Surviving Your First Term and Beyond
Warwick is a great university and we hope you enjoy your time here. However, if this is your first term here and your first time living away from home and your usual support networks, here are some suggestions to help your first term go as well as possible.
The First Week and Arriving
It can be incredibly daunting arriving in a place where you don’t know anyone else but do remember that many others will be feeling the same. There are lots of people and places to get support if you are finding it hard so don’t be afraid to talk to your peers or close friends. If you are unsure who to talk to the Students’ Union Advice Centre Team is here to help you find the right support. Please remember whatever you are going through, however you feel, we will have seen it and heard it all before so no one will be shocked or sit in judgement of you. Everything is absolutely confidential so you don’t need to worry. Your worries are safe with us and we will do all we can to help you.
Below is a list of some of the other places to get help and support on Campus:
Getting Organised for the Year Ahead
- Try not to miss any meetings your department or residential tutor ask you to attend – useful information will be given and it may help you avoid making a mistake or missing something important.
- Know your timetable and the deadlines you have so you can organise your work/life balance.
- Get to know as many people as you can to maximise the chance of finding some good friends.
- Organise a budget for the events and activities you want to be involved with but try not to let finances worry you.
- Stay in touch with family and friends from back home. If some of your friends have gone to other Universities at the same time as you chat to them and compare experiences.
- Eat and drink sensibly – your physical and mental health will be affected if you don’t look after yourself.
- Don’t feel under pressure to have sex even if your friends are. You can choose to do what you want. If you do decide you want to have sex, make sure you are protected. Nightline have supplies of condoms if you need them and if you have any concerns about your sexual health go to one of the Sexual Health clinics organised by Warwick SU or visit your doctor.
- If you have a disability – Register with Disability Services to ensure you get all the support and services to help you succeed:
- If you have Mental Health difficulties contact the Mental Health & Wellbeing Team who are keen to make sure students have the advice, support and information that they need.
- Register with a doctor.
- Get to know your way round campus.
- Get involved with the Students’ Union – Check out the SU programme and attend events you are interested in – check out the Clubs and Societies Fair – there is something for everyone:.
- Make time for you! Relax, unwind and think. You don’t have to throw yourself into everything if you don’t want to. It’s ok to take things slowly at your own pace and explore everything in your own time.
Helping Others have a Great Time
- Don’t force people to do things that they are not comfortable with e.g. if they don’t want to drink don’t make them feel bad for not doing so – respect their decisions.
- Think about what you post on social media – that picture of your friend in a compromising situation might be funny now but cause your friend extreme embarrassment later on.
- Don’t bully – being bullied can have devastating effects and unforeseen consequences.
- If you see someone who looks like they need a friend, try and include them or make it easy for them to join your group.
- Practice safe consensual sex.
- Be aware of others’ mental health
Homesick, Unhappy, Lonely or Just Not Enjoying Being at University
It is not unusual to find starting somewhere new difficult. If you find you are feeling like this, then a strategy that might help is to talk to people who can help you. A starting point is the list mentioned above. Being proactive and trying to find practical strategies to help you through a difficult time will hopefully help you to feel happier and able to enjoy being at University.
However if you feel that University life is not for you or what you expected and you want to leave, we recommend that you talk to someone who can help you make the right decision for you. Places to get support on this are: your Personal Tutor, Resident Tutor, the Advice Centre Team or Student Support. Once you have got all the information you need, do talk it through with people who know you e.g. your parents, to help you avoid making a decision you might regret later.
Also mistakes happen. If you make some don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to move forward and use it as a learning experience.
Mental & Physical Health
We all need to look after our mental and physical health, so do seek help if you are unwell.
A new routine, stress and worry can cause or upset a pre-existing condition. If you are worried that you are not able to manage your condition, make sure you talk to someone about it, e.g. your doctor, Student Support, Well Being Adviser and Mental Health Team or Disability Services. If you are unsure who to talk to the SU Advice Team or the Welfare Sabbatical Officer can help signpost you to support.
Early diagnosis and support for mental health issues as with other health issues is important, so if you think you might be suffering from depression, anxiety or have other problems don’t be afraid to ask for help, see your doctor or sign up with the University Counselling Service, and try not to let it isolate you.