Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Finding your feet

Settling in

Picture the scene. You’ve arrived at Chester on move-in Sunday and your parents or friends have helped you to move various quantities of boxes and suitcases and carrier bags full of your belongings into your new place. You’ve started to make your room ‘yours’ by putting up personal touches such as photographs, posters, a throw on the bed, etc. You’ve been taken to the supermarket to stock up on the essentials, and you’ve waved goodbye to your family/friends as they head back for the motorway…

Now what? 

Naturally, we hope that every student settles into the Chester stride seamlessly, gets to grips with the campus, starts to meet people from their accommodation and course, and everything is hunky-dory.

However, some new students might find it a little trickier to acclimatise to university life; including the routine, the new place, new people… it’s a lot to take in. It’s only natural for a little uncertainty or homesickness to set in. Nothing to be embarrassed about at all.

It’s important to be aware that there is always somebody you can speak to at the University. Aside from the more ‘structured’ activities, we also have more informal drop-in or ‘triage’ sessions to help you get into the swing of things. All this gives you the best possible chance of getting off to a good start with your academic career at the University of Chester.

The first week and Induction

Within the next few months, you’ll be sent a Guide for New Students with a list of various activities being run by a range of departments.  The first week can seem a little manic, so ensure you have this guide at hand during Induction Week so you know where you need to be at various stages throughout the week.  These events provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and learn a bit more about the various social scenes that the University of Chester has to offer.

If you are living in University owned accommodation, you’ll also get to meet your Hall Warden in the first week.  Hall Wardens are current students who are interested in making your experience in Halls as good as possible. While the title might suggest that they mainly deal with accommodation queries, Hall Wardens have been there and done it, so can completely empathise with the settling-in process.

Get involved

After Induction Week, there’s loads of stuff to get involved with that will enable you to make tons of new friends.  In particular, Chester is renowned for its volunteering scheme.  And if you’re not sure if volunteering is for you, think again.  There are oodles of awesome volunteering opportunities and for each of these placements, you’ll be advised and supported by our team of volunteering experts.  This team are particularly useful if you’re looking for a placement that will enable you to develop some transferable skills.

Past volunteering opportunities have included working with Childline, the Citizens Advice Bureau, British Waterways, Green Chester… there’s literally something for everyone, whatever your interests and whatever your experience.

Look out for more information on the volunteering scheme at the Freshers’ Fair in September.

Your welfare

If you find yourself struggling to adapt to uni life, our welfare team are always at hand to help.  We now have a brilliant scheme called u.n.i. that brings together student volunteers and welfare staff on a weekly basis, usually Wednesdays at 2.00pm.  Every student volunteer involved with u.n.i. has experienced the ups-and-downs of first-year life, so they’re extremely well-placed to offer assistance.  You can, of course, speak to the welfare team confidentially outside of this initiative, but this gives you an opportunity to meet other students who have also struggled to settle in, whilst gaining the advice and support of the team.  We also organise a number of social events which you can find out more about on our Facebook page.

Remember, remember… 

Feeling homesick, or a little uncertain of your surroundings, and how to get to grips with Uni life isn’t uncommon. The University of Chester have a number of initiatives in place to help if you feel that you’d like a bit of support.

Please just come and speak to any of our team members in Student Support and Guidance and we’ll always do our best to help. University is a great experience, and we’re here to lend whatever assistance we can.

Have a great summer and all the best with any results you might be receiving soon!


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