As many of our adoptees grow older, we have continued to provide for adoptees’ needs with the events we put on. The most recent was our Q&A session, featuring Kate and Phoebe, about ‘Going to uni’.
We’ve rounded up the best advice and put together an easy-to-understand guide.
Your first day
So, what to expect from your first day? First days are a big deal. I’m sure even the strongest willed among us will feel a range of emotions and nerves, but hey, everyone’s in the same boat, so don’t be afraid to reach out to flatmates. That can be eating dinner, cooking together, watching a movie etc.
As well as this, don’t forget to jump right into things! Your student years are where many unforgettable memories and experiences are made, not to mention friendships. Doing this can not only take your mind off problems, but also give you access to some unbelievable opportunities.
Mould on the wall, silverfish everywhere… These are just a few stereotypes surrounding student accommodation. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Quality doesn’t often equal high prices, with a variety of student accommodation for all budget types. What’s more, many flatmates in the same price bracket will usually share a similar mindset or mentality. Facebook groups can be a godsend in terms of finding and talking to flatmates. But don’t worry if that isn’t up your street; sometimes it’s nicer to have those first conversations in person!
Don’t forget – take photos of everything! It will help you if there is difficulty in getting your deposit back. Given the unique circumstances of this academic year, you might have decided to stay at home and learn remotely. Or you may have decided to live on campus. Whatever your choice, make sure you know how easy/hard it will be to get a refund, or leave BEFORE you move in. Some landlords are more understanding but be aware that different unis have different policies, as goes for private accommodation.
The first mistake to make is packing too much or making unnecessary purchases. After all, you’ll have limited storage, so save lugging it all back and forward (“Mum and/or dad will thank you!”). Essentials include photo collages, a dressing gown (for those pesky late-night fire alarms!), shower shoes/bag, and a mattress topper.
Cooking as a student doesn’t have to mean living on beans on toast. Going shopping as a flat can really help but go to big shops (ie Aldi and Lidl to find the best deals). Student cookbooks such as Nosh provide easy recipes with an estimated budget. Of course, never go shopping whilst hungry!
Possibly one of the big excitements of university are the wealth of societies on offer. Despite what online format this might take place, events are still a great way to meet new people and make friends. However, one of the biggest mistakes is signing up to absolutely everything.
Pinpoint a few key ones that you feel you’d be invested in, that way you can gain a lot from them. Furthermore, choosing only a few societies means less spammy emails.
Current circumstances mean that learning has had to take a different form. The most important thing would be to manage your time well. As attention spans wane, it’s important to take regular breaks to make sure that information is not lost (try the Pomodoro technique). Time management will be a key skill that you will have to develop to make sure to set yourself goals as you go. If you need support, do not hesitate to get in touch – be it your SU, tutors, personal tutors. You are paying for it and it’s their job, so don’t feel intimidated!
I’m sure we’ve all been there. The hesitant looks on people’s faces, the slightly awkward questioning of ‘Where are you from’ (and the way that we ALL know what they’re on about, no matter how politely they might try) But when is the right time to tell people you’re adopted? After all, flatmates or course mates won’t just be in your life for one day.
As it happens, you don’t have to if you don’t want to! The choice is completely and utterly up to you! Universities are so diverse, attracting so many people from all walks of life that often people don’t even notice. What’s more, the wider variety of people often means greater possibility to meet other adoptees-maybe even from the same country as you!
Finally, don’t be afraid to go out there and explore. Stay updated on any local lockdown rules, but remember to enjoy your time as a student – you’re only a student once! Make friends, make memories but most importantly, look after yourself and stay safe.