Adjusting to university life

Try thinking about attending University as an adjustment to a new culture. Whether you are from Melbourne, a rural area, interstate or overseas, straight from school or returning to study, you may have a number of transitions to negotiate, including:

  • From school to University
  • From living at home to living independently
  • From work to study
  • From having money to being on a student income
  • From having a very structured day to being self-directed or vice-versa
  • From being known and surrounded by friends to not knowing another person
  • From speaking your first language to speaking a second or third language
  • From feeling confident and in control to feeling very uncertain and out of control.

Sometimes things get difficult or the adjustment takes longer than expected. It is normal to find these adjustments demanding, and wise to seek help if you are not settling in or feeling comfortable.

It is important to point out that transitions can occur throughout University life, not only in first year! There may be transitions from part-time to full-time study, from undergrad to postgrad, from living at home to moving out and vice-versa, from single to married and vice-versa, from a break during your studies, from returning after illness, and the list goes on.

Give yourself time and don’t expect too much of yourself. Ask questions, get support and help where possible: use the university support services, ask questions of your fellow students, tutors and lecturers, reconnect socially and reach out for new friends.

Counselling and Psychological Services is a good place to come and sort out what's going on and how you can make this transition a bit easier for yourself.

Remember, you are a student, and not expected to know everything from the beginning - you are in the process of learning.

If you'd like more support, come along to one of our workshops or make an appointment for individual counselling.

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