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Five tips for coping with going to university alone (and making it amazing)

Leaving your friends and family to go off to university on your own can be scary, but Boston, 18, explains why it can also be amazing - and shares her tips on how to make the most of it.

You might have clicked on this blog because this sounds like you; you're moving out into the big wide world, going to study a specialist subject you might not know a whole lot about just yet (or have forgotten about since you last studied it, like me) and you're going on your own!

Choosing your university can feel like a big choice. But if you're like me, you have done your research, or perhaps gone through clearing, and found a place that suits you (it may not feel like this right now, but give it time - your instinct is right more often than not).

I remember when I arrived at university feeling like I was entering the unknown, which made me very anxious. I also worried about not being able to cope academically, about not fitting in, and whether or not my subject was quite right for me. I was scared I'd have no one to talk to to get through these difficult times.

So, here are my top tips on how to deal with this solo scare:

  1. Talk to someone at home
    This can be a family member or a close friend - hopefully they can dispel any insecurities or worries you may have about not finding friends. Moreover, they will probably have been through something similar before, like starting a new job or even going to university themselves. They may even be going through the same thing currently.
  2. Look on The Student Room and other student networks such as Facebook
    Many universities set up fresher's forums or students create them themselves. Don't be afraid to join in! It's a great way to get to know people before you get there. DISCLAIMER: social media is by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to making friends; it is not essential, but it can give you a good head start!
  3. Make plans back home
    This might sound completely counter-intuitive to making friends at university, but keeping your home life exciting and making sure you have something to look forward to back home will help with the initial move. This is not only good for your mental health, but it's also a good conversation starter - and may even help you make plans with new friends! It will keep you positive about home and hopefully about university too!
  4. Keep that door open...(the classic)
    If you're anything like me, this will fill you with utter dread and perpetual fear. But do it if you feel able, even just for a short time. If it means even a couple of people pop their head in and say hello...it's a great start!
  5. Learn when to say NO (but try to avoid using excuses)
    If you're anything like me, you may sometimes say no to events or activities not because you don't want to go, but because you are worried or fearful about going - this is the wrong sort of no! If you are genuinely busy and have work to do - great, that is what university is for, but try not to find excuses to avoid social events. I know they can be awkward sometimes, but most turn out to be nothing like you initially feared.

I hope these quick tips and tricks help you combat the solo struggle - going to university on your own can be daunting - but it can also be the best! Have faith and trust the process.

Author: Boston, 18

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