Hi there! My name is Alex and I'm currently undertaking my Creative Writing PhD at the University of Lincoln. I'm a big fan of lots of streaming services, books, and am a published poet! I aspire to be a multi-genre,…
This coming September will officially mark five years since I set foot on the University of Lincoln campus! So it’s definitely safe to say that I’ve learned and realised lots of things along the way, which would have been very helpful for my fresher’s self to hear! I’m going to lay out some of the more pertinent ones here in the hopes that they can be helpful to you, those getting ready to begin the student journey, or for those of you still figuring out how to settle in.
Set Yourself Up for Smooth Moves
Invest in good suitcases! It’s easy to get into the habit of just packing things in wherever you can fit them, whether that be in backpacks, binbags, or industrial sized shopping bags. Though this will seem convenient, it will actually make it much more awkward for you when you’re moving, packing, and then unpacking things down the road. So take the time to get yourself a good set of cases, it’ll make things easier to organise, transport, and they can be easy to store under your bed, desk, or at the back of your wardrobe. You’ll likely have to use a few binbags here and there, but if you have good cases it will make your life much easier.
Balance your Studies AND Self-Care
Get your chore routine down as soon as you possibly can! University level study is already a big commitment, so you need to have a good structure in place to manage everything else associated with looking after yourself. Namely laundry, cleaning, rubbish removal, and the all important food shop. Using your uni timetable as a basis, dedicate set times during the day to attend to these chores, keeping them spread out so you’re not doing too much at once. Also, particularly regarding food shopping, have a wander to see what your closest shops are and how you want to handle things – i.e. if you don’t have a car and you have to carry things yourself, you might want to split your shop into two trips.
Embrace Social Opportunities at Your Own Comfort
You don’t have to go out if you don’t want to! Of course, if you want to get out there to the clubs and events with the new people you meet then that’s great, but if that’s not your vibe then don’t force yourself. It’s natural to need time to settle into your new space and structure, and it might even be a few weeks before you find your crowd, however big or small it may be. Doing society taster sessions can really help with this, because you can focus on the things you’re most interested in, and if you decide it’s not for you then you can at least say you gave it a try! With societies, roommates, and course mates combined, you’ll definitely find people you can bond with.
Talk to your Tutors!
Actually talk to your tutors! I remember back when I was an undergraduate that speaking to my tutors felt like the most intimidating thing in the world, because I was petrified of asking a stupid question. The secret is… there are no stupid questions. If you need to know something and you make the effort to try and find it out, there is nothing stupid about that whatsoever. Plus, your tutors are here to help you, that’s the whole reason they’re here! Make sure you take down the details of their office hours and e-mail address, and if you don’t feel up to asking for help in person, you can just send off an e-mail. I guarantee that they will either be able to help you, or tell you where/who to go to in the uni to get the assistance/advice you need.
We’re very lucky here at the University of Lincoln, in that we have a great wealth of resources and advice all at the ready should you need it. Whether you’re confused or struggling with finance, mental health, property, study worries, employment, or anything else you might be concerned about, there will be someone there to help! Either go straight to your tutors, or consult with Student Wellbeing over e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (01522 886400) – they will certainly point you in the right direction. I hope this advice was helpful, and remember that if you need help, just ask!