The first year of university life

University life is unpredictable, we know that no two experiences will ever be the same and students transition to university life in different ways.

At the University of Plymouth we understand the challenges students face at university. For students or a parent or supporter of a student, knowing the ebb and flow of the year should help you understand what might be happening at university and how you can best you can prepare.

August: you may be feeling

  • ! Excited
  • # Anxious
  • " Nervous

  • Get organised: start packing belongings and buying the essentials for university life.
  • Remind yourself of domestic skills such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry.
  • Talk through any worries you may have.
  • We encourage students with health concerns to speak to their GP to ensure prescriptions can remain up to date (students can register at the University Medical Centre for GP services whilst away from home).
  • For more information visit our student life page.

September: think about

  • 3 Creating a sense of belonging
  • ' Creating a safe space in your new home to relax, socialise and study
  • u Building friendships
  • * Starting a budget

  • Bring some home comforts such as photographs and posters.
  • Get involved with clubs and societies and get to know fellow students.
  • Remember that homesickness is very common. The Listening Post team are available to talk over any worries you may have.
  • Consider how and how often you'll keep in touch with friends and family.
  • Budgeting advice is available from our Student Funding Team.
  • A part-time job can provide an extra source of income but can also help build friendships. Check the student jobs page for vacancies, advice and guidance. 

Semester 1 September – January: you may feel stressed by

  • A Self-doubt
  • b Deadlines and feedback
  • ' Thinking about next year’s accommodation
  • . Preparing for January exams

  • Keep to-lists of all your deadlines.
  • Speak up about any worries, support services can be found in the Learning Gateway.
  • Use ‘SHINE’ Self-help Inspiring e-Resources to help manage stress, relationships, academic issues, confidence and self-esteem, sleep, mental health, transitions and change.
  • Seek feedback about your academic work and learn from it. It takes time to adjust to higher education, it’s quite different to school and there’s much more expectation of independent study (i.e. working at home, researching and reading).
  • Stay healthy: eat well, get enough sleep and avoid drinking too much.
  • Talk any academic worries through with your personal tutor.
  • Agree any rent budgets and expectations early on to help choose suitable accommodation for the next year.
  • Remember to relax over the vacation period.
  • Ensure modified assessment provisions (MAPS) are in place for your upcoming exams.

Semester 2 January – May: what's happening?

  • I January blues
  • @ Easter vacation
  • Z Revision
  • . Summer exams

  • Keep channels of communication open with friends and family.
  • Exam timetables are published in February, allowing you plenty of time to prepare.
  • Get organised and set up a revision or study schedule. 
  • Stress from deadlines and upcoming exams is natural. Talk through any stress with friends, family, your personal tutor or engage with the Learning Gateway.
  • It’s not too late to ask for help. Talk any academic worries through with your personal tutor, particularly if you might need to repeat a module or apply for extenuating circumstances. 

July and summer vacation

  • < Summer plans
  • ! Excited
  • & Exam results
  • # Nervous

  • Think about what you want to do over the summer months – get a job, volunteer, see friends, take a break, travel? Talk through your plans to avoid any last minute decisions or regrets.
  • Exam results are published in July (depending on faculty) and a following appeals and resit timeline commences. 
  • If your results are not as expected contact your personal tutor, programme leader or faculty support office for further advice on resits.