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Finding your feet on campus: location guide for starting university

23rd August 2017 Posted by: Becca Lawes

MOVING to a new city can be daunting, especially if you’re eighteen and have spent much of your childhood in the same area. Getting lost is not a nice experience, especially if you add to that the stresses of making new friends and starting a degree.

Student World Online | Map Reading

When I first moved to York to start university two years ago, I was pretty daunted, I had done a bit of solo travelling which made being somewhere new feel a bit easier but the prospect of living in a city for most of the year was exciting/strange. York is pretty small so finding my way around wasn’t too hard but there a few things that I found made the process of orientating myself easier which I think can be transferred to bigger cities/most places!

Here are a few tips to finding your feet and embracing your new city; 

Start with getting to grips with campus

Before you try and get to grips with a whole city, first make sure you know the key places on campus or the uni area if you’re at a city uni. You will most probably be given a (not very good) map when you move in; use this as a starting point and then explore your campus by walking around in your first few days. Just remembering where the student union is, the best bar, a shop and the porters/security services will stand you in good stead. If you really struggle with your sense of direction maybe mark these locations by dropping a pin in your phone map. I tend to do this whenever I first arrive in a new place so I know I can always find my way back home easily! Not being able to find your room for your classes is just a fact…no one else knows exactly where the code on their timetable actually represents (most of my lecturers don’t know all the teaching rooms either) just give yourself plenty of time to find each area before your first classes and ask at the reception of buildings. People want to help.

Walk - a lot

In your first few days at uni take some time to walk around, walk from your accommodation a mile in all directions, walk around campus, walk around the city. Wear trainers, listen to some music and maybe use it as an opportunity to take some interesting photos especially if your area is interesting or pretty. Perhaps see if you can go with your housemates too, finding a cool cafe or bar that’s off the main high street or student area with your new friends would be something to bond over and talk about a few years later.

Student World Online | Bus Travel

Know which bus will get you home, and have a taxi number in your phone

This is important for nights out in freshers week and the first few months. Most uni’s are very good at having organised freshers weeks with older students on hand to help and advise, lots of buses and friendly taxi drivers. But it is still worth being aware for yourself of how to get back home when you’re in a new place should you get separated from the group.

And finally

Embrace the newness and that exciting/nervous feeling of not knowing where everything is or where the best place for coffee is yet. Your university experience will fly by, and before long you will be a third year wishing you could relive the excitement of moving to your uni city again!



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