Your first few weeks at the university are the time when you already have a lot of other things to worry about, like making friends and doing your first study tasks. Because of the increased stress due to the fact that you do not know the surroundings or what is located, everything may seem too difficult. However, there are some things that you can think about in advance, and this will help you to more easily settle down and psychologically prepare for this exciting new period of your life.
1. Personal security
You want to feel safe and happy in a new village or city. Nevertheless, it is rather difficult to get used to living outside the home, even if there are no added fears about your safety. In most cities, there are inevitably disadvantaged areas, but it is important to know where they are and how easily they can be avoided. You don’t want to know too late that university housing, for example, is located in a notorious, violent area, and it’s not any better if it is near an institution you need, such as a train station. A little stubborn search in Google or a poll on a student online forum will shed light on which areas of the city should be avoided. You can find them on the Internet maps and see where they fit into where you need to go. In addition, in student forums you can find out some precautions, for example, which places to avoid on a Saturday night, and also get information about useful telephone support services or night bus services for students.
2. Practical aspects of social inclusion
You may have already been told how many bars, restaurants and clubs in your new place of residence, but you probably also thought about how far they are from your home. When you get there, probably everything will be fine in the early evening, when there is a bus, but it is unlikely to drive late at night, and you will want to know about the availability of registered taxis to safely get home. If you are a girl, then you will not want to go on heels for more than one mile every time you want to get somewhere! To join the community in the daytime, you will be helped by knowing the locations of pleasant cafes, where you can meet with friends over a cup of coffee or work a little using free Wi-Fi.
When you go to university, you will need to think about something that your parents probably have done for you so far – about buying food. Suddenly, all practical considerations about supermarkets come into play. How far is your home from the nearest supermarket? Is he within walking distance or will you have to take a bus with all your purchases (it is always difficult – I tried!)? How far will you have to go with your heavy shopping bags? One more thing: how big is your nearest supermarket. For smaller ones, there is a tendency to be more expensive, to have a more limited choice of products, and perhaps there will not be household goods for home. Are there those things you want to buy, or have you moved to the area with high-end stores where you can buy ten different types of cheeses, but you will not find a tin can of beans? Are there any products sold at reduced prices or a good loyalty program to help you save money, for example, Tesco Club Card?
4. Open spaces
Most university campuses have a certain green area where you can relax on a sunny day, but if you want to get out of town, you will need to know where there are other nice places to go. Parks, botanical gardens, river banks, rural open areas are the places you can go if you want to disconnect from the pressure of the university and enjoy the great expanses. In the event that you prefer a province to a city, it will be especially important for you to know where there are green places, and it may be easier for you to cope with life in a smaller town, or somewhere where you can easily reach the provincial area.
5. Search passageways and roads
If you are frightened by the prospect of what you have to look for, how to go somewhere in your new village or city – you are not alone. Maybe you will feel terrible homesickness when you realize that without a card you cannot even reach the supermarket, whereas in your hometown you knew all the shortest paths. But these feelings will soon dissipate as soon as you get used to your new home. One of the ways to quickly get around the neighborhood is to force yourself to walk daily in your village or city. It will pull you out from the desk, ruin it and give you a clue about the layout of the streets, as well as where it is located. Try to walk different roads every day, and you will discover new things for yourself, see places where you could go with friends, stumble upon useful shortcuts that can help you come to the lecture more quickly (if you are at university, everything will be dispersed throughout the city). You could even use new technologies to learn a little more about the city before moving to it, for example, after spending a little time, exploring a place with the help of “Street View” in Google.
6. What events are held in this area
Some people find university life from time to time “stuffy”, preferring to join society in the “real world”, outside the university family. In this case, you can find yourself a “refreshing” replacement, if in the village or city where you moved, there are always some events for both students and non-students. Beer festivals in local pubs, Christmas markets, carnivals and other such events can add to the fun of your university life and help you meet with the locals. It’s not a bad idea for you to get together with non-students, as this will help you begin to adapt to the “real life”, seemingly probably quite distant, when you are deeply involved in university life. However, it will inevitably come to an end, and it will be much easier for you to cope with the change if you are already adapted to life beyond its territory. A university is a transitional period from childhood to adulthood, and the more you begin to think in advance about life after study, the easier it will be for you to accept this change.
