Five tips for settling into university

unsettled young woman on her ownStarting university is a big step, it is exciting but it can take a while to feel settled and that’s at the best of times. For now, with a restricted social life, it could take a little longer to find your tribe.
Here are our top five tips for settling in at university this semester:
1. Webcam on
Turn your webcam on. It’s easier to understand people online when you can see one another’s body language. Plus you’ll recognise them in real-life too. It might feel weird the first time but that will pass. Do it and you’ll make connections.
2. Talk about it
Joe, Deputy President of Marjon Student Union, suggests:
“If you’re feeling unsettled make sure to reach out to others, whether this is course mates, flat mates or anyone else you might have met. A quick catch up about how you’re doing can do a world of good.”
It’s normal to have worries, especially in these extraordinary times. If you’re feeling low then talk about it with a flat mate, friend or staff member. Do it sooner rather than later, don’t let it build up.
The Listening Post is an online peer support service for Marjon students. Use it to chat to student volunteers, either one-to-one or in groups, or to get signposted to other support. 
3. Get involved in a club or society
We’ve got a wide range of clubs and societies, great for meeting like-minded people. Lauren, from Marjon Sports Federation, encourages all students to give sport a go at Marjon, saying:
“Sport can form a large part of life for many students, and we encourage all to get involved at a level that suits them. Whether you have always played sport, want to coach a team, or want to try something new, there is something for everyone! Being a part of a club can help you make new friends, increase your confidence, and improve your mental/physical health. While some sports have been modified to coincide with Covid-19 guidelines one thing remains the same, you will always feel part of the Marjon family and be welcomed with open (and socially distanced) arms.”
4. Watch your media influences
Lyn from Student Support says that stories from the wider world can influence the way you are feeling at any one time. She suggests:
“Focus on what is in the sphere of your control – you can’t control some things but you can control your reaction to them. Look out for media stories that only have a semblance of truth to them. Limit the amount of news you watch if that helps.”
5. Access university support services
There is lots of support here at Marjon. Back to Joe, who says:
“We’re here in the Student Union office and online. Please do drop us a message or email if you want to talk or have any questions. We’ve both [Joe and Lauren] been here for years and can give you a student perspective on it all.”
The Student Support and Wellbeing team offer a host of services to help you through a tricky time. These cover mental health, disabilities, academic assignments, financial issues and much more. Resident Life Co-ordinators Matt and Sophie advise students on adjusting to life away from home and help first time flat mates to live in harmony. Not sure about something? Ask the Resident Student Assistant (RSA) in your accommodation. They are returning students who have both the experience and training to help you.
The Chapel, dubbed ‘the heart of the university’, is a calm space. Chaplains Michelle and Claire welcome students of all faiths and none; always with acceptance, warmth, and usually a cuppa too.
If you’re new then seize any opportunities to get involved and reach out for help whenever you need it. Marjon students say it feels like you know everyone here. Before long you’ll feel it too.

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