Don’t turn up late. That’s the first piece of advice I can give any prospective university student. You’re probably thinking ‘Well no shit, looks like this guy is full of crap’. But seriously, don’t turn up late. The earliest day you’re told you can move into university accommodation, that’s when you move in. Unfortunately, for me, this was one of those lessons you learn from your initial mistake. Why on earth is it so important a new student moves into their room as soon as possible?
Moving in late to university is the equivalent of running the 110m hurdles and only leaving the starting blocks when the rest of the field jump the first fence. Now this isn’t to say you have to arrive at 9 am on the morning you’re allowed to move into halls (although it helps), but you should be there on the day you can move in. The reasoning behind this:
Everyone has a reason to be nervous when they go to university. The vast majority of people won’t have any friends already at the university, and almost everyone will have precisely zero friends at the accommodation they’re moving into. The importance of this is that everyone is going to be nervous, including you. It’s therefore at the forefront of a new student’s mind to make a friend as quickly as possible.
“It’ll be fine, you’ll do great” Mother, in her infinite wisdom and reassuring tone said.
“Mum, I’m not nervous, I’m excited. I’m just going to have fun and let the rest follow.”
That wasn’t entirely true, perhaps completely inaccurate. Anyway, that’s how it went on my journey to university for the first time. Then I walked into the kitchen with my parents, to find my other 8 flatmates sat around the kitchen table, they’d all moved in the day before. Not the best, that. It’s pretty inconvenient for me to move in on opening day, can’t I wait a day or two?
Nope. As the above scenario should suggest to you, the pressure emplaced upon you from turning up even a day late is ten-fold. If you’re moving away from home and all your friends, it’s hard to even fathom living with eight complete strangers (or more). Make the transition as smooth as possible by not turning up when everyone else already (kind of) knows each other.
Your fellow ‘freshers’ will have sewed the first seeds of friendship on the inevitably highly intoxicated first evening of their Caribbean medical university experience (having the most generic conversations – inevitably including electrifying topics such as, but not limited to, halls of residence, hometowns, courses of study, school, and of course the gauntlet of cooking ready meals yourself), and you’ll feel like an outsider from the start. It’s much easier to get there first and have people nervously approach you, than arrive last, and queasily introduce yourself to a group.