Heading to university can be a daunting time for the best of us. Not everyone is cut out for the traditional university lifestyle which can leave Freshers feeling nervous about starting university and existing students uncertain about going back for another term.
Why? Well, university isn’t just about studying, it’s an experience that puts your social skills to the test in order to prepare you for the big wide world of work that follows. This can be an even bigger challenge for alternative students than most.
Alternative and goth kids are historically not that comfortable with the mainstream because they might have faced bullying in schools or just find themselves bored and out of touch with mainstream culture. This means that the image of university and student culture in the media can seem like a total nightmare for the kooky weirdos of the world!
But never fear. At every university in the country, there’s a collection of alternative students ready to greet you with open arms – all you need to do is find them! To help you on your way, we’ve put together some top tips for suriving university life as an alternative student.
Research The University’s Culture
Every university has a different culture and a different vibe depending on where in the country they are. If there’s next to no alternative scene, you might find it more of a struggle to find like minded alternative students. Do a little research around the city itself, are there any rock clubs? Does anywhere host a goth night? Do they local music venues host rock & metal gigs?
Alternative scenes thrive in places that offer this kind of nightlife, so if you find some or all of the above, you’re likely to find survival as an alternative student much easier.
While university can absolutely be a fresh start for you, it’s important that you draw the line between giving yourself a chance to start over and trying to force a complete personality transplant. You might decide that your new persona who likes blonde hair and indie music is a great idea in the first instance, but keeping it up is going to be exhausting.
Be your own bad self, that’s our advice. If you love black on black on black and death metal, own it! You can have a brand new start and be yourself. Confidence is key, and if you show others that you’re confident and happy in yourself as a goth student, that most people will be happy to respect that. So wear that gothic backpack, don your creepers and let ‘em have it.
Join a Society
There’s a reason that the Student’s Union make a big push for societies, and it’s not because they like confining their students to nice, neat boxes of subculture. The fact is that every fresher finds themselves in amongst complete strangers – in their halls, in their classes, in university spaces. Societies are a great way to get like-minded freshers together in one place where they’re most likely to blossom.
Most universities have some kind of society that relates to alternative culture; keep an eye out for rock societies, metal societies, goth societies, alternative societies. You’ll find your tribe there, and they’ll no doubt have some great information about the hottest rock and metal clubs in the area and be able to put you in touch with other like minded individuals.
Keep An Open Mind
In your first few weeks at uni, you might feel as though your room is your only sanctuary. While it’s certainly a safe spot, you won’t find anywhere else for you to feel comfortable if you don’t keep an open mind. This means saying yes to invitations on nights out – even the mainstream ones! – agreeing to society meet-ups, grabbing a coffee with the people on your course.
Even if you’ve not been used to mixing with the muggles, the best way to find people with the same alternative interests as you is to get yourself out and about. You’ll soon find them lurking in a corner at a fresher’s fair feeling just as out of place!
Create a Safe Space
At the end of a long day of mingling and keeping your eyes peeled for other alternative-types, it’s nice to be able to come back home to a room that’s you all over. Pick out some gothic bedding, scatter around some kawaii cushions and deck the walls with gothic home decor & wall art to create your alternative nest. You’ll feel much more yourself in no time and be recharged and ready to take on the university lifestyle the next day.
Don’t sweat if you’re not feeling the uni experience right away – you’d be amazed how many alternative students feel the same in the first term! Follow our advice and you’ll find your tribe in no time – they’ll probably be wearing some of your favourite womenswear and menswear from Attitude Clothing so keep yer eyes peeled!