…by Paula / from Argentina / studies Economic & Social History / 4th year (UG)
If you have taken the first step and applied to university, then congratulate yourself, because it is a brave decision. Moving away from your family, your friends and everything that you know and that makes up your daily life is difficult, but it is certainly doable. Thousands of students leave the comforts of their rooms and dive into the unknown, uncertain about what to expect but also scared of starting a new stage in their lives. If your choice is the University of Edinburgh, then don’t worry, I’ve got you covered – here’s all you need to know about moving from high school to university.
The first thing concerns the new city, the weather and the campus. You’re probably thinking that you’ll be lost, late to classes or that rainy Edinburgh will depress you. Stop right there! Edinburgh is completely student-friendly. During fresher’s week, you’ll get the chance to walk around with lots of other newcomers, you’ll see the different buildings and even get a campus tour. You’ll also see how you can experience the four seasons in one day but learn to love the weather here- even if you don’t play golf, the wind will mean you won’t need a hairdryer and the dark winter afternoons will be the perfect setting for a warm cup of coffee.
You are probably worried about leaving your friends behind, and how much you’ll miss your mum’s food. And yet again, there is nothing to be anxious about. You’ll make new friends the first hour you step foot in Edinburgh, some of which will end up being your best friends for life. Make sure you keep in contact with your parents, and remember that sending their kid to university is a hard experience for them as well, so go easy on them. Ask your mum to send a box full of treats every once in a while – it will keep you going. Skype with your old friends, and have fun with the new ones.
Third on the list – accommodation, taxes, bank accounts, loans – what? Not only will the university be extremely helpful in dealing with this, but you’ll also see when the time comes that it’s not as complicated as it sounds. You’re not the only one in this situation, just look around you and you’ll find lots of confused faces. As a student, you will only have to worry about rent, and it is probably helpful to open a bank account, but there are guides on this that you will be able to go through during welcome week. You can also get an appointment with a university adviser or visit the Advice Place, which helps students deal with all sorts of issues!
Last but not least – academics. Will it be harder than school? Probably yes. Is it impossible? Of course not! You’ll see that, depending on which course you choose, the workload compared to your last years of high school increases significantly. But that’s what university is about – taking up new challenges and overcoming them successfully. If you keep up with your reading and organise your time properly, it won’t be hard to hand in assignments on time. Again, the university offers guidance, courses and student support on academics as well as different online resources for you to succeed.
Speaking from my own experience, the transition from school to university wasn’t entirely smooth. However, it takes each one of us a different amount of time to adapt and the best advice therefore is to give yourself a break! You’ll have people around you that want to see you succeed, which I’m sure is what you’ll do.