This year I am going to university for the first time and although I am excited and immensely looking forward to this new chapter in my life, the idea of being in charge of my own finances and living expenses, along with living in a new place alone is a bit overwhelming to say the least! When I began sorting my living arrangements, rent costs and my maintenance loan, I was really worried that I might not be able to budget well, or be able to cope if something goes wrong with my phone or laptop. However, after speaking to people I know that are or have studied at university, along with my parents and people around me, I’ve learned that being nervous or having worries about university is completely normal, as it is a huge life change to move away from home and live and study in a completely different way that may be out of your comfort zone. After reaching out for support, I now feel more well informed and more prepared.
When I was applying for university my college was very supportive and helpful in navigating and guiding me through the application system, which was so important as neither of my parents studied at university and didn’t know about UCAS which is the online university application process in the UK. During this time my parents couldn’t answer the questions I had, but it meant that I pushed myself to seek the answers I needed, which is key to independence! Asking for help and support from others doesn’t make you any less independent, it shows you’re taking the initiative to seek answers, which can never be a bad thing. I am grateful to be lucky enough to be in a position where I had easy access to information about finance and budgeting online, which I will leave a link to at the end of this article.
If you have concerns about fitting in and making friends at university, most universities have a Facebook group for current students and for people planning to study in the upcoming academic year, in which people can seek advice, talk and connect with their new possible classmates, along with people who are studying the same course but in a higher year, who you can get academic advice. On these groups people often promote and advertise job opportunities for students in the area to earn extra money alongside studying. I have personally found these groups so useful, and I would highly recommend finding out if the university you may be studying at has set up one of these groups/pages.
If you have a condition/disability that means you would benefit from extra support, most universities are usually very good at accommodating this. If you apply for disability allowance, you will revive clear information on what you are eligible for regarding support, and if you directly speak to someone who works at the university they will ensure you receive the right support you need.
Going to university for the first time and having worries, doubts and concerns is completely normal and understandable, but talking to people around you including family, friends who have been to university, teachers or advisors can put your mind at ease and help put things in place to help you excel at university. Do not hesitate to seek help and advice, the more prepared you are for university the more you will enjoy your experience! If you are starting university this year, good luck!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.