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{September 4, 2011}   How To Prepare For University

The following is based on my experiences so far. This means that anything pertaining to being in University is based entirely on advice, but advice from good sources. If you’re reading this for entry 2011 then you’re going through this all at the same time as me. I’ll revise this post sometime after Freshers finishes.

Preparing for University is mostly quite simple – you’ll be guided and prompted a lot along the way – but there are some things you need to keep in mind;

1) Things will go wrong, and that’s ok.

Something will happen to complicate proceedings. Perhaps something you thought you’d sorted comes back to bite you on the ass because you forgot to send an important form, or a deadline approaches but for technical reasons you can’t sort it out just yet. Whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter, these things happen to everyone. Don’t get stressed about it or angry, or scared even. Just do whatever you need to get it sorted out and move on. If something needs doing on a computer and you don’t have access you can text a friend or family member with the details. If you do get stressed, talk to someone (which leads me on to…)

2) Best not to go it alone.

The more people you talk to about it, the better prepared you’ll be and the better you’ll feel. Have a chat with friends and come up with good things to bring, talk with people who’ve already been through Freshers about their experience and what to or not to bring. One incredible resource for all your Freshers & Uni-related issues is TheStudentRoom.co.uk. If you have any worries or queries you can look here for specific advice, you can chat with other students, learn more about your University and what it’s actually like to live there, and make friends before you arrive.

3) Start sorting out the big details ASAP.

Student residence applications need your attention as soon as you’re given the opportunity. The sooner you apply, the more likely you are to end up staying in the place you wanted. Thankfully, the hardest part of this process should be choosing where you want to stay. Student loan applications should also be dealt with quickly – some processes such as confirming you as a student (& therefore allowing you in) can’t go forward unless your University has had confirmation from the loans people that your application’s legit & finished. Start early and you shouldn’t have any problems. Lastly, look on your University’s Union website and look into Freshers week dates and events. Some Universities start Freshers earlier than others, some require you to buy access to certain Freshers events and if you buy early you can get big discounts. Not actually urgent but it could save you a lot.

4) Remember what Freshers is for.

The whole point of Freshers is to get students settled in and to get their new lives sorted out. While accommodation and loans can’t wait, everything else can, and in fact could help you make new friends when you arrive by going through it all together.

5) Spare a thought for the little things.

That being said, it’s good to keep in mind what little jobbies you’ll need to complete at some point.

  1. Insurance
  2. Student Bank Accounts – not necessary, but they give out freebies, so you’ll want to shop around.
  3. What to bring vs. What to buy when you get there – if you’re in shared accommodation, it may be a good idea to buy items like cooking equipment when you get there. Once everyone in your flat has arrived & unpacked, you’ll know exactly what’s missing & you can go on a shopping trip together to fill in the gaps. You don’t want to end up with 3 woks and no pots.
  4. Get your student card – you’ll get this shortly after arrival. This is the wonder-card that’ll get you discounts, access to student events, and more.
  5. Pick your societies – In Freshers there’ll be a Society Fayre where you can browse about & decide which you want to join, but seeing as some Universities have over 200 societies you may want to look for a list online to peruse beforehand.
  6. If you like, get prepped for job hunting – your student union will be equipped to help you find good student jobs and offer you jobs within the university. The earlier you start, the easier it’ll be to get the best jobs & the sooner you can start earning (& spending :D)

Well I hope I’ve been helpful, if you have any tips you’d like to add, please don’t hesitate to add a comment! xox

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