University is probably the first time that you've had to take control of every aspect of your life - from studying and budgeting, to cooking and keeping yourself healthy. It's natural to try to freestyle it and just see how it goes.
However, creating a routine and a balanced plan for your week is the most effective way of staying stress and anxiety free at uni. It will help you to avoid getting overwhelmed and you won't fall short of your university goals.
Here are five ways to help you thrive at uni.
1. Get your head around your new timetable
Start with the basics. With Freshers' Week over it's time to settle into your new timetable. Being proactive about managing your time around lectures and feeling in control of your new life is the simplest way to feel like you're owning the uni experience. When we feel in control our whole mindset shifts, we feel stronger and more optimistic about the future, and we feel more confident in ourselves and our abilities.
Plan in time for travelling on and off campus, study time to rocket through that super-long reading list, and time to meal-prep for the week. It's also important to allocate time for the things you love, whether that's going to the gym or spending a couple of evenings with your new mates from the student society you just joined.
2. Plan ahead
Planning on the fly means you have to use guesswork throughout the day. If you have created a daily routine around your timetable in advance, you can literally get up and go. Rather than floating around uni in an unhealthy mess of procrastination, you'll make the most of being on campus, heading straight to the library to crack on with that assignment you've just been set.
Make sure you plan time to do nothing too. Carving out time to catch up with mates, go to the cinema or read your book means you won't feel guilty about taking time out to relax after a busy day.
3. Make sure you eat
It's easy to skip meals and snack when no one is cooking for you or filling the fridge with your favourite food. But our wellbeing is directly affected by the way we look after ourselves physically, and what you put into your body, you'll get back in energy and focus. Remember, you wouldn't put diesel in a petrol car and expect it to drive, would you? Not eating enough balanced meals throughout the day can trigger crashing blood-sugar levels, and this will only feed nerves. When you're conscious of wanting to be on your A-game, the last thing you want is to feel worried or anxious.
4. Staying well
There's no sure-fire way to avoid Freshers' Flu but looking after yourself can strengthen your immunity. Sleep should be an important part of your routine. Make sure you pack some earplugs, because a good night's sleep will help your body to stay well. If you're burning the candle at both ends, you need to plan in some napping time as part of your daily routine.
5. Balance your books
If you end up staying on campus for a full four days a week unplanned, that's four lunches and a few take-away coffees that could set you back an extra twenty quid you hadn't budgeted for. Having a planned routine that considers your budget will help you eliminate stress about your cash-flow.
Making lunches in bulk will save you a wad of cash over your first semester, leaving you with extra dosh to spend on the fun stuff, including socialising, shopping and travelling to see your mates and family.