The summer after finishing your final exams and before the beginning of university is a very exciting time but it is important that you properly prepare for your studies so that you get off to the best start possible.
1.Learn to budget
It is not the most exciting lesson to learn but you will thank yourself later that you took the time to really think about how much money you will need to spend each month. Consider how much money you already spend on going out with friends. For most students leaving school this is likely to be your largest expense, which may be balanced harmoniously with a part-time job. Living independently is very different. There are a whole host of factors you need to account for: accommodation, groceries, travel and homeware essentials. Whilst you will probably not accurately know your living costs until you’re actually living at university, starting to think about how you can manage your finances is always a good idea.
2.Sort you accommodation
The process differs depending on the university but most require you to submit an online application for accommodation. This may have been due prior to receiving your results, but there may be the opportunity to change if you are unhappy with where you have been allocated. Be honest with both your application and yourself about your living preferences – this will help to ensure that you are allocated to a flat with other students that share similar interests, and that you are more likely to get the halls that you really want.
3.Do your research
Although you will have researched your course when you were applying, go back and remind yourself why you applied in the first place. Have they published more information about the modules on offer? Can you get ahead of the game and start to do some of the core reading on the various topics you will be covering? This will not only help you feel more prepared during the first semester, but will also hopefully make you look forward to the start of classes and ensure that you can make the most of Freshers’ Week!
4.Live independently at home
Whilst some people may be used to taking on certain responsibilities at home, others may never do their own washing until they have moved away. Make your mum proud and start doing your own washing, cooking and grocery shopping – at least a few times a week to begin with. Getting into the habit will make it easier to adjust to the change at university, and will make you appreciate the time you spend at home even more!
5.Register for Discount Cards
The first few weeks at university can be a very busy time, so whilst you are waiting to start this summer, it is a good time to think about how you can save money. By signing up now, you can take full advantage of being a student, especially as it takes a little while for the cards to be issued and sent to you. Make sure to register for an NUS card for great student discounts as well as UNIDAYS. If you are living in London, think about getting an 18+ Oyster Card or if you know you will be travelling home frequently or to see your friends, make sure you order a 16-25 railcard!
6.Use Social Media
Though you might not be going to university with any of your close friends, chances are that someone you know is studying at the same place. If you can’t meet up in person, send them a message on Facebook, Instagram or Email and don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you may have! It is a good idea to get in contact with as many people as possible so that you will already know someone when you first arrive!
Even if you don’t manage to do these things before you start in September, you will feel better by just thinking about what you need to do to prepare. Remember that even though starting at university can be overwhelming, it is also incredibly exciting and you will learn how to do all of these things in your own way.
- By Lili Melvin