A little advice for those new to University life…
…by Lily / from Spain / studying Astrophysics (Mphys) / 5th year
Starting University can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it’s in a new city and country. Despite my now ‘veteran’ status as a 5th year and graduation round the corner, I still remember my first month in Edinburgh: getting lost around the city, going on countless walks up Arthur’s Seat and slowly finding comfort in my new home.
My first few weeks in this city seemed to fly by with constant socialising, classes and weekly events which meant I had little time to process my new life away from home. What truly helped to ground myself was learning from older students. Making friends with people from different year groups in my degree allowed me to gain a sense of community and made life on campus a lot more accommodating. It can be easy to just meet first years when you live and study with them and especially when you are all as eager to explore and make friends. It therefore may seem daunting to approach more mature students; that is where joining a society can really make a difference!
The Physics Society!
Joining the Physics Society gave me plenty of opportunities to learn from more experienced students that were also in my degree. Now, despite being a committee member and loving to promote it, this is not an ad (although I will always recommend joining!). Instead this example from my personal experience is an important piece of advice I make sure to give to people who are starting university.
Becoming a member of a society (especially one that was associated with my degree) and meeting people who were older and had already gone through first year was a great way to learn more practical life lessons as their advice always proved to be incredibly useful. Subject-related societies in particular are used to making students from all year groups get to mix by creating academic families. My favourite event to attend (and plan as a committee member) is a classic Pub Quiz as we all get to nerd out about physics for a bit.
Remember there is always something in place to help you
Aside from societies there are plenty of mentoring schemes you can join that make sure someone is helping you out and the University has departments that are dedicated to helping you out and ease any difficulties such as the Advice Place.
Beginning from scratch in a new place is never easy and adding on the stresses of university life can make it seem worse than it actually is. Talking to those who have already gone through exactly what you are experiencing will always make it easier. My final piece of advice for new incoming students would be to take it easy, enjoy the newness of it all and remember that exciting times are ahead of you!