5 min read

Max, a postgraduate student studying International Relations, shares his tips for your first weeks at University to help you settle in.

Lots of people feel very differently about their first few weeks at University. For some people arriving in a new city, meeting new people and starting a new course feels like the most natural thing in the world. But for other people a new start can feel pretty scary. As someone who felt exactly this way before starting university I want to share some tips that will help you to settle quickly in your exciting new home by the sea.

Tip 1 – Bring a doorstop!

For many of you moving into accommodation or halls of residence, you will soon be living with a new group of people. Of course at first your new flatmates will be strangers but they don’t need to stay that way. One of the best ways to meet people is to sit in the communal areas, such as kitchens, common rooms and gardens and say hi to everyone you meet to break the ice. However, to make sure you meet everyone, when you’re relaxing in your room use a doorstop to keep your door open while you are in there, this way people will be more likely to pop in to say hi and you can meet them in a more relaxed way.

Tip 2 – Say Yes!

Lots of people use the word ‘overwhelming’ to describe their first few weeks at university, but this is often a positive. In your first few weeks at university you will receive so many different invitations. There are university socials, course socials, sports trials, impromptu ice-creams at Gelatos and surprise fish and chip picnics on Southsea common. My advice, as far as your academic schedule allows, is to say yes to as much as you can! Your first few weeks at university are such an exciting time and a fantastic opportunity to meet people and find new passions, interests and sports. Who knows by the end of your first month at university you could be playing sport for the university or learning a new language.

Tip 3 – Get to know Portsmouth early!

Portsmouth is a beautiful sea-side city with lots of history. However, in the UK our autumn gets cold pretty quickly. But on a warm September day there aren’t many better places than Southsea Common. Whilst it's warm (and dry!) get out and explore. There are lots of free places to go, wander around Southsea Castle and follow in the footsteps of Henry VIII, window-shop in Gunwharf Quays and take in the atmosphere and stroll around the University’s very walkable campus, taking in your new home for the next three years. The best remedy for homesickness is to fall in love with your new home and on a sunny autumn day Portsmouth is a wonderful place to be.

Tip 4 – Use the Library resources. 

That first assignment comes quickly, so perhaps the best advice for your grades is to get to know your library. The University Library website has great information on how to find exactly what you’re looking for and I thoroughly recommend making a few trips to the library to get to grips with the Library system, which will help you to hit the ground running with your first essays. The library is at the heart of Portsmouth’s campus and also has a lovely coffee shop on the ground floor and is near the Student Union building so is a great base for a day of exploring the University.