Settling into university

Issue date: 18 September 2017

University is a unique chapter of your life, full of new experiences and opportunities. Starting this journey is exciting but can also feel a little overwhelming – this is completely understandable and many students struggle to settle in. Follow our helpful tips to make the transition to university as enjoyable as possible.

Making friends

Meeting new people and forming friendship groups often feels like the most daunting task when moving to an unfamiliar environment. Try to remember that at university there are thousands of other people in the same position as you.

  • If you're in halls, try spending time in communal areas where you're more likely to meet people. It can be tempting to stay in your room as this may feel safe but isolating yourself can make things worse.
  • Try sitting next to people in lectures, workshops and seminars rather than sitting alone. Being on the same course means you instantly have something in common to chat about.
  • Joining a society is a great opportunity to meet new people. There's a huge range of societies for all interests – from Quidditch to Bollywood! You can choose something you already enjoy or try something completely new.


Missing home is a perfectly normal feeling which many students experience, particularly at the beginning of term. This often gets easier as you become more settled, build a support network and create a new routine.

Modern technology means you are never too far from your loved ones – take advantage of Skype/Facetime or messaging to keep in touch with those back at home.

If university feels like a temporary space, it can take longer to settle in and become comfortable - add a personal touch with posters, fairy lights and cushions to make you feel more at home.

Many students find the practicalities of being away from home difficult to manage. Try buddying up with people to do chores such as laundry, shopping and cooking together so it feels less overwhelming.

Surviving the first few weeks

Freshers' Week and the following weeks are a hive of activity offering great opportunities to get involved with university life, but it can be a bit overwhelming.

There may be pressure to consume alcohol or drugs but both the University and The Students' Union host events which don't involve these.

It can be easy to let your self-care slip but establishing a healthy routine from the start can help you stay well – physically and mentally. Try to prioritise sleep, healthy eating, exercise and relaxation time.

Seek support

If you're finding settling into university particularly difficult, remember that you can speak to staff at the University Wellbeing Service for support. They run daily drop-ins every 15 minutes from 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00 Monday-Friday in 2FC050, Felixstowe Court (behind B and C block) on Frenchay Campus.

If you can't get to Frenchay Campus, then you can phone or email Wellbeing:

  • Open: Monday - Friday 08:30-17:00 (16:30 on Fridays)
  • Phone: 0117 32 86268
  • Email:

Take a look at the Wellbeing Service website to find out how about the range of support available, including self-help resources.

If you need to speak to someone outside of office hours, you can contact Kooth Student - they provide free, anonymous online counselling during evenings and weekends.

You can also contact Samaritans for free, confidential 24/7 support on 116 123.

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