Like thousands of others, I’m heading off to university this autumn. Also like thousands of others, I have no idea what I’m letting myself in for. Thus, I’ve created a helpful guide to getting through the first few weeks as a fresher- I know about as much as you do so at least we can look foolish together.
1. Sort Out your Finances Early: Although overdrafts may seem scary (who even knows what they are anyway?), they can actually come in pretty handy when your rent’s due and you’ve had one to many nights out on a bender. Banks are like poachers for students as they are expected to earn a higher salary than average when they graduate (expected being the operative word) and stash their millions with them. Make sure you shop around before deciding on a bank. More information about student bank accounts and overdrafts, as well as a shortlist of the best student accounts, visit http://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-banking/student-bank-accounts.html
DON’T: Stick with your normal bank account before deciding a week before you head off to university that as a student, a student bank account would probably be ideal.
2. Get Your Packing Done Early: It might be hard to believe, but packing a year’s worth of stuff for uni is a bit different to packing for a two week holiday in Menorca. Although it’s boring to buy and pack, essentials such as pots, pans, and yes, even toilet roll, are necessary. Avoid buying in bulk too- they’ll be plenty of shops near your university.
For a list of things to take to university, visit http://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/what-to-take-to-university.html
DON’T: Decide to pack a few days before you head off, when neon glow sticks take presidency over coat hangers.
3. Pay a Visit to your University: If you don’t live too far away from your university, take a trip down there to remind yourself of the campus. It probably looks a lot different from that time it was crawling with only the enthusiastic students at the open day a year ago. Some universities will even let you see the accommodation you will be staying in. It will give you and your parents’ peace of mind- trust.
DON’T: Drag your family all the way from Cornwall to the University of Edinburgh for you to say “it’s just how I remembered it, shall we go back home now?”
WHEN YOU GET THERE
1. Don’t Leave Your Parents at the Door: They have nurtured and raised you for the past 18 years, so you may as well take them out for lunch. If not the whole shebang, then at least let them help you unpack.
DON’T: Say “okay then Mum and Dad, bye,” followed by slamming the door in their face to try and be cool in front of your new flatmates, when really you’re just trying not to tear up at the prospect of the parents leaving you to fend for yourself.
2. Freshers’ Week is Crazy, but Be Sensible: No parents, alcohol and a thousand other rowdy teenagers is as good excuse as any to go bonkers. But don’t use it as an excuse to act like an idiot- an actual idiot, not a funny one. So, just because uni students are expected to drink until they’re blue in the face and eat microwave pizza every day, doesn’t actually mean you have to.
DON’T: Be that person. No one wants to be that girl or guy that gets so drunk they can barely stand, and then, in the words of the wise Katy Perry, “going to bed with a 10 and waking up with a 2” Although it may seem like fun at the time, it really, really won’t come the morning after.
3. Be Super Friendly: Even if in real life, you’re a super bitch, now is the time to let that go in order to make new friends fast. Invest in a doorstop so your new flatmates are free to wander in and say hello. Offer to make the tea- tea is a great bonding stimulant. If you’re really feeling like putting the effort in, bake some cookies. Who doesn’t love free food?
DON’T: Stay in your room like a hermit crab waiting for the strange people who are inhabiting your space to leave- get the awkward part over with now and the rest will fall into place.
4. You’ve Got Time: Meaning you don’t have to join every single society and go to every single freshers event, your energy levels, not to mention you’re bank balance will suffer.
DON’T: Feel the need to participate in everything. I’m sure the Star Wars society won’t mind if you miss Jedi Night.
5. Have Zero Expectations: It’s hard to remain completely neutral but when it comes to completely alien situations like these, don’t expect the worst or the best. Expect nothing- if you predict that your flatmates are going to be your friends for life, you’ll only end up sadly mistaken when you realise you can’t stand being in the same room as them. Don’t listen to what everyone else says, everyone has their own unique university experience, so try and enjoy it before the debt starts to roll in, hey?
Good Luck at University!
Love Georgia x
Still stressing? www.savethestudent.org offers great tips on everything from freshers’ week to money troubles.