By: Betony Brock

Hey, I’m Betony and here are few things to know about me.

I’m 25 and this year I will be starting my second year of Speech and Language Therapy at Plymouth Marjon University. In my first year, I lived in the village (similar to halls but smaller – you share with 3-4 people – and it’s quieter) rather than halls.

So why didn’t I live in halls? I thought about it lots; everyone says it’s great to meet and live with more people and really good if you like going out! However, I’m not a massive party person, preferring more chilled evenings, so I chose to live in the quieter part of campus, which was a great decision for me. I was still able to go on nights out with my friends and housemates but had the benefit of living somewhere quieter where I could chill with a movie in the evening (or spend it writing essays – I was definitely not going to this leave until the last minute again!) In fact, I loved it so much that I’m living in the village this year too!

Moving day is never as bad as you think it’s going to be! You just need to turn up at your designated time, collect your keys, unload your stuff from the car and then unpack. It really is as easy as that!

A few tips for move-in day: make sure any documents or ID that you need to pick up your keys are accessible; pack everything into bags or boxes – most universities only give you a certain amount of time to unpack and you don’t want to be the one running frantically to and fro with armfuls of stuff. And finally, sort and pack everything into ‘rooms’, this makes it super easy to sort out as all the kitchen items will be together and you won’t be missing your cereal bowl for weeks as you had packed it with your socks!

In your first year you will probably pack too much – everyone does – and to be honest, I probably will again this year. I’m a prolific over-packer. If you are going to over-pack, bring some things from home like a teddy, a rug or a cushion so not everything is new. This will help make your uni room feel more homely. I definitely recommend bringing a blanket as I used to get cold sitting at my desk after a few hours. It can also be used for movie nights and building forts…

So, settling into university takes time and it won’t happen overnight. I found it difficult at first as you need to adapt to a new routine, find ways to fill your time, get to know the people you live with and those who are on your course. It is okay to take your time. I probably didn’t feel completely settled until about month or so passed.

Despite lots of advice saying you shouldn’t go home for the first month, I did go home and met up with my family and friends. Because of that I felt significantly happier. The best advice I can give any fresher is to do what feels right for you. It can often feel like there is a lot of pressure to make friends in those first few weeks, but you are going to spend the next few years making friends with other people in the uni – and there is no expiration date for when you can make your friends by!

Finally, here are some top tips to do in the first few weeks: get to know the people you live with and some of those on your course; take time for yourself so you don’t have a total burnout from exhaustion; find out how to use the library and any other facilities (like the laundry); find your closest (and cheapest) supermarket and try to get into a routine as the further into the year you get the busier you will be.

In my spare time, I have also been writing my own blog. If you’d like to read more about my time at uni, why not pop over and check it out?

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