For even the calmest prospective students, coming to university is a leap of faith. For anxious people like myself, it can be downright terrifying at points. Here are some things you can do to make the experience more fulfilling and at the very least, less stressful.
When it comes to meeting new people, your flatmates for the year will be among the first you come across. Whether you get on instantly with your flatmates or you never make the ‘leap’ from flatmates to friends, there are a couple of things to bear in mind in order to make living together a good experience. Firstly, communication. Talking to your flatmates will help you to get to know each other but will also mean that you can come to agreements about the cleaning rota or other mundane tasks. Secondly, empathy. If one of your flatmates is finding life difficult then try and be understanding. Even if it’s just sending a Facebook message asking if they need to talk, that can mean a great deal to someone. Listening to people is always a good thing.
Although there shouldn’t be any need to discuss cleaning rotas with your course mates, communication and empathy are still key in building and maintaining relationships with people on your course. Whether this means listening to people talk about themselves or trying to communicate across the North-South divide (this was a culture shock at the time, but I’m living with three Londoners next year so they can’t be that bad!), it’s worth it. If you feel able to get involved with your course, do it. Having been a Course Rep for this past year, it really helps with getting to know people you otherwise might not have spoken to.
Friends From Home
Coming to university doesn’t mean ditching your old friends for new ones. It’s always good to maintain friendships with your friends, but to also make sure not to judge how they’re dealing with starting university. It’s a different experience for everyone. Again, communication is key. You don’t have to talk every day or every week, but having trusted friends to talk to can make life a lot easier. I say this as someone who didn’t talk to his best friend for three months but now talks to her almost every week. People will be there for you if you ask.
Finally, try and have faith. I know this is way more difficult than it sounds but it makes a world of difference. Have faith in your old friends and your new friends, but most of all have faith in God that it’s going to be alright. As it is written in Isaiah 41:10, ‘so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God’.
Nathan is a Politics Student at the University of Leeds, and also happens to be Secretary of the SCM Leeds group. His interests lie mainly in looking at the role of faith in politics and what he sees as the intersection of faith and politics – social justice.