Settling back into uni when you've been away

4 December 2020

Everyone needs time to adjust to a new environment and coming back to university after a break can feel similarly new for those returning students also. In this article we will explore 5 ways you can support yourself after returning to university following an interruption.

Settling back into uni life

Expect to need time to adjust

You’re not the only one returning to university and things would have changed for everyone, whether they are just entering a new year of study, have just come back to the UK, or are returning to study following an interruption. However alone you may feel, large swathes of the student body will be trying to find their feet and it is completely normal to feel some anxiety or loneliness at this time. Your friends might have moved on and you may not be in the same class or even university any longer, but if you don’t find your lifelong friends on your first night back at uni, you are definitely not alone. Be kind to yourself and take your time finding your feet again.

Get back into your groove

The best way to feel like you’re back, is to act like you are. Go back to the gym you went to before your break, visit your favourite pub for dinner or chill in your local park again. Doing the things you enjoy will bring up all the positive feels you associate with that activity and remind you that you don’t have to keep up with the crowd all the time, but that you have your own things you find worthwhile.

Be kind to yourself

It can be difficult coming back to a familiar environment with unfamiliar people. Don’t be hard on yourself if it take you a while to adjust socially. If you say or do something you later regret, be kind to yourself. Learn from each experience and move at a pace you’re comfortable with.

Speak up!

We all know it can be hard to express ourselves effectively. Some of us find it hard to ask for help, others find it easier to bottle things up. These strategies may seem useful in the short-term, but can often lead to bigger problems further down the road. At SSW, we’re here to support you, so even if you don’t want to speak to a peer or family member, make an appointment for a warm and non-judgemental environment where you can speak and think clearly about any issues you might encounter.

Prepare to relax

This may seem slightly paradoxical, but hear me out. Too often we leave things to the last minute and end up stressed about things, or, arguably worse, we get caught up in an endless cycle of trying to produce the perfect work and have no time to just… chill. Plan your time in advance and be sure to factor in relaxation and socialising as important parts of your schedule. Recharging with a friend on a walk by the canal, smashing some ping pong balls at Bounce or reading a book for leisure on the sofa can really help to keep us in top mental shape. To do your best work, you have to make sure you do your best play.

Last revised: 8 September 2021

Student Support and Wellbeing