The top 10 tips to surviving your first few weeks at Uni you won’t hear elsewhere….

You might see a few ‘top 10’ lists around, but here’s a list from your VP Welfare that others might forget to mention but is probably the most important.

1. Register with the medical centre straight away

The last you’ll want to do when you’re sick is have to go through that process, so get it done and dusted now.

You can register online: and they will be around on campus during Welcome Week.

2. Keep your doors locked

We run a safety campaign ‘The Lock’ in partnership with the Local Police to protect you.

Canterbury was recently recognised as the safest student city in the UK – that’s great news, but it doesn’t mean you should be lax with your safety. For those of you living on campus, it may feel like a very protective bubble but it doesn’t mean crime doesn’t happen. Make sure you keep your doors & windows locked to avoid your new iPod speakers being nicked, or the big food shop mum & dad did for you gone from the fridge…!

3. Don’t stay stuck in your room

Make sure you get involved and get to know people. When you move in prop your chair against your door and you’ll find it easier to say hi to people as they come passed.

Even if your new housemates are going to an event you don’t fancy or you’re not much a bar/club person – there are a ton of other events going on that other people just like you will be going to. Head out on campus during the day and you’ll find likeminded people – get along to all the Welcome Fayres too!

If you’re feeling lonely or homesick then talk to someone – be it a new friend, a Welcome Helper, a student officer, your master etc. Having your own personal time and space is healthy, but keeping yourself cooped up the whole time will only make you feel worse.

4. Budget!

Easier said than done! Don’t waste away your loan and delve into your overdraft in Welcome Week. You might feel like you’ve got money on tap at first, but fast forward to a couple of weeks’ time and you’ll be glad you didn’t go wild on those extra shots and unecesary takeaways.

I’ll be posting a more in depth blog about keeping track of your finances at Uni in the next few days so look our for that!

5. Get to know your housemates

Spend some time getting to know your new housemates – it will make your time living together a lot easier when you’ve established a relationship. Your accommodation has some cool posters up for you to write up your names/how you like your tea/and any living conditions you all want to agree on – so spend some time doing that.

6. Be aware of personal safety

Let your guard down and have some fun – but don’t forget to look after yourself as you’re in a whole new environment. Again – you’re lucky to be in a really safe city, but avoid walking around on your own at night or going somewhere on your own with people you don’t know well.

You can call Campus Watch (01227823300) any time to escort you anywhere on campus and can also pick up personal alarms from their office.

7. Don’t even think about next year’s housing yet!

When it comes to housing; Colum Says Relax.

You might hear all sorts of myths & rumours about getting a house sorted for next year – ignore them, frankly they’re all bullshit!

House hunting starts in January, and we’ll be giving you all the information and guidance you need to help you with it. So enjoy yourselves for the moment and don’t worry about all that.

8. Be responsible with drinking

We want you to have fun but we don’t want you to go too far and spoil your first few days at University. Know your limits and you’ll have an amazing time and still maintain your dignity.

You don’t want to be known as ‘that guy that was really wasted in the first week’ – you won’t be remembered as a legend, you’ll be remembered as a fool…

9. Wear a condom

The last thing you want to start your University experience with is an STI or unplanned pregnancy.

Condoms are available for free in various spots over campus (such as our bars, The Venue, Mandela reception) so make sure you pick some up before you caught short.

I have this many condoms. You have no excuse.

Don’t feel pressured to have sex – you don’t want to start your time feeling horrible about something that’s happened and don’t accept any kind of behaviour towards you feel uncomfortable about. (Read about our zero tolerance to sexual harassment & discrimination policy here)

If you are going to have sex, make sure both of you are happy to do it and the other person is of a sound mind to give consent to having sex with you.

If anything does happen you feel unhappy about – talk to someone you feel comfortable with about it; be it a new friend or housemate, your college master or myself.

10. Say hi to everyone!

Your first week at University is probably the one time in your life when you can speak to anyone/everyone without any reason for it. You’re all in the same boat – so smile and say hi to everyone when you’re moving you’re stuff in, waiting at the bar or walking around campus.

Colum McGuire
Vice-President (Welfare)
Kent Union

Email me
Tweet me
Phone me (01227824217)
Visit me (Student Activities Centre, above Essentials)


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