On Friday, I said that preparation is the key to getting a solid start to university life.
So today, here are nine things you can do in preparation before you turn up to register for several years of goodness:
- Find out about your Student Union and the people in it who are representing you. Your SU website should give you more information on what’s happening and who is involved.
- Start learning what it means to clean up and cook and wash stuff. You might be able to take your dirty clothes home for a wash, but Mum & Dad aren’t going to wash your dishes every day. And it’s too boring (and expensive) to have Pot Noodles and ready meals day in, day out.
- Read up on all the bumph your university has sent you. Even if it doesn’t all make sense without a context, don’t worry. Just take in what you can. You’ll be glad you did it sooner rather than later.
- Start budgeting. If you’ve got an idea how much your rent’s going to be and what money you need to set aside for various things, write it down so you’re not shocked when you arrive and the money flows out just as quickly as it came in.
- Sort out a bank account if you haven’t already. See more about this from my recent post on using your cash wisely.
- Do a bit of research on your local surroundings. Find out what the trains and buses are like where you’ll be. See what clubs are nearby (and which are worth going to!). Get the low-down on what shops are around, from what will become the regular supermarket jaunt, through to the sneaky 24-hour shop when you need emergency alcohol supplies.
- Visit the place if you can. Not just the uni, but also the surrounding area, local town, etc. You might be off there in a matter of days, but if it’s not too great a distance, try to get a daytrip (or weekend) out of it with your parents and scope the place out. Get a feel for the area so it’s one less thing to worry about when you get there. You may even be able to suggest stuff to the less clued-up new students, which won’t hurt your popularity!
- Stay calm and build your excitement. I’ve spoken to incoming students this year who can’t wait to get involved in uni life. I’ve spoken to others who are nervous and overwhelmed, not knowing what to expect. Just try to enjoy the build-up and go there with an open mind and a ‘ready for anything’ attitude. University is about YOU, so let that sink in and be your own master.
- Treat everyone as an equal. If you don’t already do this, wipe the slate clean and get ready to meet a crazy selection of people. Some will be the perfect friends for life, others will be hysterical and brilliant enigmas, yet others will be so strange you’ll never thought that type of personality existed. But you’ll all be in the same boat when you get to uni, so be prepared to give everyone a fair chance in the coming weeks.
Since we’re so near to 10 tips, here is one more thing you can do:
Start using The Student Room if you haven’t already. It’s a fantastic source of goodness for students. I’ve long been a fan of this site.
There are many other things you can do to prepare. What do current students think? In hindsight, what would you have done to better prepare yourself for the new experiences awaiting you?