Students guide to your first days in Uni

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    Beginners guide: your first days in a student residence

    What is more exciting than starting a new semester/ a new college year?Starting a new semester/ a new college year and moving into a student residence! As the first few days can be very thrilling and exciting I decided to provide you with a beginners guide for your first days in a student residence.

    SOCIAL LIFE

    • Don’t panic. Of course, everything is super exciting when you A) start a new chapter in your life and B) don’t know anyone yet. However, you shouldn’t panic at all. Like all the other students you are here to learn something new, make new experiences and get to know nice people. That’s all. You don’t have to find your new BFF or future husband/wife in the first days in college/university. 
    • Be sweet. Most likely you have a favorite kind of candy. Be it a package of Oreos, M&M’s, Haribo or Reese’s - bring it from home. When you meet new people you can offer them candy (who doesn’t like that?) and you can use it as a conversation starter. Ask the other person if he/she has eaten that candy before, what his/her favorite snack is and what dishes are typical in the country he or she is coming from. 
    • Be 100% YOU. People will notice if you are a wannabe. Don’t try to be someone that you aren’t. Dress in the clothes you feel most comfortable in and talk to others about topics that you really have a passion for. Your fellow dorm mates will like this authenticity.
    • Take advantage of speed-dating. This has nothing to do with tinder. But it has to do with getting in touch with as many people as possible. Be open, introduce yourself to your roommate or your room neighbors and get to know them. Ask them questions regarding their studies, home countries, music preferences, sport, style or whatever comes into your mind.  
    • Open your door. An open-door-policy is very helpful in the first couple of days in your residence. By doing that, you signal fellow students that you are open to getting to know new people and it will be easier for others to get in touch with you. In case you don’t like the noise from the hallway or being watched like a zoo animal you can also close the door and put a sign on your door that says ‘Happy to meet you. Please come in.’
    • Close your door. The only time that you shouldn’t stick to the open-door-policy is when you are leaving your room. Close the door and lock it.

    DORM ROOM

    • Take pictures. Document and photograph every aspect of your dorm room that is not working properly. Contact your housing office as soon as possible and inform them about the defects that you have found. This has two advantages. First, your housing office is going to fix the damage (or in extreme cases allocate you to another room) and your deposit is not at risk because you reported everything appropriately. 
    •  Put your suitcases away. When you arrive in your dorm room you should get your clothes and everything that you brought from home out of your suitcases as soon as possible. By giving every object a dedicated space you will settle in more quickly. Living out of your suitcases for the first couple of days is inefficient, annoying and doesn’t feel like home.
    • Decorate. It is difficult to feel like home in a room where the furniture has been bought by other people, the color of the wall is not the one that you would have chosen and your bed feels totally different. The fastest way to change that is to decorate your dorm room a little bit with things that you like. Bring some pictures from your family, friends and your pet, buy some little lanterns, plants, a favorite cup or a blanket and give your room a little atmosphere. It will feel more like home if you add your style. 

    THINGS YOU SHOULD DO

    • Tell everyone. It is necessary to change your address as soon as possible and tell your bank, your university, your insurance companies, family and friends where they can find you from now onwards. Make sure that you check the mailbox on a regular basis.
    • Go shopping. You don’t have a decent pillow yet? You forgot to bring a towel and your fridge is not ready for breakfast? In the first couple of days, everybody at your residence is in a similar situation. Why don’t you ask some of your dorm mates to go on a little shopping trip? Head to IKEA and buy the things that you require or discover a supermarket together. 
    • Get out of the dorm. Most probably your dorm is in a city that you are not familiar with. Build a squad with other city-newbies and discover the city you are going to study in. Perhaps you will find your future favorite sports bar or coffee shop and you will get a basic concept and a feeling for the city and its culture.
    • Look for the unknown. Be curious about the new environment and the people you are from now living with. It is ok to feel a little bit homesick in the beginning and to stick to the familiar things. However, you will make the most out of this time when you get out of your comfort zone, adapt to local culture, try different food and talk to students that are not from your former university or your country. Be brave and curious.

    Don’t forget it is absolutely normal and human to be nervous and excited about moving into the student residence. Everybody feels the same in this first days. So be kind, relax and smile and you’ll master it.

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