Starting university this September? Read my guide to Manchester’s Welcome Week!!

Although it may seem daunting, starting university is a really exciting time! For those of you that have moved to a different city, you’ve got a whole new place to explore. Or for those of you that are living at home whilst at university, it’s a brand new experience in a place you already know. But most importantly, all round there’s going to be tons of opportunities to meet new people!

When I started at The University of Manchester, I moved into halls with seven other people. I had no idea who I was going to be living in a flat with, so I remember being pretty nervous about the move. A big worry was that I’d arrive and find out I had nothing in common with my flatmates. On moving in day my fears were suitably calmed, as it turned out we all had a pretty big thing in common – starting university. Everyone is in the same boat and eager to make friends, so once you’ve unpacked you can all head out for a celebratory drink together! There’s no shortage of cafes and bars in Manchester – so you’ll have lots to choose from, but to get you started – there’s usually one nearby to your halls.

For those of you living at home whilst studying at university, there’s no need to worry about meeting people. Not only will you meet plenty of people on your course, you can also join the Living at Home society through the Students’ Union. They organise tons of events and socials, providing plenty of opportunities for you to meet other students in the same position as you.

You will also then have Welcome Week to enjoy during your first week at university. The University of Manchester has a week packed full of events to welcome you and help you settle in. There’s a multitude of film screenings, concerts and speed meetings – as well the chance to sit in on some introductory lectures from our most esteemed academics. Also, don’t miss out on the Students’ Union Welcome Fair. This gives you the chance to learn more about the many clubs, societies and sports teams on offer, allowing you to sign up to the ones that take your fancy. I can highly recommend getting involved in activities and events through the Students’ Union as it’s such a great opportunity to meet tons of people and get involved in amazing projects. In my second year, I became involved in an Access All Areas project that delivered politics and campaigning workshops to a group of Year 9’s in a local school. It’s something I never thought I’d be able to do, but it was an incredibly rewarding experience and has given me the confidence to get involved in further projects with the SU.

After Welcome Week has come to a close, it’s time to get excited about starting your course! Attending your first lectures and seminars is likely to be a whole new experience for most new students. As you begin to get readings and assignments set, you can start to make the most of the available learning facilities. There’s a large variety of study spaces available at The University of Manchester, including the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons (or the Ali G), which is open 24/7. You can also choose from more traditional libraries, group work spaces, individual study spaces, as well as various computer clusters across campus. It’s about finding out what suits you and where you feel you study best.

One important thing to keep in mind whilst you begin your degree, but also throughout the duration of your studies, is that there is a wealth of support available to you whenever you may need it. Whether you require academic support from your Academic Adviser, or advice from a Peer Mentor that has been in the same position as you – or to the more emotional support from the Student Services team, it’s all there if you need it. There’s even financial support available if you get in to a sticky situation budget wise! All these services are there to really help you find your feet and make the most of your studies.

So, the last thing for me to say is – enjoy!