I'm about to start my second year of Uni in September inshaAllah and unlike this time last year I'm actually looking forward to it. I remember the nerves and worries of not knowing anyone, thinking I was going to be the only hijabi on my course, worrying that I won't be able to adapt etc. However, a whole year has flown by and I'm pleased to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
I have met so many amazing people at uni, Muslim and non- Muslim, hijabi and non-hijabi all of these people have made me feel so welcome at uni and made the transition a lot easier Alhamdulillah. Advice I would give to all you sisters worried about going to Uni is to just remember that everyone's in the same boat, so however your feeling its very likely that the majority of the people around you are feeling the same way.
On the first couple of days try to speak to and get to know everybody in your lectures and make as many friends as possible. Go to your Uni's freshers event where you sign up for clubs and societies and as sis Amena said make sure you sign up for the ISoc. Be open minded and try to remember that your going to come across a vast array of people of different ages, personalities, experiences, countries. People you come across may not have had any Muslim friends before and therefore may be more inquisitive about you and your beliefs, don't take this as everyone's singling you out because your different but rather look at this as an opportunity to give some dawah.
I was surprised how quickly I clicked with some people, some of these were mature students, some from different countries, some lived in halls and others commuted every day, the one thing that made us all get along so well was the one thing we had in common, Islam. When I first walked into the room I saw loooads of hijabi's which, gave me some comfort, but, I do know that on some courses in some Uni's you many not get that many, in fact you may be the only Muslim there. Just be confident and be yourself and inshaAllah you'll be fine.
Most people, in general will be very welcoming especially at the beginning, seize this opportunity to make friends as at one point or another you will need their help, i.e If you miss a lecture and want to borrow their notes or you need help with revision.
The ISoc should be very welcoming also, as Muslim's we know we should not judge someone because they don't wear a hijab because for all we know they could be a better Muslim than someone who does wear a hijab. Only Allah knows what's in their hearts so if you don't wear hijab don't worry, inshaAllah you will be made to feel as welcome as someone in hijab. The ISoc is great for getting to know other sisters on other courses and the sisters who are further along in their degree. The sisters who were in their third year when I started uni really helped me get used to the university, they gave me their numbers and took mine, they told us where things are and made us feel very welcome.
If you already know people who are going to your uni or are even on your course, its great, because you know you've got someone to rely on, however, I would encourage you to not just stick to that person or group of people because it will reduce your chances of making new friends as people will think you already have your group of friends and will think you don't want to speak to them.
Make sure that you keep good company as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend."- Abu Dawud (41:4815)
When you start Uni or college, remember people don't know you so this is a perfect opportunity to start a fresh, forget the mistakes of your past and in a way give yourself a new identity.
Last but not least, just make the most of every single moment of your life at university, enjoy it, be yourself and give thanks to Allah for giving you this opportunity to increase your knowledge and make a difference in the world inshaAllah. You will one day be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, mathematician, pharmacist, radiographer, writer, sociologist (whatever your career may be), Mother and Wife inshaAllah so see your time at university as a time to better yourself in knowledge, skills and Imaan because one day if not already you will be making a difference in someones life.
Remember always, that Allah does not burden the soul with more than it can handle.
I wish you all the best for your future, whatever you may be doing inshaAllah and remember to share your stories of your first day (couple of days) at university with me and I may put it up on the blog to help and ease the worries for other sisters about to start on this journey.
Send your e-mail in a comment below and I will get back to you inshaAllah