Moving to Uni

Moving away from home for the first time can be very scary, especially if you also happen to be moving to a different country. It might feel like a big leap into the unknown, but I hope to make it a little less so in this post.

So I thought I’d share my experience of moving away and starting my life at Uni of Surrey.

The day I moved into my campus accommodation (almost two years ago now), there were lots of student helpers dotted around to welcome everyone and help us navigate the maze that campus feels like at first. I picked my keys up in the building on the main Piazza, then snaked around campus and eventually found my room – everything is signposted.

Everyone was moving in at around the same time, so it was a frenzy of suitcases, pots and pans, slightly intimidated new students, and parents. And then all of a sudden, you’re alone. It felt very strange at first. But looking around, I saw that everyone was in the same boat. Here were thirteen other complete strangers hovering around in the kitchen not quite knowing what to do or think, like me.

But as the week went by, we soon started to get used to our new life, and we got to know each other a little. I found that being in halls was great for socialising and making friends. You will most likely be surrounded by lots of people, so you won’t be alone.

My room felt very bare and impersonal at first, but as soon as I started unpacking it felt more like home – I’d brought some pictures to hang and some books etc from home, and that made a big difference. I think it’s really important to make your room feel like home because that’s the only ‘private’ space you will have for the year – the kitchen being shared.

To this purpose, during Fresher’s week, there are stalls selling posters and there is also a house plant sale.

The week following my move, I had to complete Registration at Uni Hall, where I was given my student card. You might also have a few introductory sessions with your course leader during welcome week (we do at GSA), but lessons only properly start the following week, so there is an entire week of events, nights out and more to get to know people.

Joining the Facebook Fresher’s group for your course – if there is one – is great, because you’ll get to meet some course mates and get to know them a bit before starting your course.

During Welcome week, there is also the Fresher’s fair, where all the Uni’s Societies have a stall, held by enthusiastic students trying to recruit new members. There are so many societies, and it’s great to be able to try things out – most societies have free taster sessions during fresher’s week, and if you then want to join any, the memberships are usually very affordable.

I quite unexpectedly joined the Ballroom and Latin dance society, and it ended up becoming a big part of my first year at uni. We had two brilliant professional coaches teaching us, and the society was run by lovely people. I made lots of friends, and we had many socials and events and bar crawls during the year.

I went to a lot of the competitions throughout the year across the UK, in Bath, Southampton and all the way up to Blackpool too. They were so much fun.

Societies are a great way of making friends and being part of a little community. And I find it’s also really nice to be able to do something that has nothing to do with your course.

Despite all the events held during Fresher’s, that first week at uni can still feel very strange and lonely. It takes time to get to know the campus, the town, the people and all the references and little bits of cultural things that – despite being English – I was unaware of, because I’d never lived in England before.

But then, my course started, and I was off. And very quickly Guildford started to feel like home. I got a job at a pub, which also helped. And after about three weeks only, I felt myself really starting to settle, which in the grand scheme of things, is not very long at all.

I hope this has been useful, and that your move to Uni goes smoothly,

Audrey x