Settling in a new place is never an easy thing, and for a lot of us, moving away from home and trying to adjust to a new learning environment is challenging. When I looked back to the time I first came to Plymouth, I was as nervous as an eight week old hamster that had just left the pet shop for the first time. So, if you are feeling the same as me (not the hamster), I can certainly understand that. Which is why I am going to share a few things with you, and hopefully, it gives you some ideas how to make the University of Plymouth, the city and its surrounding like a new home to you.
Get to know the people that you live with is a good starting point. It might seem scary at the beginning; the thought of living with someone that you have never met before can be daunting. However, the truth is, that they are probably feeling the same. So why not do something together, such as shopping, making a meal or go to a local pub where you can have a chat. Everyone has an interesting and unique story to tell; I was fascinated by the stuff that my housemates have done in the past. Years gone by, some of them have become my closest friends.
Everyone has something that they enjoy doing. When I first came, I was into drama and wanted to learn how to run a project. So, I joined the Musical Theatre Group at the University. I joined as a member and eventually became the Vice-Chair of the committee, a role which oversaw the operation for the end of year production ‘Grease’. I had a wonderful time with all the responsibilities - the production was a success and was eventually awarded by the University of Plymouth Students’ Union (UPSU) as the best event of the year.
I am still very proud of what I and everyone else from the society have achieved and it's certainly something that stands out from my CV when it comes to job applications. On the other hand, drama and music may not be your thing and that’s okay! UPSU has over a hundred sports clubs and societies for you to choose from (such as football, rugby, netball and hockey, dance, baking, subject specific societies or fan base society such as Harry Potter). If you cannot find one that meet your interest, you can start one of your own and the UPSU will support you as well.
If you want some quiet time and simply take it all in, there are plenty of places that you can explore, such as Saltram (National Trust) where you can watch the beautiful sunsets. You can venture out to the Cornish beaches in Newquay or Falmouth, or you can visit one of the biggest national parks in UK, Dartmoor, to see the beauty of the natural environment. All of which are just within reach and you can do it on your own or with a group of new friends.
These are just some of the things that I have tried in the past and found them particularly useful and of course, you might have other ideas which are equally great. The trick is not to put too much pressure on yourself, there isn’t a set time period that you have to settle in by, everyone is different. Just remember that there is plenty of support within the University for you, even just for someone to hear you out or to offer practical supports, talk to the UPSU or your personal tutor for anything that concerns you.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller