Kerry Lambourne is a third year Animal Behaviours Bsc(Hons) student. Here are her top tips on settling in and getting over homesickness:
Many of you will have never lived away from home before the move to university, but remember, it isn’t as daunting as first thought. Enjoy the entire experience and try new things that you wouldn’t otherwise participate in. The university journey is exactly that, your journey - make it your own and take your time with things.
Settling in can take time and trial and error to find something that suits your personality. You are an individual amongst others that have done and are doing the same as you are, moving to a new location. Follow our top tips and read articles from the university, the staff know where you’re coming from and can understand your concerns. Stay Calm & Succeed at Uni!
There are so many beautiful sites across Cambridge that you can visit. For example there is the River Cam, where water sports take place on a weekly basis. The Mill Road cemetery is located next to the university (see ARU map, or ask somebody) which is a stunning place filled with nature and beauty. The cemetery is a quiet space, close to university and can be used as a peaceful place for mindfulness or calming walks. And if you’re based in Chelmsford, you can take a calming stroll along the river Chelmer and enjoy the big green spaces on campus.
Find a green space
There are many parks and green spaces in Cambridge, around the corner from the university you have Flower and Blossom Street, there is a children’s park with large willow trees. There is also Parkers Piece which is great for exercise, strolls and meeting new people. Plus there are loads of great park in Chelmsford too – check out our guide.
Attend a few social events
Fresher’s is the busiest time at university, so make the most of it. Even if the events aren’t your ideal source of fun, it gets you out and mingling with other people that possibly feel the same about it as you. In which case it is a good way of meeting people with the same interests as yourself and other’s with different interests. University is an opportunity to open your mind to different views, cultures, lifestyles and people. Be kind to other students and show them your true colours first, they may be feeling out of their comfort zone and by you taking a relaxed attitude, it helps others to do the same around you.
Exercise is key to relaxing your physiological mind, it releases endorphins that calm your body and mind, which in turn soothes your soul. The Helmore Gym is great for workout advice and exercising on their equipment if you enjoy the indoor work out setting. The Kelsey Kerridge opposite Parker’s Piece also has a gym and swimming facilities. Even if you work out in your room to a YouTube fitness video, you will feel the benefits.
You are here to finish your degree and make the most of the universities’ opportunities as well as the community. If you see something that sparks your fancy, don’t ignore the thought, go and do what-ever it is that make you feel that way! Opportunities occur all the time but have a limited window for that opportunity, use the passion within you to drive your excitement out of its buried shell.
Arrange meet ups with family and friends from home or university
There is no point in sitting in your room calling your family and complaining “…you don’t like it here…”. You must make the most of it and try, try, try again if at first you don’t succeed. You will find something that works for you, even if it takes longer than you originally thought. When you speak with family or friends from back home you should arrange dates to meet and organise activities to do when you meet up. If you are planning a trip home, you could make the most of it by visiting the local areas that you may have taken for granted when living there. You could arrange for family and friends to visit you in and get outside together. Cambridge has a huge array of cafes open for business as well as free museums and walking trails, go and explore - the world is your oyster.
Advice service counselling and wellbeing service
If things do get bad, please come and visit the wonderfully friendly Advice Service (based in both Chelmsford and Cambridge). Their advisers are more than happy to discuss and provide guidance through issues you may face through your university experience.
We hope this helps you find your feet on new soil and interact with interesting new people. If you have any other questions, the university staff are more than happy to help you. Now go and explore the wonders of Anglia Ruskin University and your new city. Good luck!