Top tips on mentally preparing for university
Going to university can be exciting and terrifying in equal measures, but it's completely normal if a whirlwind of emotions is starting to cloud your brain with complete panic and fear.
Being self-sufficient and leaving home can be overwhelming, and if the fears of the unknown are getting on top of you there are a few things you can do to help put your mind at ease.
Take a step back and try these tips to quash those fears, so you can focus on the exciting journey you're about to embark on!
Organise and manage your finances
According to The Money & Pensions Service, 39% of adults in the UK (20.3 million) don't feel confident in managing their money. Money management is a very important skill that isn't taught at school, but as you transition into living independently it's an essential part of life.
To help you manage your money effectively, the best idea is to create a budget. Work out how much money you've got coming from your student loan and any extras, then take away the money you'll need for all your outgoings like rent, utilities and bills. The rest of what you have is your disposable income, which you can divide sensibly between groceries, clothes, entertainment etc. Using a spreadsheet on your laptop for this is a helpful way of seeing your budget as an overview each month.
Your student loan is usually sent to you three times over the academic year, typically every semester. Once this lump sum of money hits your bank account it can be easy to fall into the trap of splashing the cash here, there and everywhere. Instead, divide the sum into three equal amounts, stash what you need in the future in a separate account and pay yourself each month so it works similar to a wage.
Money is one of the biggest causes of stress, so avoid the aggro by planning and organising your funds in advance.
If your brain feels scrambled and all over the place, grab your notepad and pen and start making lists. Transferring all your racing thoughts on to paper helps you to gain a clearer idea of what's going on up there, and allows you to organise and prioritise tasks or any issues you're facing.
If there are lots of things you need to sort out before you get to university, making a to-do list is the perfect way to break down those overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and will help you to work out what the next step is.
As well as writing to-do lists, you could write down all the worries you have about university. Seeing them all in front of you helps you to rationalise the situation instead of overthinking it. By doing this you can work out a plan B for any scenario that worries you. For example, if you're worried about being behind your peers on your course, you might have to put a few extra hours of studying in to catch up.
Don't forget to write down all the things you've achieved too! You've made it to university, which is a big achievement in itself, but whilst you're here it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of student life. Write down your accomplishments on a piece of paper and take it to uni with you so if you're feeling down, you can remind yourself of all the obstacles you've overcome in your life to get to this stage. You can do it!
Get social before you get to uni
Not many people excel in awkward situations, so don't worry if you feel uncomfortable being thrown in the deep end. Going to university without knowing a soul can feel quite daunting, and you might feel as though you'll need to be on top form on move-in day so that you make a good impression with your new flatmates - even though you're nervous about 1000 other things already!
To help you with the transition of moving into your accommodation, universities often create Facebook pages or groups where people who are staying in the same block can meet their new flatmates. This is a great option for anybody who would rather get to know their flatmates before the move-in day and save all that awkward small talk. What's more, it's an ideal way of planning in stuff to do with each other during Freshers week and beyond.
If you want to join any clubs or societies, there will almost certainly be a Facebook page for those too! Get talking to people who are already involved with the clubs and societies you're interested in to feel as though you're already part of the community before you get there.
Every hall has their own WhatsApp group created by their ResLife team too. The link for this is included in your online student induction, or you can reach out to your hall's ResLife team to get access.
Accept that university won't be rosy all the time
University life is amazing - most of the time. However, there will be points in your university journey where you feel down, homesick or hopeless, and accepting this early on is key to overcoming a period of sadness. There are very few people - if any at all - that are in a flawless mood every day, and as long as you can accept that ups and downs are a part of university life, you'll be okay.
There are plenty of services available at your university if you do feel like you need some support during your time here. If you think that you might struggle when you go to university, you can prepare yourself by going on the university's website and writing down all the contact details for the relevant departments. Then you don't have to worry about it when you're here if you've got a lot on your plate.
At LSE we've got lots of support and wellbeing services available to you. Check out our student wellbeing page to find out how we can support you.
We can't wait to welcome you to LSE - you're going to have a blast!
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