For many students, university will be the first time they move away from home. So, what happens if the university choices available to you through Clearing are further away from home than anticipated? Gareth Hughes, Psychotherapist and Research Lead – Student Wellbeing at the University of Derby, gives his top tips.
Give yourself a chance to get used to the idea
Whether you were planning to commute to university from home or were planning to go to a university that wasn’t too far away, you will probably benefit from taking a little time to get used to the idea of being further away. Acknowledge and accept that whatever feelings you have now are ok – and they don’t mean that once you go to university you won’t have a great time. It’s ok to feel a bit scared. It’s also ok to feel excited. It may help to talk to your family and friends and to build a plan for staying in contact and for when you will visit home. For most students, once they’ve settled into university, everything becomes normal and the distance stops being such a problem. Making some practical plans now can ease your fears and make the transition go more smoothly.
Think about the practical aspects
Take time to consider what you are going to have to do once you go to university. For example, cooking, washing your clothes, managing a budget, studying independently and planning out your time.
Think about the life skills you already have and what you might need to pick up between now and starting university and take steps to make sure you are prepared before you go.
For example, if you plan a budget now, it will be much easier to manage your money through to the end of the semester. Or you might want to practice cooking meals – can you cook five or six meals and, if not, is there someone around who can show you? Take time to search for recipes online, there are lots of student recipe websites where you can pick up that skill pretty quickly. University is both a very exciting and daunting time. It’s all new, so being prepared will help make the transition and move from home easier.
Applying for accommodation
Getting good accommodation can be a source of anxiety for new students, particularly those going through clearing but your university will help you find somewhere suitable. Don’t think you are on your own and that you have got to figure it out for yourself, that’s not the case. Contact your university’s accommodation service or go to the university website to see what is available.
If you accept a place offered through Clearing, you can apply for halls online later that same day.
At Derby, we constantly check the availability of rooms in our halls of residence, and will do our best to offer you a place. If these run out, we will help you to find suitable accommodation nearby.
Will I fit in?
Fitting in is the most common concern that new students have. The truth is that you will and that you have more control over this than you may realise. There are lots of people within your university and amongst all of those new students there will be other students who will make great friends. The key is to make sure that you seek them out and don’t wait to stumble across each other by accident. Join new clubs and societies, introduce yourself to the other students in your class, volunteer, go to freshers events and use online forums. The more people you meet the more chance there is that you will find a like-minded group of friends quickly.
To register for Clearing in advance, go to: www.derby.ac.uk/clearing. To speak to our Admissions staff call: 01332 592018.