The Annual Welcome Advice Article
Looking back, I can’t decide whether Welcome Week seems like a decade ago or if it was yesterday, but despite the title, it was ultimately only the first week of many I loved! Having chatted to various new students and amazing friends I made over the year, these were the three main concerns that kept coming up for those about to start, so here they are for you too!
The First Night:
I remember sitting in my flatmates room on a Friday night in November/December time watching ‘I’m a Celebrity’ together curled up on her bed with another of our flatmates – everyone else had gone home for the weekend or had gone out with friends and we were chatting about anything and everything in the breaks. One conversation that came up between us all was about the first night and we all said the same thing – how “scared” and “lost” we all felt in the first night or two and that it was “the strangest night of the year”! We’d all been chatting in the weeks leading up to moving in on our little Facebook group chat and to an extent felt like we knew each other, but meeting each other and sitting together in the kitchen for the first time still felt really weird. It was so quiet and no one knew what to say because we all still felt like strangers. But skip to the third or fourth night in and it was like we’d lived together all our lives, we all just fell into place in our little flat family. Not everyone has this experience and I know I’m lucky to know and have lived with such a perfect bunch of people, but if this isn’t you, don’t worry – your flat isn’t the only place to find friends at Uni and if your first night feels scary and strange like we all felt ours was – you’re not alone and you’re not expected to feel comfortable instantly. It’s normal to feel nervous, don’t beat yourself up for it!
Not wanting to go out:
This isn’t as uncommon as you think and in such a great city there’s still so much you can do to settle in and meet people. Our Guild of Students puts on a range of events over Welcome Week as well as everything you can do around the city, just pick and choose what YOU want to go to. If you’re going to somewhere or doing something because you want to, you’ll usually meet people there who are interested in the same things, you don’t have to wait to see what everyone else is doing. Remember there’s 24,000 students here at Liverpool and not every single one of them will be absolutely identical and conform to the typical student stereotype of wanting to drink and go out. Welcome Week – and to be honest, your whole university experience – is whatever you make it. If you want it to be a week for you to find your feet and feel comfortable without going out, make it that. But likewise, if you want to go out every night and explore the nightlife, make your week about that before lectures start. No one is pressuring you in any which way, just make sure you feel comfortable with what you’re doing – start as you mean to go on and all! If you feel happy by the end of the week, whatever you’ve done, you’ll be ready to start Uni the next week.
“Welcome Week is the best week of your life”:
Before you’ve even set foot in the city, you’ll probably have heard or seen this comment all over social media. But don’t worry if it’s not, for some people it’s just average and the best is yet to come once they feel more settled. Spend time getting to know the campus and area around it. Head to Welcome Fair in the Guild and Sports Centre Hall and find a society that you can try your hand at whether it’s something you love doing or you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, moving to university is a daunting experience and at some point, everyone will wobble – it’s human – if yours is early on don’t worry, others may (and probably will) later if they haven’t already! Don’t pressure yourself to enjoy something if it really isn’t for you. I met one student who moved all their things in on the first weekend and then headed home with their parents before coming back for the first week of lectures and they still made loads of friends and had an incredible year. Welcome Week is only one week in the year, you don’t have to have your life sussed by the end of it!
If you feel like you’re struggling here are some of the places you can go to:
Nightline (The University’s 24/7 phone line, for everything great and small): 0151 795 8100
Big White Wall (an online mental health and wellbeing service offering creative outlets for those struggling) for more information click here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/counselling/bigwhitewall/
Make sure you keep an eye out for the Alternative Welcome Week Guide coming soon!
Images: Liverpool Guild of Students