Student Life

Creating together

A large painting on the wall of a building reads "how are you, really?"

Starting university can be an exciting but also very overwhelming experience, so this blog aims to settle any nerves and answer questions that you may have about taking this next step.

How I settled in during the first few weeks

It can be quite overwhelming moving to a new city which may be unfamiliar to you (this was the case for me as I am originally from Leeds and had only ever visited Newcastle once for the Open Day). How I familiarised myself with the city was to go on long walks with my flatmates with Google Maps at hand.

Students walk along the street in the city centre of Newcastle

This helped in terms of becoming familiar with my surroundings as well as discovering new shops. Within weeks of arriving, Google Maps was no longer needed and now I have a pretty good grasp of where things are in Newcastle.

Another way I settled in was through the Freshers’ events that were held during the first couple of weeks of university. Luckily, I managed to go to a few bars before everything shut due to Covid and going to these events helped me meet people from my course as well as getting to know the people from my floor better. Although the clubs were not open for long, being able to go out and socialised helped to create close bonds with new people and therefore meant I could carry on this friendship via social media and zoom calls.

After the first couple of weeks had passed, the feeling of missing home started to sink in. Regular calls to home helped massively with this feeling and made the process of settling in much easier.

Top tips for managing exam stress

A person revises for an exam at a wooden table with a cup of tea in the backgroundBelow outlines ways in which you can help ease the feeling of exam stress:

Make a revision plan

  • Helps to organise your work
  • Good for improving your time management
  • Allows you to make time for work life and social life

Below are some links to websites that can help you curate your own revision timetable:

Practice mindfulness exercises

A piece of paper is propped up against a window and it reads 'mindfulness'

  • This can range from breathing exercises to mediation
  • After a day of revision or the days leading up to the exam, this is a great way to calm any nerves you may have
  • It’s also a great way to wind down

Below are some links to useful exercises on YouTube:

Things I do to treat myself

One way I treat myself is through movie nights with my flatmates. Beforehand we will all discuss a time best suited to us and when the time comes we enjoy a movie (at the moment we are going through all the Harry Potter films.) and pair this with a takeaway from our favourite burger place, Fat Hippo.

A TV displaying a selection of films to choose from

Another way I treat myself after a long day is cooking communal meals with my flatmates. This is a great way to bond with your mates and enjoy a meal all prepared by yourself.

When I want some time alone, I tend to listen to some music and draw which I find quite relaxing and a great escape when your head is all heavy from the revision. Something else I have more recently started to enjoy is solo walks. This is great because after sitting for long periods of time, it’s important to get some fresh air and walk about a bit. My favourite place to go to is Jesmond Dene.

Why is it important to treat yourself?

Sometimes I find myself being too wrapped up in doing university work that I forget to take some time out for myself which can become very draining. Treating yourself is also a great way to reward yourself for putting in the hard work and gives you time to unwind.

How I make sure I have time to treat myself

Making an exam timetable means I know when I have free time to socialise and have time to myself to relax. It means I can easily separate the time I need to spend on work from the time I have to spend by myself and with friends.

How have these activities helped me manage my workload?

These activities have helped me manage my workload as I can separate my work into manageable chunks each day and work this around takeaway night/ daily walks etc.


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Simran is an undergraduate student studying Marketing at Newcastle University Business School.

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