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Settling in advice for new students

By QMResLife 16 Jun 2023

The Residential Welfare Team understands that starting university can be an exciting and amazing experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. Our team want to provide you with a few tips to make your experience in Queen Mary Halls of Residence enjoyable.   

1. Put Yourself Out There
One of the most important university tips for getting settled in is not being afraid to put yourself out there. We understand it may seem daunting at first however, the majority of first-year students will be in the same boat of not knowing many people, or any and doing this will allow you to meet new people, create friendships and build community in halls and around the University Campus. A great time to do this would be during Welcome Week. 

2. Meeting your flatmates
When transitioning into your new home, one of the most exciting aspects is the opportunity to meet and make friends with people from a variety of different backgrounds and both independent living and sharing accommodation will be a new experience for most. Getting along and living with new people will require effort but the benefits of making friends and memories will make that worthwhile.  It is important that you establish good communication with flatmates even if you do not become lifelong friends, living together and tolerating your differences makes for a valuable part of your education.

As stated above, you may encounter students from different backgrounds therefore, it is important to be open minded by not judging people based on first impressions. Ways to do this is by spending some time getting to know your flatmates, making one another feel welcome and comfortable before making any judgement and why not make a flat group chat and attend Welcome Week together. 

3. Prioritise Your Health & Wellbeing
Having good mental and physical health is essential for succeeding whilst at university.  To manage studying, socialising and adjusting to university life here’s a few things you can do to ensure you’re working at your best.

Before you leave for university, you could potentially learn to cook some basic, healthy recipes so you’re not living off beans on toast or takeaways. Perhaps try creating a fakeaway which will also save you a lot of money and you’ll be able to make it faster than the time to takes you to receive a takeaway. Why not cook a meal for your flatmates and take turns making a new meal each week you will all enjoy.

Check out Tesco fakeaway recipes for some inspiration. 

As well as taking care of your physical health, exercising regularly will also have a positive effect on your mental health.

You could sign up to the university gym Qmotion, local gyms or create an exercise routine that you can stick to throughout your week, YouTube have great 15 min workouts you could do before starting your day.  

If you’re struggling at any point, make sure you talk to those around you. Remember that Queen Mary offer a wide range of support that you can access at any time if you need help with your mental health:

  • Residential Welfare Team – ensures that our residents’ stay is a positive one by providing reliable support and guidance for all those who need it. The service we provide includes a range of pastoral services through our work with other departments at Queen Mary and if need be, we can also refer to other student support services,  we also work over a 7 day period offering support to residents in halls.
  • Advice and Counselling Service – this service allows you to request appointments with Student Wellbeing Advisers who are available to all students studying at QMUL, presenting with everyday difficulties that may be challenging their day-day life or impacting their general health and wellbeing. This service can also provide support for individual circumstances such as money and immigration advice.
  • Academic Student Support – This dedicated service provides support to all students specifically to their course who may require advice and assistance on matters they feel may be impeding their ability to study.
  • Student Space has text, webchat, email and phone support lines to support students with any challenge they may be facing. There are also services for students who identify as being part of a specific group or identify, including support groups for Trans students and students from the Black and Asian community.
  • TogetherAll is an anonymous online community, free to all Queen Mary students and staff, which you can access 24/7 for support.

4. Make Your Room Feel Like Home
Moving out of your room at home that you’ve become so familiar with may feel strange. The beauty of customising your new room in Halls of Residence is that you can make it feel like home. Taking your bed linen, or photos to pin on notice board or simply taking some trinkets from your room with you can make your new room feel like home.

5. Register with a GP
Registering with a GP early will save you the hassle of having to do so later. You may never know when you may fall ill, or whether you’d need to see either a doctor or a nurse for any medical reasons or advice. Registering with a GP is usually a very simple process and you can do this online.

Please see PDF with further information on how to register with a Local GP at Queen Mary, University of London

6. Enjoy Welcome Week
This is basically a week organised by the university to ‘break the ice’ between new students, build friendships and community spirit. Remember that by doing activities you actually enjoy, you’re more likely to meet like-minded people who you can become friends with. Please see links for further information:

7. Keep in contact with friends and family
Starting University is a big and brave change, sometimes you may need friendly and familiar faces to chat to and add a bit of normality. A great way to do that is to FaceTime and texting/calling regularly with your family and friends.

8. Set personal boundaries and respect personal space
Whether it is spending more money than you can afford, or even just going out when you want an early night, you do not have to do anything you do not feel comfortable doing.  If you are feeling overwhelmed remember to make use of the support available to you at Queen Mary.

Additionally, it is important that you respect one another and remember that your living space is also their living space. If you experience any issues surrounding noise, cleanliness or guests, you should speak with flatmates about this in the first instance to resolve these as soon as possible in a mature and amicable way.  Please remember living with others works both ways and you should also listen to the things that are important to your flatmates and be considerate of these whilst living together.

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QMResLife will keep you updated with the latest news at Queen Mary and help you stay connected with other residents.
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