UMASS Blog

5 DO’S to Prepare for Your First Week at University!

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For many students, living away from parents or carers is a new, daunting task that hasn’t yet been tackled. The idea of cooking meals, cleaning up pots and pans, and washing clothes is completely alien and baffling: questions such as ‘what temperature should garments be cleaned at?’ and ‘how long can certain food stocks be left in the fridge before they start to turn green?’ frequently run through most new freshers’ minds.

Having just finished my first year at the University of Manchester, I thought I’d offer a few top tips on how to settle in to the university flow, and on how to take advantage of the first few weeks of living away from home!

 DO take advantage of the university’s societies

A society is an organisation that is founded and ran by students of a university institution. At the University of Manchester there are over three hundred different societies that students can join, ranging from the typical sports societies, such as football, cricket, and rugby, to lesser known groups such as the lishi taichi, chess, and wine appreciation societies. These unions of people are a good source of finding people who share similar interests as you do, and are a great starting point in networking with more students who have been at the university for a longer period of time than yourself.

Find out more about the Societies at The University of Manchester. 

DO knock on peoples’ doors if you’re living in halls!

If you’re living in halls for your first year at university, it’s greatly beneficial to get to know and befriend the neighbours as soon as possible! Take advantage of your new settings and knock onto the nearby flats’ doors once you’ve got a small group of two or three together. Welcome Week is a fantastic opportunity to meet people who you may not have done otherwise. Also, ensure that you leave your door open whilst you unpack. By doing this, passersby will be able to see that the room isn’t empty, and may come over for a quick chat!

There are lots of ways to find out who you are living with through social networking sites – chatting to the people you will be living with before you get there will take the edge off the nerves! Make sure you check The University of Manchester Freshers 2013/2014 page!

Do visit the library early

For most degrees, the library will be one of your main keys to success, as it’s the place where your resources and materials can be found. Take time in your first week to visit and get to grips with the basics, such as how to withdraw and deposit books, and how to use the library catalogue to search for harder to find materials; these skills will quickly be put into practice once the workload starts to mount up, so having the knowhow early on in your university career can prove extremely advantageous.

Find out about The University of Manchester Library and how to make the most of it!

Do ask for help!

Moving to a new institution can be incredibly overwhelming. University isn’t like college; students are expected to be independent learners. Although tutors will provide an outstanding amount of support throughout the duration of the course, it is not their responsibility to remind you of deadlines for assignments or essays.

Students should note, however, that many members of academic staff have specified office hours in which they actively welcome students to come and speak to them about any matters that they may have concern with ranging from academic matters, such as not being able to access or understand content, to more practical matters like how to log into online resources.

For administration help, the Students’ Union (on Oxford Road) and the University of Manchester’s Students’ Services desks (located near to the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons and the UoM library) are fantastic places to pop in to. If you’re having trouble registering or picking modules in the first week of university, these places could be worth visiting.

If you need any help before you get here, try checking the Advice Centre at The Students’ Union to see who to contact.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask the university’s student ambassadors for help throughout the week who will be working relentlessly to make your transition onto campus as easy as possible; they are usually clearly identifiable by their purple hoodies, their smiles, and their towering ‘Ask Me’ lollipops!

DO have a fantastic time and enjoy yourself!

Welcome week is a time of both anxiety and excitement. I was incredibly nervous about moving away from home and starting my degree at the university this time last year, but everything starts to make sense within a couple of weeks of arrival. Welcome week is the first step on your new journey through higher education; enjoy it, and ensure that you take advantage of all of the opportunities that starting at a new institution offers.