As you start a new chapter of your life at Imperial, we know that many of you are feeling nervous and unsure about what to expect from your first term at the College.

To help you settle in and reassure you that the whole Imperial community supports you, we have reached out to Imperial alumni - people who know what it's like to be new to the College and who have walked this path before you - to ask them to share their memories and wisdom with you. 

Our graduates have been sending in advice for your first few weeks with us: from making time to look after yourself, to making friendships that will last a lifetime. Read their words of wisdom below. 

Put yourself out there

illustration for 'put yourself out there' section"Speak to everyone. Freshers will be more relieved someone is speaking to them, than you are stressed in approaching them. 30 years later, my closest friends are those freshers I spoke to in the first week." - anonymous

"Join in. Clubs and societies are a great way of connecting and making the experience complete." - Neal Ellis (Mechanical Engineering 1979)

"I realised I can't just mope around expecting people to introduce themselves and talk to me first, I have to overcome my shyness and get out there." - Derrick Willmott (Physics 1968) 

"I had no idea the friends I made in fresher's week would be life long friends. 26 years on and my best mate is a girl from my halls. We've been bridesmaids at each other's weddings and been there through good and bad times. Uni mates are friends for life." - anonymous 

"You must enjoy the whole experience of living, making friends and enjoyment besides school." - Hock Leng Lim (MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering 1994)

Ask questions

illustration for 'ask questions' section"The lecturers and tutors at Imperial are the among the best in the world. Ask them loads of questions, this is a great opportunity to become a true expert in your field!" - anonymous 

"If you need help with something, it's ok to ask! If for instance personal circumstances are interfering with study, you may be able to get a break and return later. But you have to ask. If you don't know who to ask for help, the IC Union should be able to advise you." - anonymous

"It's the bright students who ask the questions, so ask away, don't be shy!" - Guy Rigby (Civil Engineering 1977) 

Look after yourself 

illustration for 'look after yourself' section"It will be scary and confusing, you may feel lost and that everyone else has settled in and is having a great time! Nearly all your fellow students feel the same - some just hide it better! But you will make friends, you will have a lot of fun and you will work hard - and enjoy it! The scary bit does pass, I know I was one of the slow ones to make friends and settle in, but my time at Imperial (1976-1979) was one of the best of my life." - Paul Bailey-Smith (Chemistry 1979)

"If you can't get a first or a distinction without sacrificing your physical, mental and spiritual health then it isn't worth it! You need to find time in your week to do your washing, see some friends and ponder the big questions - otherwise you just won't be able to sustain it." - Dr Mark Lethby (MBBS 2012)

"When you find the going hard, it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Imperial is invested in your success and everyone is more than happy to help you on your learning journey!" - Nigel Simpson (Computing Science 1985) 

"It's ok to be nervous and unsure about what you're doing or where you're going, just know that the memories that you're about to make will become some of the best of your life." - Coral Cavaye (Applied Business Management 2009)

"There is a student support and welfare service if it all gets too much for you. Thirty years on, I can say that it's worth persevering and completing your course. Don't give up." - Paul Corcoran (Electrical & Electronic Engineering 1990) 

"It's ok to be scared and feel alone. You are truly out of your comfort zone but I promise it will work out. You will find depths of reserve you never knew you had and will discover who you really are." - Sharon Bloomfield (Mathematics 1992, MSc Mathematics Advance Course 1993) 

"Give yourself some slack once in a while and find a society or sport to regularly blow off some steam and take your mind of the lectures. Most of all, embrace the opportunity you have studying in one of the world's most intellectual and diverse communities, and get to know your fellow students, both on your course and on other courses!" - Birk Ulstad (Aeronautical Engineering 2019)