For some, going away to university may be the first time they find themselves navigating the world on their own; away from the support of their parents, expected to be truly independent. While this change can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming. If a student has no prior experience living on their own, it can feel as though they’ve been thrown into the deep end of a pool and told that they must learn to swim while they’re drowning. That being said, there are instructors and lifeguards on duty, available to help if students know where to look.
1. Find out about Student Services
When starting out in a new environment away from home, it is important to find out about the services and resources available. Where is the closest medical centre, what if I need a dentist, what support can I access on campus and is there anyone I can talk to about how I’m feeling.
2. Meet people
Creating connections with other students is another great way to form a healthy support system while away from home. Although this can be challenging for students in a completely new social environment. One way to get around this is by joining a club. Universities have an abundance of choices when it comes to clubs/orgs, making it easy for students to find one that speaks to them and allows them to meet other people with similar interests. Social media groups are also a great means to meet new people and form new connections.
Alternatively, there are community organisations that are always looking for volunteers, why not join the local coral society, Oz Harvest are always looking for volunteers and the Student Hub is an excellent way to meet new people.
3. Get organised
Time management is the greatest challenge that students face on campus. One way to ease this pressure and in turn reduce stress is by staying organised. Staying on top of classes, assignments, social engagements, personal responsibilities etc., and scheduling the week accordingly will make campus life so much easier in the long term. Get a diary, use your digital devices, download a study app, start a study group. Plan Plan Plan
4. Take Responsibility for Yourself
When we talk about taking responsibility or accountability for oneself, we often think of no longer making excuses for poor results or missed appointments. But on a more basic level, taking responsibility for oneself is as simple as eating right, exercising regularly, doing laundry, washing the dishes, etc. These are basic life-skills that may have been overlooked if one’s parents previously did these things for him/her.
5. Take a Break
While being organized and working hard to do well in school is important, one must not forget that life is about balance. Remember to take a break and recharge. About a third of students in their first year drop out, stress usually being an underlying reason for their leaving. If a student is doing well in school, but struggling with so many mental health issues brought on by stress that they end up leaving and not completing their studies, results cease to matter. Put simply:
- Sleep more than you study
- Study more than you party
- Party as much as you can