Written by Stacey Blake - Project Consultant for the Insight Project
Prepping to go to university is an exciting yet scary time. Having already done a four-year degree, I had a sense of what it would be like here in Leicester in terms of the workload and balancing both my school and social life. The students coming to Leicester after high school may lack the experiences that teach them these lessons. This post is my attempt to give you some advice to make the transition easier.
Firstly, the jump from high school to university is no joke. If you're used to getting 90s in high school, be prepared to receive the 50s and 60s at university, starting out. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry the first time I received a mark back from the university. The reality is that you will have to work harder than you ever have. The good news, though, is that it’s possible! It gets easier too, the better you learn how to study, research, and write effectively.
Secondly, it can be daunting thinking about making new friends from scratch when you’ve been ignorantly enjoying the company of life-long friends you grew up with. As an introvert, I can attest to this. It was very scary on my first day as I sat near strangers rehearsing, in my head, things to say to break the ice. My next piece of advice is to start easy. A simple “Hi” or, in my case, I heard the girls sitting behind me talking, so I turned around and said, “Are you guys Canadian too?” That’s all it took for me to meet my friends, who quickly became life-long besties.
Take advantage of where you are. For the students from the UK, it’s probably well-known and less exciting for you because I imagine you’ve been travelling since you were young. For my fellow Canadians, however, it is so easy to go to a different country and explore for the weekend. You can always find a good deal on flights or train tickets if you look in advance. I’ve already been to Germany, the Czech Republic, and soon Tenerife, Spain, just to name a few!
Keeping on top of your schoolwork so you can do fun stuff with your friends on weekends is important for your sanity. Keeping in contact with friends and family is also necessary because you may feel homesick if not. Personally, I haven’t struggled so much with homesickness because I’m 24 years old, and I felt ready to leave home. I talk to my friends and family daily, so the transition was easier for me than it is for most, I’d imagine. I applaud the 18-year-olds that are brave enough to come to Leicester alone, fresh out of high school. I don’t know If I could offer you guys advice cause clearly, you're already more put-together than I was at 18.
My final piece of advice is to have fun and soak in every good and bad experience. It’s cheesy to say, but these are the best years of your life, so live them to the fullest!