Starting University – Know Before You Go

By Leanne Haywood a current MSc Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health NTU student and Student Mental Health Champion

I am currently just completing my masters in psychological wellbeing and mental health at Nottingham Trent University and also completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at NTU. I wanted to share some tips and advice for new students before arriving and starting at university. I hope these tips are helpful and also help to ease some worries that you may have about starting university.

  • Make sure you have everything prepared especially if you are moving away

If you’re moving away from home it’s important to be prepared early by having everything you need ready to move, making sure that any documentation and things you may need are all ready to go to save stress at the last minute! Make sure that you have plenty of stationery, notebooks, laptops and any other things you’ll need for studying. If you’ve been given a reading list you could even get some of the core textbooks and start having a little read through to give you a bit of understanding before you start your course which could really get you off to a good head start.  Also make sure you have taken part in any of the pre-arrival tasks for your course if there are any as it will give you a good head start and help you get you in a good mindset for university life.

If you’re moving away from your hometown and haven’t visited Nottingham before or don’t know much about the area it may be useful to look at local landmarks and exciting things that you might want to do whilst you are studying in Nottingham. For example visiting local places or attractions you might want to visit,  this can help ease some of the anxiety you may have about moving away from home and help you to get to know your new area

  • Join in with ice breakers and freshers events

It is common to feel alone or worried about not having any friends or anyone you can talk to whilst at university, especially if you’re moving away from home. Icebreakers and freshers events are a great way to meet people that are on the same course as you and other people that will be studying at NTU. Go on a walk around campus to get to know the university and where everything is, it can really help to put your mind at ease and be a good way to socialise ahead of your university journey.

  • Stay organised

It is easy to get carried away with socialising, freshers events and meeting new people. Often the studying side of university life can get pushed aside early on. It’s important to try and stay organised and keep up with studying, notetaking and lectures to make sure you don’t fall behind, you don’t want to be trying to get through a whole years worth of lectures in the last term as this will just cause so much stress. I found that keeping calendars and planners and noting down the tasks I want to accomplish each day really helped me to keep on top of my studying and help to ensure that I didn’t fall behind in any of my courses.         

  • Remember everyone is in the same situation

It is easy to get stressed and worried when you’re starting a new journey in a different town with nobody that you know but it’s important to remember that everybody is in the same situation. A lot of people are also moving away from that homes and friends and feel the exact same way as you do. A lot of people will also be having the same worries and stresses that you do too so it’s important to be able to reach out, support each other and talk about these things because you won’t be alone and other people will be feeling the same and by talking about it it could really help work through the worries you have.

  • Have fun!

It’s really important to have fun. For many the university journey is one of the most exciting times of your life, you’ll get to meet lots of new people, experience all the lectures on your course and study something that you really enjoy. It’s also important to take time out and have a good work life balance whilst at university. It’s important to study hard but it’s also important to take some time out for yourself to relax, socialise and enjoy university life. After all you don’t want to get burnt out after the first term!

I hope these tips have helped you if you’re starting at NTU this year and hope that you have an amazing time and really enjoy your course whatever you are studying. I’ve had an amazing time over the past few years at NTU and I’ve really enjoyed my time here. All of the staff have been amazing and the support has been fantastic so I hope you have a great time studying at NTU too!

Check out Student Minds Know Before You Go guide for more advice on starting university.

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.


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