How To Mentally Prepare for University

These are international student Penny's top tips!

Person sitting cross legged with a laptop and books on a bed

The studying season is fast approaching and for a lot of you, that means starting University. Firstly, Congratulations! You are coming to the University of Strathclyde! It’s the place of useful learning and you truly are bound to learn a lot of interesting things. Preparing for university isn’t easy, but it is manageable and there are plenty of guides to help you with it. Physical preparation is relatively easy. But how can you mentally prepare for university?

#1 Ignore the negative comments

We are surrounded by people and opinions. Both positive and negative, most of which come from a place of worry. If you’re an international student, then you are surrounded with more negative/ terrifying opinions than, you are positive. Block them out!! University is your time to grow, make mistakes, learn, and have a blast. You are most likely NOT going to be attacked if you go out with friends and there isn’t a boogeyman waiting for you in every corner. Be careful and alert at all times of course, but don’t miss out on nights out or fun activities, just because someone back home has presented Scotland to you through the worst point of view.

#2 Embrace the Stress

Moving to a different town, let alone a different country can be extremely stressful and nerve racking. You can either let the stress and fear consume you or you can embrace it. I say embrace it. Do all the research you want to do about the town, the country, and the university itself. Pack everything you think you need and read as many articles as you want. At the end of the day however, go to bed with a smile on your face. Prepare for unfortunate situations, but don’t let them consume your dreams. Think of all the amazing friends you’ll make, the amazing adventures you’ll go on… when the time comes for you to go on that car ride or get on that plane, have a strong mindset. Embrace all the stressful thoughts, go head on first and enjoy this new chapter of your life. 


#3 Don’t Rush

Once in uni, don’t force yourself to do everything at once! Don’t rush to make friends or buy all the amazing flat items you saw in a store. Take a deep breath and relax! Take your time! You are going to be in this town for at least three years. Make them count. You will make and lose friendships that’s for sure, so don’t rush them. Test the waters. See which groups work for your and which don’t. It’s better to take your time and do things you will enjoy, rather than rushing things and feeling bad later on.

#4 Be Prepared

If you are a stressful person, then having a plan for every possible scenario is something you probably enjoy doing. One of the physical things you can do is learn how to cook in advance. It’s better if you know how to make some staple meals, so that you don’t starve once you’re alone. Also, learn how to plan and budget your money. Whether you are working and have an income of your own, or your parents give you money, you are responsible for how to spend it. After your first couple months in uni, see what your expenses are, which ones are important and how you are going to structure your money spending.

#5 Don’t be too harsh on yourself

Finally, don’t be too harsh on yourself! Nobody is perfect. It’s great to have goals and achieve them, but don’t bring yourself down with every setback. Study! As hard as you can and want. But do not forget you are human! You will fail and you will succeed. So, sit down and make a plan. Write down your studying days, but also include club and societies’ meetings and excursions with friends.

Remember, if you chose to do this, then you are stronger than you think! The first couple of months will be quite hard and lonely, but Uni life goes by quite quickly. You’ll adjust in no time and you are going to have a blast!