10 TIPS FOR STARTING UNIVERSTY
Moving away from home is probably one of the most exciting things that will happen in your adult life. That said, it can come with its challenges, like remembering to feed yourself every day and the inevitable problem of being broke after Freshers Week. Whether you are preparing to move abroad, across the country or are staying in your hometown, it is vital to prepare yourself for the experience ahead!
Tip 1: Only pack the essentials
Amid the stress and excitement of moving to university, it’s easy to throw a load of random things into your bags “just in case” you need it, but trust me, it’s more likely that you won’t need that extra stapler or sixth form leavers hoodie. If possible, you should try and get in contact with your flatmates before moving in (you can usually do this through your Universities’ Freshers’ Facebook page), so you don’t end up with six different toasters and kettles in your shared kitchen. If you’re stuck on what to bring or are worried that you might not have everything you need, check out this essentials list written by Save The Student. This is also a great blog to follow when you have University related questions or queries!
Tip 2: Take pictures of your room and kitchen
When you move into your room, it is essential that you take a few pictures of your bedroom, bathroom (even if you share one!) and kitchen. Whether you are living in halls or private housing, taking pictures of the state of your residence at the time you move in, is so important! Why? If you don’t document any faults or damages in your room, they could blame you when it comes to moving out, potentially meaning that you lose your deposit! So make sure you take some time to snap some room pictures as well as up-close pictures of any damages. Your phone will also have the time stamp attached to it, so if you are required to provide any evidence of damage in your room, this will be your proof.
Tip 3: Don’t hide in your room!
I know it can be scary moving into a completely new place with a bunch of strangers, but you have to try and get over the initial awkwardness as soon as you can, considering you’re going to be living with these people for the rest of the year. Who knows, you might make some new friends. As long as you ensure that the flat that you are living in has a friendly atmosphere, you’ll be fine. So make sure to prop open your door on move-in day and be a friendly face. You’re all in the same boat, so try and make it easier not only for yourself but for your flatmates. They will appreciate it, trust me!
Tip 4: Attend daytime Freshers’ events
If you are a bit like me and you don’t drink like a typical student, or prefer to go out in the day vs the evening, you’ll most likely choose to attend the day-time Freshers’ activities. The upside of the day-time activities during Freshers’ week is that the majority of them are free and offer you a chance to make friends that you’ll actually remember in the morning. Most Universities offer the chance to attend society fairs as well as fun activities, ranging from roller-skating, escape rooms and even fun runs. Whether you are a sporty student or an adrenaline junkie, there is bound to be something for you.
If you’re lucky enough to live with Fusion Students, they are offering two weeks’ worth of events to kickstart your year. ‘Refresh 2020’ events will include cooking and creative workshops, yoga sessions and even a sports day, so make sure to get stuck in and enjoy yourself!
Tip 5: It’s healthy to have multiple friendship groups
In reality, you and your coursemates probably have more in common with each other compared to anyone else in your University, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be spending every dying moment together. Some of your friends might not be party animals, some may love to have a drink and a dance and some may prefer to spend their nights at home with a movie. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy time with all of them. It is healthy to have friends who all like to do different things. It gives you the chance to get out more and to enjoy a variety of different things that matches your mood that day.
Tip 6: Call your parents
I know this might sound lame to you now and the excitement of Freshers’ Week has probably already started, but remember who helped you to get here in the first place. They did help you pack your bags and ensure that you got to your University safely, after all! You might not be feeling emotional now but your Mum and Dad definitely will be. So make sure to be nice, give them a cuddle and call them as soon as you’re all unpacked and settled in, because it’s going to be a hard time for them to get used to life without you around the house – and vice versa!
Tip 7: Make sure you shop sensibly
Shopping for yourself can be daunting but also exciting, as it gives you the freedom to cook what YOU want for dinner, not what Mum puts on the table. Although if you’ve never cooked much before…you might be in for a bit of a shock. If you’re a bit of an organised foodie freak like me, you might want to make yourself a meal plan. Not only will this help you spread the cost for your weekly food shop, but it will also keep you on track with what you need to buy and what you have to put back – although you should definitely allow yourself some treats!
Tip 8: Sign up at a GP surgery
Although you may not be thinking about the times that you are going to get ill at University, the first time you’re not feeling too hot when living away from home can suck. So ensuring that you’ve signed up to the on-campus doctor’s office can help make it a little easier to look after yourself. Whether it’s just a cough or a full-blown infection, the University doctor has seen it all!
Tip 9: Don’t leave assignments to the last minute
We’ve all lied to ourselves before and been persuaded to leave our assignments until late by our tired selves. However, there is nothing worse than having a bunch of different assignments all due in the same week, with only the brief outline and title to hand in. Don’t cause yourself more stress and risk getting a bad grade by leaving that essay until the day before it’s due. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of going out, making new friends and living the University lifestyle, but you’re here to get a degree.
Tip 10: Get a part-time job
Although a full-time University schedule can feel stressful at times, I would definitely recommend getting yourself a part-time job. In my first year, I found it really useful to set myself a strict weekly budget that allowed me to go out, as well as ensure that my food was covered for the week. Although this was helpful, it didn’t leave me much space to be able to purchase books that I needed for my course, as well as extra money to do what I wanted with. A part-time job saved my social life at University. Not only did it give me the freedom to go out with friends outside of my studies more often, but it also enabled me to buy myself nicer meals for dinner. Trust me, this will make all of the difference when you are used to eating ramen noodles or toast four times a week!
Making mistakes is to be expected during your first year at University, it can also be extremely exciting to learn new skills and take those first few steps into Adulthood. University was the best decision that I have ever made, it allowed me to meet many of the best friends that I have now as well as my lovely boyfriend! It has taught me so many life skills and lessons that I will never forget and am grateful enough to pass down to you, reading this as a Fresher. Good luck with your exciting journey, keep your head down but have fun too. University will be the best few years of your young adult life, so make sure that you enjoy every second of it.
By Chloé Williamson
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