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Problems Adjusting to Student Life

It’s Rachel’s first week at university in Sheffield. She has been finding it difficult to settle into

her new life as a university student. She is talking to her mum about her feelings…

Mum: Hi darling. Well, how are getting on today?

Rachel: Not great, Mum… I missed the bus this morning and arrived 20 minutes late for my

first lecture, so I missed the assignment briefing! Everyone seems to have made friends

already too, apart from me… I just wish I could just come home again…

Mum: Oh Rachel… Did you not ask anyone to help you?

Rachel: No, I couldn’t wait to leave and get back to my room again. I don’t think I’m going

to fit in here…

Mum: You need to give yourself time to adjust. You’re experiencing culture shock and that’s

perfectly normal! When I arrived at university many years ago, I was totally overwhelmed

too… a new city, no friends and everything just seemed different. But after a few months, I

started to really enjoy it. I’m confident that you’ll come to love it too! What about your

roommates? Have you spoken to any of them yet?

Rachel: I’ve said hello a few times. I can hear them all laughing and having fun every

evening but I’m too scared to leave my room… I can’t sleep either... It’s just a nightmare,


Mum: You really need to socialise and put yourself out there! You can’t hide away forever…

You might be surprised – your roommates are probably feeling exactly the same way you

are! Now, you need to pluck up some courage and go out and talk to them… a problem

shared is a problem halved!

Rachel: But mum… what if they don’t want to talk to me? What if they’re too busy?

Mum: Stop making excuses! You won’t know if you don’t try. Now, call me later tonight

and I want to hear everything about your new flatmates!

Rachel: OK, mum… I suppose it’s worth a shot…

Cups of Coffee
Problems Adjusting to Student Life


Phrasal verb
Example sentence
To run up against

To experience something difficult and unexpected.

The politicians ran up against strong opposition from the people.

To wrestle with

To try very hard to deal with a problem or a difficult situation.

I wrestled with the decision for a few months before deciding to quit.

To think through

To carefully consider the possible results of doing something.

I need some time think this through before making a decision.

To knuckle down

To start working or studying harder.

He’s going to have to knuckle down if he wants to pass the course.

To talk over

To discuss a

problem or situation

with someone.

We talked over the

issues in the

meeting before

making a decision.

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