Summer’s over and universities up and down the country are opening their doors once again to welcome a new batch of students.
However, starting university presents challenges – on the journey through your first week, and indeed through the year ahead.
The level of independence most people experience at university will be a whole new thing to them, so there are plenty of things to think about before you set off.
University residences require you to apply for accommodation, and if you haven’t already done so then the chances are you will need to do it ASAP. Remember, it is often first come first served.
However, some people may have applied for university and not got the grades, so there should still be rooms to go around.
First things first: open your student bank account as soon as possible. Try to find a bank with branches near your university.
Draw up a budget for your first few weeks. A lot of new students spend too much on alcohol and other non-essentials, which means they don’t have much cash left for further activities, food and so on. Make a list of your expenses and set limits on how much you can spend each week.
What to pack
Find out what is provided with your accommodation, including bedding, towels, kitchen supplies and appliances. If you’re going catered, you will still have to make your own lunches and sometimes weekend meals as well.
Depending on how easy it is for you to return home, you may need to pack both your summer and winter wardrobe. Be mindful of the fact that you may have limited storage space, so it’s better to do lots of laundry than have stacks of clothes covering the floor.
Lastly, don’t forget cleaning supplies. While most university residences employ cleaners, they are likely to refuse to clean anywhere that is too filthy.
Many universities will have sprawling campuses, which can be confusing at first. Find a good map and jump on a tour if one is offered so you know where everything is. You may even discover facilities you didn’t know existed.
Make a point of exploring the local area as well, especially if it’s not a place you’re already familiar with. New cities can be tricky to get around, and it’s best to go out in a group so you’re not alone if you get lost.
Going out can be a daunting experience for a fresher, as you’ll be meeting lots of new people. Make sure you chat to everybody on your corridor. Knock on their doors and introduce yourself.
Try to go to as many social events as possible. It may be a little tiring, and you’re unlikely to remember everyone afterwards, but the more people you meet now the more you will recognise around campus and can chat with later on.
Finally, remember to get your tickets early for popular events, as they will sell out quickly and you don’t want to be disappointed.