Ask Sophie Q&A: The Answers.

Freshers week has begun – that means new first year students; and it also means that I’m 8 days away from starting the second year of my degree (eek!). But really it means it’s time to answer the questions about university that I’ve had over the past few months. Unfortunately I haven’t had a lot, but here goes!

What’s your favourite thing about university?

My favourite thing about university has to be the independence – in all its aspects. You take on a lot more responsibility, more so if you move away from home. It’s a MASSIVE learning curve either way. But even if you stay at home, you still have the independent learning side of university. You aren’t spoon-fed; you actually have to go away and read outside of what you’ve been taught. It’s hard to get used to, but it’s the best part of university for me. I guess I like having the added responsibility! Is that weird?


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.


How do I choose which university I should go to?

I did a post on this when I first started this blog three years ago! But if I could give five quick top tips it would be:

  1. Think about what’s most important for you. What’s important to you may not be important for someone else. For me I wanted a university that was modern, was in a city and that I felt comfortable in, among other things of course. I found that in the university I’m at now!
  2. Go to open days. Simple.
  3. If you get “the gut feeling” for a place then listen to it.
  4. If you’re stuck then write down the pros and cons of the universities you’re looking at.
  5. Consider everything – the university, the city and so on. Remember you’ll be spending three, four or maybe five years there.

How do I adjust to life at university?

University life is quite different from life at school in so many ways. There’s no easy way to say how you adjust to life at university because everyone’s different. Some people adjust really quickly and for others it can take that little bit longer and that’s okay! If there’s one thing I would recommend it would be to remember to have some “you” time often because you have to have a balance between university and the other aspects of your life.

This brings me onto my next question.

How can I balance the different aspects of university life?

Once you’ve settled in after the buzz of Freshers Week it can be a little overwhelming to fit things in. You’ve got your course, your flat, your new friends, your social life and so much more. Of course you need balance as I said before, but how do you do it? I use my planner to block out times where I need to study and then the rest of the time I do things that give me time to be social and have some time for myself. Getting the balance can be hard at first – it was for me, but just be mindful. Think about what you’re doing.

If having a diary isn’t your thing then I’d just remember that having the balance is important. If you have an essay due in the next few days think to yourself should I do something with my essay or should I go out and party? It gets easier after a while. Just keep thinking!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.

How can I fit in at university to make the most of it?

First and foremost you are you. University does have its cliques but you’ll find people are friendly. There are people from all walks of life at university and on your course. It can be nerve-wracking at first to talk to people, but remember you’ll be spending the next few years with them so just pluck up the courage and say hi! I know it can be difficult but you can do it. 

Don’t pressure yourself too much though – if you don’t drink and don’t want to then that’s fine, don’t drink to “fit in.” Don’t be someone you aren’t.

There may be some peer pressure at university for the first few weeks, but be yourself because eventually everyone settles in and the work really begins!

Ultimately do what you think is best for you because its your own university experience that matters. Hope that helps! 

How do I deal with homesickness?

Homesickness can affect anyone, whether you’ve moved half an hour away or across the world. You might not be used to being away from home – and that’s okay. A lot of people will feel exactly the same as you do during the first few weeks because it is a lot to take in – a new place, a new way of learning and so on! There are a lot of things you can do to help. Bringing home comforts with you might help like your favourite DVD or having a cuddly toy.

Getting out and about and exploring the new place you’re in can help too. Eventually university will start to feel like home. It did for me anyway! 

Just do what makes you feel comfortable, but don’t wallow too much. It’s good to be surrounded by people. I felt homesick in the first few weeks, but after talking to loved ones I got out there and socialised. It made me feel better instantly.

Remember everyone is in the same boat as you!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.

What would help mature students gel better with younger students?

As a mature student myself I’ve noticed that there isn’t a divide at all. It doesn’t matter if you are fresh out of school or have a few years of experience under your belt, regardless of age everyone is going through the same new experience. It may feel a little uncomfortable feeling older but don’t worry because you have some experience. The younger students may find that comforting. As for younger students, you may feel a little uncomfortable because you’re younger, again don’t worry because you have a lot to offer too. Remember everyone has something to bring to the table.

Are there any other questions you want me to answer? If so leave them in the comments section below or on my social media.YPE

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