This first week-and-a-half of university has brought with it a myriad of new experiences, emotions, and expectations ­– some of which I’d anticipated and many of which I hadn’t.

I moved to Auckland with the intention of capitalising on everything: state-of-the-art academic facilities, central city living, immediate access to landmark centres of culture and creativity. And believe me – Auckland has not disappointed.

Spot the toga-clad bloggers! (Thanks for the pic, Cal.)

Somehow, this city has already turned me into a better version of myself – I get up at half past six every morning, actually make my bed and clean my room; I get jobs done ahead of time, efficiently, and I’m inspired by my surroundings to live not only a productive life, but an exciting one. (Can you tell I’ve been nicknamed Floor Mum?) (I feel sorry for my actual Mum, who is probably wondering why I couldn’t have experienced such a rush of maturity before I left home.)

O Week (and you can tell I live in O’Rorke because I initially typed O’Week) was absolutely spectacular. I’m not chalking that up to any specific set of activities – although many were organised for us and proved very helpful – but rather the fact that we had an entire week to get our bearings and just explore the city before jumping into lectures and full-on uni life. I remember walking down Queen Street on the first night, with thirteen other people from O’Rorke, just feeling the most surreal thrill that this was something I could do now. I could walk through this city, with these people, and it was my city and they were my friends. It was weird and welcome in equal measure.

I won’t go into too much detail about the specifics of accommodation/O’Rorke – watch this space for a cheeky collab on the subject, coming as soon as we’ve organised it! – but I will say that I definitely picked the right hall. While our famed “O’Rorke, two clap!” chant may err on the side of a potential cult, the tight-knit atmosphere and almost familial vibe has already made Mount Street feel like home. Everyone on my floor has been lovely, and I’ve actually started to believe in the power of those questionnaires you have to fill in on your halls applications, because I haven’t come across anyone I haven’t liked.

The first week of university – indeed, the first week in any new place – is always going to feel daunting. But believe me, there’s no need to panic. Keep on top of what you need to do, but use the time you have left over (and there’s a lot of it) to do things you enjoy.

If you’re in halls and you need to buy stuff for the Toga Party, ask around, get a group together. You’ll kill two birds with one stone and get some exercise walking around the city while you’re at it. (Insider Tip: for all your toga-related needs, head to Look Sharp off Queen Street. Oh, and know how to tie a toga. I was everyone’s best friend when the time came!)

Take the time to explore Auckland – get your AT Hop card sorted and figure out where your classes are, even if it’s just an estimate. You will feel so much better going into the semester with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Get your bearings. Find your zen. Talk to the people around you! I guarantee they’re just as nervous!

Last of all, remember to breathe. The difficult part is getting here. All the rest is the reward.