Tips on how to adjusting to living on your own as a student – from students

Becoming a student at University will be one of the most life changing moments in your life. Not only will you most likely move cities (or even countries), you will also meet new people and experience things that you never have before. With this in mind, it is a good idea to head off on your adventure with tips to help you adjust to life as a university student.

How long does it take to get used to uni life?

It will take different people different lengths of time to get used to their new life at university. For some people it might be a very quick adjustment and for others it may take more time, both of these are okay. Some factors that will affect how easily you adapt are:

– How resilient you naturally are

– How used you are to change

– The strength of your support system

– How involved you become in campus life

– The academic challenges of your course

Find out what support your university offers

Within every university there will be a Student’s Union which is specifically there to look out for students interests and offer support. If you find you need help adapting, they should be the first place you visit. Some universities will also have blog posts on their sites written with this topic in mind, so it is always worth a look to see if there is any advice there. 

Top tips to make starting university easier

Make your environment comfortable

Creating a comfortable environment in your student room is essential for making your new space feel like home. Make sure to surround yourself with things that bring you comfort and motivation, such as your favourite books, cosiest duvet or photographs from home. By personalising your environment you’ll be able to create an environment that suits your needs. 

Get organised

When you get to university it can be daunting knowing what to do. Make sure you get your timetable and learn where your lectures are held before your first one. This will reduce any panic over directions and ensure that you leave enough time to get to the lecture hall on your first day.

Get to know your new city

One of the most exciting things about starting at University is getting to explore a new city and discover all it has to offer. Take yourself (and any new friends) off for a walk, you may find a new favourite coffee shop or a great spot for a picnic. Learn all the different exciting things that your new home has to offer.

Learn some simple recipes

A lot of students head off to university with no knowledge of cooking at all. Having some simple, quick and healthy recipes up your sleeve is a great way of making sure that you get some good nutrition in those first few weeks. Cooking together can also be a great way to bond with your new housemates. 

Learn how to wash your clothes

Another life skill that is useful to have before starting university is knowing how to do your own laundry. Learning how to do this beforehand is a good idea as it means you won’t end up with any accidental shrinkages or somehow turn all your white clothes pink. 

Explore Extracurriculars

If you are feeling particularly anxious about starting University, it can be tempting to stay in your new room. However, this is not the best way to make new friends and really feel comfortable and confident at University. Make sure to get involved with any and all extracurricular activities that look appealing to you, you never know who you may meet or how much fun you may have!

Learn to budget your money

It is so important to learn to budget your money whilst at university. The best way to do this is to make a list of all your incomings and outgoings and then prioritise your spending using the 50/30/20 method. If you’d like to know more about this and find access to a handy financial planner guide take a look at our student budgeting guide.

Ask current students for advice

What helped me the most was getting mentally prepared to move away, start learning about the new place, and looking for tips on the internet from people who live there, are going to the same university, or doing the same course. It also came in handy to reach out to other fresh students starting their course around the same time I was so that I didn’t feel like a fish out of water when I got to university. 

Student Mental Health

Prioritising mental health is crucial for students navigating the challenges of academic life. The key to good mental health is establishing a routine that allows you to have enough sleep, regular exercise and balanced nutrition. These healthy habits contribute to overall well-being. Making sure you take part in extracurriculars and build a friendship base is also important to help students relax and enjoy their university experience. Finally, if you are feeling low, make sure to access the support at the Student’s Union or go and see a doctor.  


It is natural to feel anxious about starting university, it’s a huge life change. It is important to remember that every student is in the same boat here and everyone is likely to have some level of anxiety in those first few weeks. Remember to be kind to the new people you meet and do your best to form friendships.

Looking after yourself at uni

Even though it can be tempting (and easy) to fall into the typical student life of staying up late, partying a lot and eating pizza for dinner every night, this is not the best way to look after yourself and keep healthy. Of course you want to join in with your friends and experience typical student life but it is important to also prioritise your health. 


Loneliness, especially when coupled with homesickness, is a common challenge for students. Make sure you keep good communication with your family and friends back home to maintain a sense of connection. Make sure to actively seek out social opportunities, try and join clubs or attend university events to meet people with similar interests to yours.

Note – if you are used to being surrounded by family and loved ones it will be very difficult once you move away. Creating new friendship circles by stepping out of your comfort zone, reaching out to people in your accommodation, joining students clubs, and connecting with people on your course – will be crucial in helping you build a family away from home.