Moving to college is a big change. It’s an exciting time, where you’re taking the next step in your academic career, moving away from home, and living independently for what for many will be the first time. This is naturally also nerve-wracking; it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the change to come, and all the things you might need to prepare for. But don’t worry — everyone else will be feeling the same, and you’ll all start making friends and settling in in no time! These institutions are well set-up now to help you with the transition. It’s good to have a sense of what to expect before you make the move, so here’s some advice about what that big first day will likely hold.

First and foremost, when you arrive on campus, you’ll be told where you’re living. Your first big task will be to find your dorm and unpack! This is an exciting moment, as you’ll spend your entire first year here, and many of your seminal college memories will be associated with this room. You might get an option beforehand to narrow down your accommodation options, for example if you want an en suite, or it might just be assigned by ballot. Either way, don’t overthink — wherever you get placed, you’ll come to love it, and if there’s a particular problem that you find with it, you can always speak to your accommodation manager to sort it out.

Head over to your room, and start unpacking. A top piece of advice is to make sure you do all this right away — get your clothes out, put your books on your bookshelf, start to get yourself settled. You’ll be so busy in your first couple of weeks that if you don’t take the time to do this now, your clothes will probably sit in your suitcase that entire time. It’ll make you feel better, and do a lot to help your room start to feel more like home, if you unpack properly now.

At some point now, you’ll meet your roommate. It’s fairly standard for you to have a roommate in your first year, so it’s important to bond with them early. Introduce yourself — remember, they’ll be just as keen to get to know you as you are them! Now’s a good chance to say goodbye to your parents, or whoever might be helping you move. You want to start making your own way early, and starting to get to know the people and the place around you, so as hard as this moment is, it’s best to do it now, and it’ll go a long way to getting you settled into college life.

After you’ve unpacked and met the people around you, your roommate and maybe others who will be living on your floor, you’ll likely have a series of induction talks. These will begin with general introductions to college life, the campus, preparing you for what to expect over the coming weeks, and how to make the most of your first term and beyond. Make sure to attend all these as the information will be very useful for you. You’ll likely have a specific session to introduce you to the IT services at your college — here you’ll set up your online account, be shown how to use the online learning platform, and receive your college e-mail. This is extremely important — make sure you note down your passwords and you’ll save yourself some headache later on!

You might be wondering, in all this hustle and bustle, when and what am I going to eat? Most likely, as a first year, you’ll be on a dining plan. That means there will be set hours for the meals throughout the day, which will save you having to worry about fitting cooking in to your busy schedule. You’ll be shown where the dining hall is, and this will be another pivotal place for your first year — it’ll be a place to socialise, meet new people, and just switch off from thinking about work for a little bit. You’ll likely have already submitted any allergen or dietary requests, but if there’s anything you need to let them know, do so now and they should be able to accommodate you.

After a busy day of unpacking, socialising and inductions, you’ll lively have some evening events organised for you, either by the college, or your fellow students of older years. You might be tired, but these events are all essential to meeting other people, and making those friendships that will last you for years to come. Throw yourself into these and you’ll very quickly start building ties with people from all sorts of different areas — you’ll meet not only others in your dorms, but those with very different subject interests, people in different years, etc. Again, remember that everyone else wants to make friends just as much as you do — you’ll have no problem meeting like-minded people to bond with!

That’s mostly what your first day will look like. It’ll be busy, but it’ll be great fun. The whole of your first week will likely look similar — you’ll have plenty of inductions, introductory talks and meetings with college staff. You might now have to register for classes, so have a think about what subjects you might want to take; or you might have a fixed curriculum for this term, in which case you can start thinking about the reading you’ll need to do. There’ll likely also be tours offered of campus, or the city where you’re based, so make sure to sign up for these to get a better sense of the place you’re living! Don’t worry too much about work just yet — you’ll have plenty of time to get ahead in your studies. For now, focus on getting to know your surroundings, the people around you, and the college in general. Be open-minded, positive and friendly, and within no time you’ll be feeling at home in your new place, and you’ll be having that college experience you’ve always dreamed of.

About the Author: Stephen attended the University of Oxford, where he received his B.A. in Philosophy & French, followed by his MSt in Ancient Philosophy. For the past five years, Stephen has taught and mentored students from middle school through college in positions all over the world, from the UK to South Korea. He focuses on language and humanities instruction, coupled with intensive writing skills and college application coaching. His language studies saw him teach English for a year in southern France, as well as holding a technical translation position in Spanish in Barcelona. He has received formal training in mental health support, and has substantial experience working with students with anxiety and depression. Stephen is a warm and dynamic individual, who focuses on creating an open and engaging learning environment. He is currently based in the UK, where he enjoys reading, taking long walks, and playing the guitar and piano.