Settling into university


By Caroline Shaw, School of Science and Technology Alumni

Starting university can be scary; in fact it’s kind of terrifying. You’re (often) moving away from home to a new city which you don’t know and you’re surrounded by strangers. Daunting.

BUT, and here’s a big ‘but’: you will be fine! Initially, it can all seem overwhelming, but you are surrounded by other students who are in exactly the same situation. They will be trying to settle in as much as you are and that provides a great environment to make a lot of good friends.

When I first started university, I was worried. I’d never moved house before or been away from home for more than a couple of weeks at a time. I was in a new city, I didn’t know anyone and none of my siblings had been to university so I had no idea what to expect. However, it didn’t take me long to become comfortable in my new surroundings and make friends. There are a number of things you can do to make yourself feel more relaxed and settle into university life; from my experience the best things to do are:

• Get to know your flat/house mates – the better you get to know the people you are living with, the more homely and welcoming your accommodation will become.
• Explore the city – investigate your new surroundings and explore different shops, restaurants, pubs, parks etc. The more you know what is where, the less intimidating the city will feel.
• Decorate your bedroom – when I arrived at university, one of the first things I did was to decorate my bedroom with photos and posters. This made it feel like MY bedroom rather than just being another student bedroom. Adding your personal touch can make a huge difference and make you feel much more at ease.
• Prop your bedroom door open – when you first arrive at university, try not to shut yourself away in your room all of the time. Propping your door open invites your flat/house mates to pop in and socialise. Everyone needs privacy sometimes so don’t feel obligated to do this 24/7.
• Keep in contact with friends and family from home – it’s always important to keep in touch with friends and family we’ve moved away from and it gives us someone familiar to talk to. However, it‘s also important that you don’t only rely on this for social interaction; make sure you go out and make new friends as well.
• Give yourself time – starting University is a big step and most people don’t settle in immediately, so don’t worry if you don’t, it takes time to adjust! You know yourself better than anyone. If you’re struggling to cope, talk to someone about it and take a step back from everything for a short while. It’s important that you do what’s best for you, but try not to shut yourself away constantly as this will only make you feel worse.

University is not just about increasing the breadth and depth of your knowledge of your chosen subject; it’s also about meeting new people, making new friends, discovering new hobbies and so on. You’re about to embark on a journey where you will make lifelong friends, learn more about the subject you love and grow as a person (cliché, but true)!

Once you’re settled in you’ll wonder why you worried so much.

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness
This post is part of our regular NTU Alumni feature. Over the next few weeks we will be posting guest blogs written by our Alumni Fellows sharing their experiences and tips on their student journey while here at NTU.
If you are an NTU graduate and are interested in writing for us contact:
You can find more information about our Alumni Fellowship volunteering programme via the alumni website

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