If you’re off to uni this autumn, make sure you tick these off your list first
After results day’s been and gone, it’ll only be a matter of weeks before you’re standing on the doorstep of your halls, waving off your parents. If you think you’re prepared now, think again!
Make sure you’re Freshers-ready come September by sorting these essentials.
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1. Arrange a catch-up with your friends
Your socialising options might be a lot more limited than usual this year, but you can still make sure to hang out with your closest friends over the summer.
You’re not going to be seeing your mates as often once you’re at university, so whether it's over a zoom call or a socially distanced park meet-up, it's definitely worth spending a bit of quality time with your pals before you head off.
2. Check out the area you’ll be living in
Give yourself a headstart by getting onto Google and searching for the best places for students new to the city, or find your uni on TSR and ask others who’ve lived there for their recommendations.
It’ll be really useful to know the basics before you start. What’s the easiest way to get to uni? Are there night buses to get you home after a late one? Which supermarkets are in walking distance? If you know the answers to these before moving, your new city won’t feel so alien when you arrive.
3. Get ready for halls
Pretty soon, you're going to be living amongst a whole bunch of other students, and peace and quiet will seem like a thing of the past...
Get ready for the transition by setting up some kind of insurance policy to protect your belongings against theft or damage (but check your halls don't have this included first.) It's also a good idea to get together all of your relevant documents: acceptance letters, enrolment info, accommodation booking confirmation and anything else that's handy will ensure there's no mix-ups or delays on moving day.
Make sure you also check what your halls provides. Many universities and accommodation providers will include an automatic level of insurance cover in the room. Some come with toasters, kettles and everything you could ever need, others just provide the basics.
Check out your halls' website for more info, or find and chat with other students staying in your accommodation here.
4. Learn some basic life skills
Be honest with yourself – how sharp are your day-to-day life skills? Which setting should the washing machine be on? How long do eggs need boiling for? Can you reheat rice or will it kill you? All these questions can boggle the mind when Mum or Dad aren’t in shouting distance.
Learn a few basic, scurvy-preventing recipes before you fly the nest, and maybe (if you don’t already) have a go at doing your own washing and changing a bed or two. It’ll make the transition to home-alone a lot simpler.
5. Read up
If you’ve got time to kill over the summer, making a start on your reading list will help you feel more prepared. If you make a dent in it now, you’ll be much more clued-up for when you first start, and it will probably make your first assignments more straightforward.
Plus, if you get your books now, you might be able to charm your folks into paying for them.
6. Take lots of photos
When you’re a couple of hundred miles away and missing home, having some photos of your mates or family on your cork board will really help.
A collage of photos will make you smile after a long day, and make your new room feel so much more homely.
7. Work out your budget
Even if you’ve had a part-time job for years, budgeting at uni is a completely different kettle of fish. Long gone are the days of splashing the cash on whatever you want – now you’ve got rent, bills, books, transport… and that’s without any of the stuff you actually want to spend money on.
You’ll likely have a rough idea of how much loan you’re expecting, so sit down and work out how much you can spend each week until your next loan installment. Think about necessities first, and then how much you can spare on beer and other nice things. Or just check out these budgeting tips and spreadsheets if you could do with a little guidance.
8. Look up the weather
You might not be flying abroad, but that doesn’t mean the weather won’t change significantly a few hundred miles down the M1.
Packing your case full of summer items seems sensible in mid-September when it’s still warm-ish in your hometown, but a decent waterproof jacket and some winter clothes might just save you from hypothermia when you discover your uni has some bizarre Arctic microclimate.
Take a variety of clothes for different temperatures and you should just about last until Christmas. And if not, you can always hit up your local Primark.
9. Plan your Freshers Week schedule
You know this already, but the standard Freshers Week parties are going to be a bit more thin on the ground in 2020. Instead, many unis will be focusing specifically on virtual Freshers events - check your uni's student union page to find out more about these. Try some out and see who you meet. The more people you talk to, the more you'll find out about the unofficial real-life events that will be going on.
Know of any amazing events happening at your uni? Find your uni and add it to the relevant discussion, or start your own Freshers chat to let others hear about it.
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10. Get your life admin in order
Whether it’s setting up a student bank account or telling your manager you’re done with serving pizza, tying up all your loose ends and ensuring you're ready for ‘adult life’ will be much easier to handle when you’re still at home without a ton of deadlines looming.
Make a list of things you need to do before you leave, like buying a railcard to discount your trips home, or registering at a new doctors, and try to get as many done before you set off as possible. That way, you can focus your energy on settling in and exploring your city when you arrive.
11. Use our ULTIMATE LIST to make sure you’ve got everything you need
Chances are, you’re either going to embarrassingly overpack or severely underpack when you leave for uni. If you don’t want this to happen, have a browse of our ultimate 'what to take to uni' checklist so you don’t miss anything obvious.
Remember, unless your parents are moving home or disowning you, the entire contents of your bedroom do not need to be bundled into the back of the car. You’ll be visiting at some point, so just take your own personal necessities and collect anything else you need another time.
Once you’ve got the monster-task of packing ticked off, all that’s left to do is enjoy Freshers Week!