18 Aug 2016
One of the first things you need to do before university is deciding where you want to live, if you haven’t already. This is the perfect time to get your head around where your essentials are if you’ll be moving somewhere new. How far will you be from campus? Can you walk or will you need to get the bus? Where will most of your lectures be? Where’s the nearest supermarket? If you get chance, it’s a good idea to do a bit of a trial run so you don’t end up stranded and out of noodles during freshers’ week.
You’ll usually receive details of your accommodation a few weeks before freshers’ week and sometimes it will list the names of your housemates. It’s a great idea to find the group for your halls and get chatting to people before you get started – we all know it’s much less scary to chat to people online than in real life! It means that come moving day you’ll already have a couple of talking points.
Even if you’re going to be in catered halls, there’s definitely going to be a point where you will need to be able to cook more than Pot Noodles and frozen pizzas. Five recipes should be enough to get you started. Pick recipes that are easy to make, involve reasonably cheap ingredients and that you won’t mind eating multiple times a month. Then, once you’ve got those mastered, learn 5 more. Good basics are a pasta dish, a stir fry, omelette , jacket potatoes, fajitas and a curry.
You definitely don’t want to be that person walking round in a pyjamas top under a hoodie three weeks in because you’ve been too nervous to use the washing machines in your halls. Before you go, make sure you have a good idea of how a washing machine works to avoid shrinking your favourite jumper.
Once your semester starts there’ll be no time to read for pleasure, so if you really want to tackle War and Peace, or just re-read all the Harry Potter books, this is your time!
You’ll usually get a list of your required reading sent over when you accept your place (or it will be available online). It’s a good idea to get started on these as soon as you can. You’ll be way too busy having fun and meeting new people in freshers’ week and before you know it you’ll be in a tiny seminar trying to answer questions on a book you haven’t even bought yet.
Get your student bank account opened early so you can get everything in order with Student Finance if you’ll be receiving a loan. Make sure you compare banks as many of them will have freebie offers for students, so you could find yourself with a free Amazon voucher or NUS card. It’s also worth making sure you’re getting the best deal. There’s no point having a brand new iPod and then finding out you have to pay for going into your overdraft!
From pots and pans to your favourite teddy, get started early writing a packing list so you can see what you already have, what you can borrow off your parents and what you need to buy before September. Check with your accommodation to be sure what’s allowed (there’s no point buying a brand new mini fridge only to find out you’re not allowed one in your room) and what’s already provided (no flat needs six toasters). And don’t forget to check you can transport everything easily!
The National Union of Students offer tonnes of discounts for students, from 10% off ASOS to cheaper cinema tickets and 5% off Amazon. Sign up as soon as you get your university email address to start saving right away.
If you’re moving to a city where you’re going to need the bus, unirider is your best option for unlimited student travel with Stagecoach. Travel as much as you like, whenever you like, from bars to bookshops, libraries to lectures. Pay once for the whole year, or pay by the term so you won’t have to worry about running out of bus money when your loan runs out (plus you might be able to convince your parents to buy yours for you if you get it before autumn term!).