Five steps to settling in to student-life

We know how big of a deal moving to university is - from meeting future friends for life, to learning how to wash your clothes and realising just how expensive cheese is. We also know that you have plenty of time over Summer to look forward to your future at university as well as worry whether you’re going to be okay once your parents leave.

So to help you prepare for your new life at uni we've got a five-step guide that will help you feel at home before you know it.

Five steps to settling in to university

1. Moving in

Moving in day is exciting but can also be terrifying. One minute your parents are fussing over which draw your putting your cutlery in, and the next they’re gone and it starts to get very real. But it doesn’t have to be that scary. There are plenty of people on hand to help you move all of your stuff, no matter how much you bring. Then once the big goodbye is out the way - which in truth your parents will find tougher than you - it’s onto making friends. It’s something everyone stresses about at least once, but everyone is in the same boat.

Jay, a psychology student, has gone through the whole process before:

'I am really worried about making friends. What happens if I don’t get on with my flatmates?'

"This is unquestionably the first and most worrying issue at the start of a very exciting journey. But try not to worry. Just like high school, the chances are you’ll meet your new best friend in your first few seconds of moving in."

2. Welcome Week

Welcome Week is a chance for all new students to have a fun-filled week to really help you settle in. The Students’ Union host a range of activities and events, day and night, to help you hit the university ground running. There’ll be the big ‘Welcome Fair’ event, where you will be able to sign up to societies and speak to current and new students, get discounts from shops and places to eat in town, and not to mention get free slices of pizza!

Involve yourself in as much of Welcome Week as you can. Signing up to a sports team or a society is a great chance to meet new people and get stuck into uni life away from the lecture theatre or classroom.

Get a free university checklist

Download our free checklist to make sure you don't forget any essentials.

3. Learning the lingo

An often unspoken part of starting university can be getting to grips with all the new language everyone is coming out with. Unlike high school, there are no headteachers or assemblies. Here’s a breakdown of six sayings you may hear in your first few weeks.

Seminar: Group teaching where you’ll spend time with your lecturer and other students discussing work and topics, quite often occurring after a lecture to help talk the topic through in more detail. They are similar to regular classes in high school.

Bachelor degree: The name of the degree awarded to someone who has completed and passed their undergraduate course, usually lasting three to four years.

Vice Chancellor: Similar to a headteacher. The Vice Chancellor oversees the university, and is the person in charge. The Chancellor of the university is seen as a ‘non-resident’ ceremonial head. At many Universities it’s the city’s lord mayor or a local figure head. Here at Birmingham City University Sir Lenny Henry is our Chancellor.

Dean: The school Dean oversees the academic and administrative duties of their school or faculty. Similar (although not entirely the same) to a head of subject at high school.

Harvard Referencing system: A citation style used by universities which attributes work, quotes and theories to their authors. This will be explained in detail during the first few weeks of your classes and is something most students wrestle with for the duration of university.

Semester: Some universities divide the academic year into two blocks of studies which are named semesters. Similar to ‘terms’ at high school. the first one usually stretches from September to Christmas and the second from January till May, although these do vary. 

4. Budgeting

Budgeting is something everyone can struggle with, especially at university where it’s quite often the first time you will have had to pay your own rent and buy your own food. It may not sound that bad, but you’ll soon be feeling the pain of deciding whether you should go out or buy some washing powder. Everyone deals with budgeting differently and only you know and can decide how much money you have to spend on what. But Law student Anu has picked out some three great cheats for saving money as a uni student.

1

"Make sure you plan your shopping trips and don't spend on impulse; get a NUS Extra card - it’s the best thing ever! You can get exclusive offers and discounts on a number of brands. Just visit the Students’ Union to get your card."

2

"You don’t have to buy new books, get the used ones - it’s the same text anyway! Also ask yourself, can you check out that book from the library before buying?"

3

"Get a 16-25 railcard to save money on rail fares, it will make your life easier."

 

If you’re still struggling then you can turn to weekend work, which lots of our students do, some even working two jobs at once. Here at BCU we have ‘OpportUNIty’, which enables you to work and gain valuable experience while you study with us. The scheme gives you the chance to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University, allowing you to fit the job around your course commitments. You’ll boost and enhance your CV and the pay isn’t too bad either.

5. Getting stuck in

With the four points above and with most other things at university the way to really have a good time and to get the most out of your time is to fully get stuck in. You don’t have to do everything here, but know what you like to do and enjoy now and continue to do it at uni. There really will be something for everyone.