Eight tips to keep in mind when moving to university

By a student who moved countries twice and lived in six different cities.

“New month, new home, new start, new intentions, new goals, new light, and new beginnings.”

Summer is over and it’s time to start a new chapter in your life and move to another city. Moving cities can be scary and nerve-wracking, but it’s also super exciting and allows you to truly find yourself. Following a few simple tips can help you settle down faster and feel more relaxed in your new student accommodation.

“New month, new home, new start, new intentions, new goals, new light, and new beginnings.”

1. Saying Goodbye
No matter what, this is by far the hardest part of moving away. Saying goodbye to loved ones is always a hard step, but it has to be done. Don’t ignore the fact you are moving because it may upset you. Talk to friends and family about it. Tell them about your excitement or the things that worry you. It’s important to let people in and share your concerns, as those closest to you are there to help and support. Plan days out before the move to make new and happy memories with everyone, which you can look back on fondly.

Feel whatever you are feeling. Don’t try to bottle up any anxiety or stress or put on a brave face when you’re around friends and family. Be real with your emotions. If you know you will miss certain things, say that or find time to do them with people. Running away from emotions is a temporary solution. They’ll catch up with you in your new place and then you may find yourself with fewer shoulders to cry on.

2. Stay in touch with friends and family
Just because you moved to another city and want to meet new people, maybe even reinvent yourself, doesn’t mean you need to cut everyone out from your last home. It’s always nice talking to friends about past memories or planning trips to see each other again. They can often be there to support and encourage you, so it’s important to stay in touch no matter where in the world you are.

3. Hobbies
There is no better way to meet like-minded people than to get active in your favourite hobby or to take up a new one. From fitness classes to museum visits, you are bound to meet someone who shares the same interests and whom you can connect with. Inform yourself about societies and what your university has to offer. This will allow you to meet more people from different courses.

4. Make your home yours
One thing that is very important for me is to decorate my home in my style, because adding my personal touches gives me that little feeling of being home. There is no better feeling than to come home after work to student accommodation that is decorated in your personal style. Adding personality to your home is so much more important than one may think – always make time to decorate your new place. I know university rooms can be very plain, so add some pictures or flowers, or put a poster on the door. It will make you feel more at home.

5. Take Initiative
Staying at home, watching TV and having a takeaway is not the way to meet new people. Go out and grab every opportunity you get! Eat your lunch in a public place or go out in the evening and read a book in the park.
Take the initiative and start a conversation with the person next to you, as you never know – that person may end up becoming your lunch buddy. Ask course friends if they fancy going for a drink or a coffee afterwards, or if they ask you, don’t say no! If it feels right, go with them! Making and having friends is another step towards feeling more comfortable in a new city.

6. Don’t Stress
Don’t expect to meet new people straight away. You will probably have a few evenings by yourself in your student accommodation, and that is perfectly okay. Setting your expectations too high in those early days won’t help you settle in and feel relaxed. It always takes a few weeks or months to settle into a new home, city or country; give it some time and don’t try to force it. Having a positive attitude always helps.

7. You get to know yourself better
Nothing is more frightening than leaving your childhood friends and family behind to move to a new place, but that is also the best time to get to know yourself best. No influences from your best friends, family members or the societal surroundings; it’s the time to find out who you are and what you want in your life and maybe even reflect on who you are as a person.

8. You start to wonder where home is
When moving to another place in your 20s, life becomes real. The teenager period is ending and adult life starts. There are so many changes happening in our heads and minds, so many questions arise and suddenly there we are asking ourselves what the meaning of life is! Why were we born and what are we here to do?
Nobody except ourselves can answer those questions. Even our parents can’t help us with this – we have to find out ourselves what we are good at and what our true passions are. They say home is where the heart is, but where is my heart? The place I was born and raised and still truly love to this day, or the new country/city, that challenges me on a daily basis?

Falling in love with a place is like falling in love with a person. It becomes your new love affair.

“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg.

Shelley Anne Morecroft

Aston University, Birmingham