First weeks are always exciting and, to be honest, a bit nerve wracking, whatever you are talking about, be it the first week at a new job, a new school, or a new city. Pretty much everything that is new tends to scare us and make us back into a corner, crying about how we miss our comfort zone, our warm blanket, wifi connection and all those warm faces of the people we know and love ( or casually tolerate ). We don’t know what to expect, so we often expect the worst, just in case.
Well I’m a strong believer in “change is good” so here I am, in a new country, starting as a first year student in a new university , with nothing but new places, new faces and hopefully new adventures.
And here is what I learned from my first week at college :
- For starters, in England they call it “university” not “college” , I quickly learned as people made weird faces as I told them I moved here to go to College.
- It’s really important to be on time for your first day. But it’s even more important to show up to the right campus ( yeah, I made that mistake ) and to check twice what time it actually starts so you won’t show up two hours early ( yup, me again)
- First impressions matter, but they are not decisive. So don’t try too hard to impress people on your first day/week . And if you happen to trip, say a stupid thing (or blabber in English until you are confident enough to speak it normally ), wear the wrong outfit or generally do something considered stupid, don’t sweat it, it’s not the end of the world. People forgive, and even more importantly they forget. And best case scenario, they may not even notice. So be free to be yourself.
- Talk to as many people as you can, (hopefully without coming across as desperate). Take advantage of all the social opportunities that present themselves to you, because sooner or later you will have to interact with all these new people, and when it comes to networking, sooner is always better.
- Take pictures. Create some long lasting memories. You will someday want to look back and remember who you were at this time and moment of your life, how you looked and how you felt. So take as many pictures as you can. Capture the places you visited and the people who were there with you (nothing brings people together as selfies do).
- Sometimes you have to force yourself to leave your comfort zone, and that’s ok. If you’re like me (a bit shy and usually socially awkward) you would rather sit in your little corner until week 3 or 4 until you feel comfortable enough to speak up. But “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. Show up to stuff. Approach people. Find some common ground with them and the rest will come easy.
- Ask questions. You would be surprised to see how many people are willing to give you answers and help you out in any way they can. All you have to do is ask. And there is no time greater to do it then at the beginning. So ask for advice. Ask for directions. Ask for tips. And take notes if necessary.
- And to get down on the most important issue ,food, a priority when you find yourself in new surroundings , is to find out the best places to eat. Save yourself trouble of having to taste and waste money on crappy food, and just ask around. This is also a great tip in order to befriend people, because let’s be serious, who doesn’t like to talk about food?
- But most importantly (well, almost as important as food) , enjoy yourself! You will not be given the chance to relive this week, this new beginning, this awesome new experience. Even if it’s nothing like you expected and imagined it to be, adapt, and enjoy every day. It might sounds cheesy, bu t then again what is life without a little bit of cheese (and here i go talking about food again)
I hope at some level, on any level really, this helps you out. If not you can always have a good laugh at my clumsiness, that’s alright with me.
And if you don’t trust my advice on the matter, hear it from someone who has already been through this : “Don’t panic when you first start university. Everyone is really in the same boat of you, and I guarantee they’re all just as terrified! Be brave and talk to people and you’re on your way to make lifelong friends” says Joanna Xiourouppa, the blogger behind Diary of a PR Girl.
What have you learned from your first week in a new school /city/ country , or at a new job/church/organization ? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. Don’t be shy! Share your experience with us and don’t forget all the spicy details!