Transition to University

Transition to University

Your transition from school to university is probably the biggest jump you’ll ever take. One of the hardest tasks for new students is to get to grips with the way university differs from school.

Starting university is exciting but change is not always easy to cope with. You may find the first few days overwhelming, especially with so many meetings, new faces, things to do and finding your way around the campus.

It is important to find the right balance between studying and your social life. Give yourself time to adapt to the transition.

Practical advice & tips

The W Curve During The First Year Of University

It is normal to feel lost or lonely during the start of your university experience. The W Curve will help you to understand the ups and downs of the process you will be going through. If you have doubts about coming to Swansea University, these ups and downs can lead you to jump to the conclusion that you have made the wrong decision. By understanding the W Curve, you can see your feelings are just part of the journey that everyone will experience.

W Curve

The Honeymoon

The Honeymoon stage usually starts before you arrive at university. You will start to feel this stage once you have been accepted to university and have to apply for your student accommodation and loans. When you arrive and start to settle into university life, you are likely to feel excited but also a bit nervous. The start of university is filled with positive anticipation. It’s common during this stage to feel homesick.

Cultural Shock

The newness of University begins to wear off at this stage. You have to start dealing with the reality of your new surroundings. Routine tasks, which were done for you at home, may become problematic chores. The new adjustments start to become your new reality and your housemates might have annoying habits. It might become harder for you to ignore the mess in the shared kitchen or the noise of late night parties. Having no one there to tell you what to do now, means you might find it hard to motivate yourself. During this stage, it is common for students to return home for a visit. This can be helpful but be careful that going home too often is not stopping you from getting to know people in Swansea.

Initial Adjustment

As you get used to the norm of your new student lifestyle, your routine will become clearer. You will have successfully managed issues that have come your way. You will feel in control of conflicts; challenges will continue to come and go, but you will begin to feel more at home.

Mental Isolation

This often happens after the Christmas holiday, when you have returned home for the festive period. You can feel like your University environment is not as nice as home was over Christmas. You may feel a sense of not completely belonging to either place, which can make you feel very confused. With the busyness of the first semester, you may not have realised how much you miss home, until you have been away some time. However, going home can feel strange too, especially if things have changed since you left.

Acceptance & Integration

During your University life, you will make new friends and join clubs/societies. You will begin to realise that you are connected to being a part of Swansea University. You begin to have a more realistic view of life in Swansea and you may even begin to call Swansea ‘home’.

Adjusting to the transition of University can take time and many students will have different experiences. It is an exciting time of your life so make sure you: 

  • Get involved
  • Try something new
  • Get organised
  • Think positive
  • Make friends
  • Look after yourself – eat, sleep, drink and exercise well
  • Be patient and allow yourself time to settle
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help from Campus Life


Where to go for further support

Skills for Life

Welfare@CampusLife run regular and varied Skills for life sessions throughout the year. These sessions are an opportunity for you to learn a new skill, have fun and meet new people. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with what sessions are running and to find out about others events run by CampusLife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on:

Student’s Union

Find out about Students Union events and to see what societies are available at Swansea University, see the Union’s website here:

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