Starting University: A Practical Guide

Anxiety over starting university is common, but remember everyone is in the same boat! Here’s some advice on how to make your debut in university life as smooth as possible.

If you’re living away from home, particularly for the first time, you’re going to want to personalise your accommodation. Whether you’re living in halls or any other type of shared residence, personal touches will help you settle in quickly and make you feel a little less homesick. Bring photos of loved ones, pets, your favourite celebs. Whatever floats your boat. Bring your own bed sheets, your favourite pillow, a soft toy. The sooner you start to make your room yours, the sooner it becomes your home. At first your room will seem cold and bare, but once you’ve unpacked it’ll seem much more inviting. If you plan on decorating your room with loads of photos, Freeprints is a fantastic app! With 40 free prints per month (just pay postage) and super cheap prices after those 40, I highly recommend it. Use invite code “djones973” at sign up to earn 5 free bonus prints.

If you have an ensuite, remember to stock up on toilet roll before you arrive at your accommodation. Bring towels no matter what your bathroom situation as you don’t want to wait a few days before you’re able to shower (your flat mates and course mates will thank me).

Remember that if you will be sharing a kitchen, space is very limited. Don’t bring more than what you need: three forks, three knives, and three spoons is plenty, as is two large plates, one small plate, and a couple of bowls. Also, for days that you’re short on time or feeling lazy (or you’re majorly hungover), invest in some instant meals like pot noodles or tinned beans. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Before you start uni, buy some long(er) life food items, such as pasta and sauce. This will help you out the first few days as you get your bearings and figure out where the local shops are. Ikea and Argos are great sources of cheap cutlery and cooking utensils.

Speaking of limited space, if your room is anything like mine, space will be tight and storage will be limited. Don’t panic! Buy some cheap space savers, like over door hooks. For additional storage space find plastic storage towers on Amazon (they’re easy to assemble and disassemble, provide loads of extra space while taking up little room, and they’re cheap). I use this “deer antler” jewellery tree that I found on Amazon as a cheap but totally cute way to store all my jewellery and keep it organised. If you have room for it, a shoe rack may be a good idea to keep your floor clutter free. Invest in a desk tidy to keep your work place clean and neat, it’ll help you knuckle down and study (or use old glass jars for a cheap, chic alternative). My favourite space saving storage item is, by far, my 360 degrees spinning cosmetics and toiletries organiser. It stores loads, from my lipsticks to my makeup removal and skin care routine items, while taking up little space and looking really cool! You can find it here on Amazon.

Many students worry about their financial situation. If you’re worrying, check out my guide to surviving on a student budget here.

Scared about making friends? So was I. So was everyone I’ve spoken to. Try venturing out into the kitchen around common meal times, sign up to clubs and societies, attend any social events relating to your course. Not everyone you meet will be your cup of tea, but I guarantee you’ll start making friends in no time as you find common ground, no matter if that’s a mutual hatred of one of your lecturers or a love of the same flavour of Ben and Jerry’s.

Keep on top of your work. Enjoy Fresher’s week, take a few days to figure out the whole “living as an independent adult who has to cook meals and do their own laundry” thing, then get settled into a routine to ensure you don’t fall behind with your course. Keep track of deadlines and start work early. Remember you’re at university to get a degree, not just drink and do things your parents certainly wouldn’t approve of.

 

Remember to have fun, but work hard. Find a good balance. Good luck and enjoy university!

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