7. Local authorities
It may not sound interesting, but you will need to have some idea of the local authorities in your village or town, because at some point in your university studies you will probably end up with privately rented accommodation.
Even as a student, you will have to pay municipal debt, or you may have other reasons for contacting the city council, for example, if you have some serious complaint.
8. Where to buy the most necessary
You could organize yourself and buy everything that you think might be needed: pots, pans, dishes ¬– but there is always something that you will inevitably forget. In order to save your time during the period of moving and meeting new people, it would be nice to know in advance where you can cheaply get the things you need for life, as this will save you from wandering aimlessly around your new city in an attempt to find a suitable store. Students at that time, students can give you advice, so you can ask them on the forum or search for what you need in Google. The Boswells Oxford store, an independent department store selling almost everything at good prices, becomes a lifeline when you realize that you forgot to bring wine glasses or a kettle. IKEA is probably the best place to buy these things, so find out if you have one nearby. Larger supermarkets are also suitable for this purpose, since household appliances in their departments usually cost much less than if you were looking for it somewhere else.
9. Doctors and dentists
When you first move to a new place, make sure that you are prescribed with a doctor and a dentist. Perhaps now this item is not high on your list of priorities, but you will be glad that you did it if you are not very lucky and you suffer from a critical toothache or are hit by a virus for no less than a few months. The university will most likely recommend you a doctor or dentist to save you from difficult searches, but perhaps this will not be the nearest place to your personal housing, so it is better to spend a little time in Google and see who is near you. If the university did not give you a form to settle, just run to the administrator, and he will tell you what to do.
10. Public transport
Unless you are so lucky that you brought your own car to the university (which is not always recommended, as many campuses are not very friendly to cars and can easily begin to understand that cars are not really worth the money spent ); then in this case you will want to find out about the availability of public transport in your new village or city. Comparing with small cities, large cities are usually better equipped in this regard, such as, for example, Newcastle upon Tyne and its metro or London with its metro and comprehensive bus network. You will need to have a rough idea in advance of where your university’s territory, faculty and housing are located, and, therefore, how far you will have to go to lectures and so on. Based on this, you will be able to calculate whether you can walk where you need to go or whether you will need to rely on public transport. Download a bus route map on the local bus company site to see where the nearest bus stops are, and browse for specific schedules to know how often and until what time they walk. You have another choice: bring your bike with you, but in this case you will have to take appropriate precautions to protect your vehicle from thieves. If you want to take a chance and go even further, it will not hurt you to have an idea of where you can go by direct train (provided that there is a station in your new village or city), how often they drive and how easily you can get on it home.
11. New address
Although your parents will probably be happy with your mail, there are some people or companies that may need your new address when moving to a university. It may be more convenient for you if the letters are sent to your university address. Make the bank know your new address and the discount cards to which you are subscribed, so that all vouchers come to you directly to the university address. Also make sure you tell it to your family and friends so that they can still write to you — you will be surprised how much joy home messages can bring to your busy day. To keep your parents from worrying about mail forwarding, you can contact Royal Mail, the mail forwarding service instead, so that your mail will automatically be sent to your university address.
12. Advance visit
You probably already visited the new place of residence in advance, when there was an open door or maybe an interview, but it is a good idea to make another trip before starting your course so that you can simply familiarize yourself with the place and begin to psychologically adapt to what is your new home The best time for this is the period between the announcement of the results and the beginning of your course, because then you will know that you are exactly going to this place, and, in view of this confidence, look at it in a completely new light. If you arrive in the first week, you can actually start exploring your new home, recognizing it with your new friends.