First Day Nerves: Starting at University

It’s only natural to feel nervous when you’re starting at university. It’s one of the biggest life changes you’re likely to have gone through at that point, and far more revolution that evolution. Unless you’re lucky with the places you’ve applied to, you’re likely not going to the network of friends you’ve built up through your childhood and teenage years. This is an opportunity, of course, a chance to cast off your history and reinvent yourself as someone new, but it’s also a challenge and you’re entitled to feel some anxiety about it.

Today we’re taking a look at a few hints for overcoming those first days nerves, and making your start at university full of confidence, whether you’re studying in Edinburgh, moving into rooms at Cambridge or Sheffield Hallam accommodation for students.


You’re going to meet a lot of people and make a lot of small talk but you can ready yourself for this! To begin with, a lot of these conversations are going to follow the same threads – where you’re from, what you’re studying now and your A-Levels, with a detour into your gap year if applicable. Since you know what’s coming you can prepare and won’t stumble over your answers. You even have the chance to think ahead and see if there’s a snappy joke or memorable story you can weave in that makes it easy for people to remember you. Try not to pick something either too humiliating or vainglorious. If you’re trying to puff your reputation up from day one, you’re not going to find many friends, and university is a chance to shed embarrassing histories from your school days so there’s no need to bring them up again!


Don’t just bluster away though. If you bombard people with facts and stories about yourself they’re not going to want to come back and talk to you again: aim to ask as many questions as you answer, and try to learn at least a few key facts about the people you’re talking to. It makes it much easier to remember people’s names when you have facts attached to those names: Amanda by itself is hard to remember, but Amanda who’s studying politics and built her own motorbike will stick in your head and avoid awkward reintroductions later on that can scupper friendships.


The one thing you really need to do is embrace the opportunities on offer: whether that’s the opportunity to make friends with new people from all over the world, to dive in academic studies and discussions with your tutors, or join clubs and societies and explore interests you’ve never had a chance to before.

Embrace all this opportunity, embrace the inevitability of mistakes and embarrassment before you’re established and you’ll find you’ve embraced the confidence to overcome your first day nerves and make a success of university.