the fridge, the halls fire alarm going off on a regular basis, and/or your housemates bitching about each other, you may want to rethink your housing strategy.

The student accommodation office should be able to offer you some other university-run options (but don't expect them to be very different), and can advise you on suitable private accommodation.

Work

Whether it is coping with unsupervised time or getting to grips with the volume of reading, university study can be tough - particularly for novices.

If you are struggling with the reading list or having trouble getting your work in on time, don't despair - there are staff in your faculty available to help you (and they are usually pretty flexible when it comes to deadlines).

The first person to contact with academic problems is your personal tutor, who is assigned to you at the beginning of term. They will be able to advise you on any problems you encounter with your course units or the workload, and can provide essential advice when choosing modules. If it comes to it, they will also be able to advise you on how to change courses within the faculty or university, or withdraw altogether. …

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