Iulia Iliescu is from Bucharest in Romania and is in her first year at Teesside studying MA Creative Writing. The first year at any new university can be a daunting prospect. Iulia talks about the things she did to make it through that first year.

As someone who has just started their first year of university you probably feel both excited and anxious, optimistic and worried and it’s perfectly normal. The first steps are always the hardest and the transition from college to university is never easy. You are about to start a new adventure in your life, so we decided to give you a few tips to help you enjoy every minute of it.

  • Make the best out of the fresher’s week. As the name suggests, the fresher’s week is designed to help every first-year student adjust to university life. During this week you will get to meet your teachers and colleagues, learn about your course and the university’s facilities, get used to the campus, learn about all the societies and clubs that might interest you, go on some trips around the area, go on your first uni parties and get lots of free things. What better way to start uni?


  • Give yourself some time to breathe. The first week is always a busy one. You will be bombarded with information from all directions and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed afterwards. So give yourself one or more days to put your thoughts in order and look over the things you’ve learned. Ask questions or look for advice if you need to.


  • Be active. Getting involved in a club or society is the best way not only to meet people and make friends, but also to improve your skills or start a new hobby. If you can’t find what you are looking for why don’t you make your own society? Applying to a job is also something that can help you with these things and the money you will earn from it will give you some financial independence. Both of these options will offer you some memorable and useful experience for the future.



  • Keep in touch with your old friends and family. Homesickness is something nobody can escape and the best cure for it is to talk to your loved ones. So have a Skype conference with your best friends, stay on the phone with your parents, send your siblings annoying messages and if you have the possibility, why not visit your home town once in awhile?


  • Bond with your housemates. At the end of the day, these are the people you will live with for the rest of the year so getting to know each other and learning how to get along is essential. So don’t be shy, get out of your room, get them out of their rooms and do something together, maybe cook, watch a movie, play a board game or go on a day trip around the area.


  • Don’t neglect your studies: During the first year, it’s easy to get so busy with social activities that you forget about your studies. However, you are called a student for a reason. It’s true that the first year does not count for your overall degree, but it only gets harder from here. The best way to make sure you will cope with the second and third year is to work hard from the first one. So go to your lectures and seminars, don’t leave your assignments for the last night before the deadline and do what you came here to do. Believe me, you will thank yourself later.


  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many people in the university whose job is to answer your questions. Your teachers are the best to ask something related to your course, but they are not the only ones. There are library sessions to help you with your assignments. There is a career service to guide you when you are looking for a job or need help with your CV. There is a counseling service for when you feel overwhelmed. You will also have a personal tutor who will help you with whatever question you have and will guide you where to seek more assistance. All these people know what you are going through, and they will be more than happy to help you have a wonderful experience as a university student.