The experience you have at uni is something you shape and define for yourself. It’s easy to sit around, make excuses and be afraid to try new things, especially when it goes against the label of what you were known by back in college or sixth form. In fact it probably gives you more reason not to try new things. But uni is that fresh chance where you can redefine yourself for the better.
For example, take sport. Back at school I was definitely not one to get involved in sports, to be honest I was just that girl who knew nothing about sport and couldn’t catch a ball properly. Despite not being a sporty person back then, I decided to still get involved in sports (even if it meant that people had to shout out the rules from the side line whilst I played as I barely knew the rules). Sometimes you never know you could actually be good at something new if you tried. Of course, playing a sport isn’t the only thing you can try out.
There’s a range of other new things to try out from volunteering, to leading your own campaign or raising money for charity. Whatever you fancy trying, pretty sure Loughborough has got you sorted. University is supposed to be the best years of your life, but sometimes it might not feel that way. Settling into university can be overwhelming for some, especially when you’re used to your own home comforts (of course this isn’t the case for all, some of you will love all that freedom you get being away from home). Coming to uni, you suddenly have to grow up and have to actually do things for yourself. From having to cook for yourself to paying bills, it was definitely a step up from living at home (unless your mum is real nice and brings you food from home every week).
Sometimes settling in doesn’t come naturally to everyone, in fact it can take some time, but it does get better. It took me ages to settle in, despite having an older sibling at uni with me. But I can assure you, it’s all part of that uni experience and you’re not alone in what you face. Even when you’re surrounded by so many people, you can still feel lonely and you can begin to miss home. If you do feel this way, I would recommend talking to someone as bottling things up can only make matters worse.
There is a lot of help available (more than you think) and since everyone is in the same boat, you’d be surprised at how many other people are feeling just like you. Talking it out can help you feel better about the situation and the struggles you may be facing at uni. Just knowing someone feels the same way can help. The struggles you face today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow, so always remember whatever you may be dealing with at uni is only helping you grow for the better. If you ever feel you are struggling with anything, speak to your personal tutor. They’re not only there to help you with your academic life but also are with you for the rest of your time at Loughborough and so want to help you as much as they can. If not, definitely talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a flatmate, friend, family member or even feel free to drop myself a message. Sometimes I found that I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone as it can be easy to hide yourself in your room when things get tough.
By getting involved in hall life, from running for committee to getting involved with RAG (raising money for charity) to Action (volunteering projects) to IMS (hall sports), I kept myself occupied and that itself helped me settle in more. Taking every opportunity that came my way helped shape my first year for the better. Easy said than done to push yourself out there, but you’ll thank yourself for doing so. First year is the perfect time to get involved with everything and I can’t stress enough how much taking part in hall life changed my first year for the better. Take every opportunity and make the most from it. Be yourself and enjoy yourself every step of what is about to be the start of your very own uni experience.
Tania – Ex Vice Chair, AAIR & Welfare Rep