Starting university is an exciting time, but it can also be quite daunting, especially if this is your first time living away from home. Making sure that you’re ready for the next year ahead, can help take away the stress and nerves of moving into your new halls. This blog should give you some great tips on what you should do before you kick start your university journey!
Going to uni is an exciting time: you’ll be getting ready to make new friends and study a subject you’re actually passionate about. There’s a lot to think about, from moving to a new town away from your family and friends, to studying a degree and living on your own for the first time. Be rest-assured it’s completely normal to feel anxious, it’s a big step but you’re not alone, thousands of students have been in the same boat as you but once you’ve settled in, you’ll soon start having the time of your life!
I’ve pulled together my top 5 tips on how to prepare for your first year of Uni, to help you feel ready for the year ahead!
Do you really need it?
When moving into new halls, it’s tempting to try and pack the entire contents of your room and wardrobe, but when you get to uni you’ll find you won’t have enough space to store it all, and you really only needed half of what you brought with you. Whilst there are some home essentials that you will almost definitely need, bringing an extra set of pots and pans that you think you might need will just end up clogging up car space and space in your cupboards at uni. Making sure you separate what you might want to bring with you, and bringing what you actually need can help you make your room feel more spacious and less cramped like your room at home. When moving into halls, universities normally have an accommodation pack where you can find what will be provided so you can save space in the car for essentials.
Making sure that you have your finances sorted before you start your course in September is essential, unless you can support yourself financially until your first installment gets paid to you. Your maintenance loan which will help cover your living costs such as accommodation and any other extras, gets paid into your account in three installments, typically at the start of each term. However applying for finance can take around 4 to 6 weeks, which is a long time not to have money, especially if you’re moving to a new area and haven’t secured a part-time job yet! It’s also beneficial to open a new student bank account, with many offering great freebies such as a coachcard - save a ⅓ on national express coaches, 16-25 year old railcard - save 30% on your travel fairs, and many more!
You can find out more about student finance on our website, and apply for your loans via the Government website.
Get to know your peers/flatmates
Speaking to friends and family who have already graduated, and finding out about their experiences and what their top tips are is a great way to feel like you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. Ultimately this is your uni experience, and all the people you engage with will play an important part in it so using social media is a great way to get an idea of who you’ll be living with for the next year and share your excitement of starting together in September! A couple of ways to do this is through The Student Room, which is a good way to find out who will be going to your chosen university, on top of this joining the PCSA (Pearson College Student Association) page on Facebook is a great way to meet your fellow students and hear up-to-date information about Freshers Week, what events are going on at the uni and you can ask about any enquiries you may have!
Choose your accommodation wisely
Choosing whether or not you’ll be living in halls at your chosen university or you’ve decided to live at home and commute, it’s important you make the right decision for you and don’t be influenced by what your friends are all doing. My friends all moved into halls and are loving their experience, but financial and personal reasons I decided that commuting in was the right decision for me (read more in my living at home blog) and I still believe that going into my final year! London is a great city and is only a train ride from home, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the experience and I’m saving on accommodation costs! It’s about finding what’s right for you, and you can always decide to move back home or move in with new flatmates after your first year, so there’s always options.
Although you might want to impress your new uni friends, it’s important that you be yourself throughout! There’s no point trying to be someone you’re not and joining in activities with that you don’t feel comfortable with. Uni is a big place and you’re certain to meet like-minded people by joining societies and clubs that interest you!