Change can be overwhelming, even when it is positive. Find out how to handle it and where you can get support if you need it.
Understanding and preparing for how these changes might affect you can help you to cope. They may leave you feeling lonely or thinking that you don't know what to do. It's important to understand that this is a normal way to feel, and you shouldn't give up because of it.
This is especially important if you start to settle in and then feel like you are moving backwards. This can seem like a sign that you will never be able to fully adjust to change, but it's actually very common. In fact, research has found that many students feel this way. It's so common that it's been given a name: the 'W-curve'.
None of these situations will necessarily match up perfectly to experience of change at university. But whatever you are feeling, you won't be alone.
You may not feel comfortable talking to other students about how you are feeling, especially when you first arrive. This doesn't mean you are on your own: there are lots of other people you can talk to, including services you can speak to confidentially and anonymously.
Most universities have a designated care leavers' contact who you can get in touch with about any problems you have. They can also help you to find other sources of support, whether that's about finance, accommodation, health or mental health.
Most universities also offer free counselling to their students, which are confidential. You should be able to find out more about this by looking on the university's website, or by contacting the student services department.
You don't have to talk to someone face-to-face to get support. You can also find support online or over the phone. Many universities have a Nightline. This is a phone number you can call at night if you need somebody to talk to, when other services may be closed and friends or family may be asleep. Nightlines are confidential and anonymous, so you don't even have to give your name, and there is often an often to chat online instead of calling.
Think about some of the things you find relaxing or comforting, whether it's reading, your favourite feel good movie/TV show or music. If you're very busy, it's easy not to give yourself time to do these things, so set aside some time every day that you will spend on yourself.
The people you meet in your first week may not always become your main friendship group at university; be open to new activities and experiences and find people that are supportive and make you feel positive.
Likewise if you are finding the new style of lectures or living independently difficult remember that these are big changes and there will always be an adjustment period. Give yourself a break and know its ok to ask for help if you need it. Speak to friends, people on your course or even your course tutor and you can also access specific support for care leavers. (we could include the link to article on support at university.)