By Georgia Wilkinson
I’m not going to try to lie to you – starting uni as a whole is pretty stressful, and all that anxiety tends to come to a head in freshers week. Ever since you got your offer, this has been looming over you. Now all the little stresses that have built up – making your conditions (if you had them), applying for SAAS (which has been scientifically proven to be the third most difficult thing in the world, after rocket science and explaining new technology to elderly relatives), applying for halls, actually moving out – are out of the way, and you’re here. And it can be overwhelming.
But, what with this being my fourth go at this – a fact that’s terrifying in itself – I’m hoping I can give you some ideas about coping over the next few weeks, until you get all settled in and comfy.
Number 1: Spider Theory
I refer to this as spider theory (because my mother has been trying and failing to get me to apply it to spiders) but it can be applied to new flatmates just as easily; they are more scared of you than you are of them. It’s easy to feel so smothered by your own insecurities that everyone else appears to be incredibly beautiful, organized and confident. But while you’re envying your flatmate, they’re probably envying you. The vast majority of people are doing this for the first time; remember that you’re all in the same boat, and stay calm.
Number 2: There’s No Such Thing As A Grown-Up
That brings me onto my next point. If I have learned anything in the last three years (apart from how bills work and never to drink tequila ever again) it’s that there’s no such thing as a “grown-up”. Nobody knows what they’re doing; everyone’s making it up as they go along and hoping they don’t get in trouble. Yes, everyone. Your Mum, your Dad, your lecturers, your tutors, that guy that runs the corner shop, everyone! So don’t stress about not having a plan – I’ve never met anyone who does. Make sure you’re not too far into your overdraft, that you’ve got food in the house and that you’ve done your reading, and everything else can be sorted out later. There’s no way that you can make the perfect decision every time, so relax and do what seems best at the time.
Number 3: Lecturers Are Nice
I’m going to put a bit of a disclaimer on this – the Strathclyde Telegraph cannot promise that all lecturers everywhere are nice. That’s a huge generalization, and therefore inaccurate. Having said that, every single lecturer and tutor I’ve had has been lovely, and more than willing to go out of their way to help you. The biggest revelation for me at university was the realization that the lecturers actually really really want you to pass, and they’re willing to do everything they can to make that happen. If you get some work back with a lower grade than you expected, and don’t understand why, contact your tutor and ask! They’ll set up a meeting and explain it to you. If you don’t understand the question you’ve been asked at all, don’t stare at it like it’s written in mandarin and then throw your laptop out the window (as tempting as that may be) – ask someone! They’d all rather you asked, and then did well, than tried to do it on your own and failed.
Number 4: Your Room Is Yours
It’s a bit obvious, but if you bear this in mind then living in shared flats is going to be a lot easier. Your bedroom is going to be a lot nicer to be in – whether you’re hiding from your awful flatmate or recovering from a particularly brutal hangover – if you make it yours. Get to ikea, get some cheap, bright sheets, some posters, a plant, anything to make the room feel like it’s yours. Having somewhere cozy to tuck yourself away when it’s rainy and stormy in the middle of winter, having somewhere cheerful to survive when exams season kicks in, having a little space that’s totally yours really makes a difference to your mood.
Well, that’s everything I have to say. Hopefully that’ll help you cope with freshers a bit better. Apart from what I’ve said already, the best advice I can give you is that if two paracetamol and an ibuprofen don’t cure it, then full fat Irn Bru will; tequila is the devil and should be avoided at all costs; know your home address, so that you can tell the taxi driver; and that freshers flu will strike without mercy, and at practically any time of year. Take a deep breath – you’ll be fine – enjoy Strathclyde!