January 18, 2018

Surviving your first year of university

Surviving your first year of university - photo copyright 2013 Rick Sherrell

So you’ve done the hardest part: you wrote a personal statement, agonised over checking your UCAS page every two hours, and you’ve been awarded a place at University. Now all that’s left to do is to move into your new student house and start partying. But there are a few key things to remember before you make that big jump away from your parents and into the independence that University brings.

Preparing to Move Out

Don’t forget the essentials. Know what your accommodation will have and come prepared so that you aren’t sleeping or living uncomfortably for the next few days. Remember, you aren’t staying in a hotel and bedding is a must. This includes pillows, a commodity that is surprisingly one of the most easily forgotten items when moving. After sleeping for one night with towels as a pillow, you will never forget them again.

It’s worth taking advantage of the parents one last time and accepting their offer of a quick supermarket food shop before they pull out of the parking space and leave you in your new surroundings. You may want to get on with socialising or setting up your new pad, but you will appreciate having a cupboard stocked with canned food and other goodies when you prioritise first-night drinking over food shopping and wake up with an insatiable hangover.

Finally, make sure you’ve got all the little things that are most easily forgotten. Toothbrush, laptop charger, phone charger,HDMI cable if you have a television; they’re always the things that get left behind and will just be a chunk taken out of your student loans if you have to buy another one.

Student Accommodation

Regardless of whether you come from a small or large parental home, whether you’re used to luxurious surroundings or not, you need to be prepared for the reality that student accommodation is often not the highest of standards. That’s not to say that you’ll be living in a pit, but prepare yourself to be living in completely new surroundings. There are benefits to both shared student housing or self-contained apartments in a large student block.

With the former you are often afforded more space, since the house will generally have a shared kitchen and lounge area, and in some cases even a patio. Though you’d better be ready to socialise and bare all of your untidy habits because you’ll be sharing living space and, usually, bathrooms with these people for the next few years, or until you desperately seek out new, tidier friends!

The benefits to self-contained flats are that they often have small kitchen areas and even en-suite bathrooms, though it’s worth emphasising ‘small’. This is also the drawback; your clothes will smell like that chilli that you cooked last night if you don’t secure them in a closed wardrobe. And have fun with the relentless fire alarms as somebody manages to burn toast in a drunken haze at least three times per semester at 3am.

Meeting New People

Make sure you talk to anyone and everyone; cliques are formed in the first few weeks of University, and if you don’t make an effort in this time, then you’re likely to have trouble trying to find a group to fit into later on. Even if you’re quite introverted, it’s essential that you socialise and make friends in this first few weeks.

If you’re living in a shared house or students halls, leave your door open for the first week or two. Say hello to anybody who happens past your room. It definitely works. Just don’t leave your door open if you’re not there, of course. You’re trying to be friendly, not give away your things.

Managing Your Finances

This is extremely important, as you’re supposed to be gaining independence now and don’t want to run back to your parents in desperate need of money to pay the rent. Use your student loan confirmation to plan out your weekly budget for food, socialising and paying the rent and other bills. Make sure you set aside money for academic textbooks and stationary. Have a wild night, but don’t make it a weekly habit or you’ll soon be living on pasta and cheese from the pound shop.

If you are living in a house share then make sure you make an arrangement with your housemates as soon as possible regarding the bills. Do not have the bills registered to your name alone; though you may like the people you’re living with, if they don’t have the money to pay the bills, you’ll foot the expenses and face a bad credit mark if you don’t pay.

Remember, you don’t want to start your life with a bad credit history as a result of not being able to afford the rent. But enjoy your independence and have a good few years, because then the real hard work begins.

This article has been written by Jacob Wood from UKEssays.com. Founded in 2003, it has helped students around the world with masters dissertation writing.

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