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Are You Uni Ready?

by Jessica Amey

It might seem like it’s far away if you are only just doing A-Levels now, but September will soon be upon us, and it will be time to pack up and leave home and start your next adventure. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to take in, so being prepared is crucial, so here are a few things to get you started.

Learn To Cook

If you don’t know how to cook already, then it’s a useful skill to have. There’s still time to do it and to master a few simple recipes to keep you going. You don’t want to be ordering takeaways all the time as this is expensive and unhealthy. One option is to buy ready meals, but again, this could prove costly, and they take up a lot of room in the fridge or freezer which you will probably be sharing with several other students. You’re also likely to miss the food you have at home, and even though you might not be able to make it as good as your mum does, you could ask her to teach you how to make your favourite dishes. Once you get started, it helps you to learn about cooking in general, and if you feel brave, you can start experimenting with different things. For example, instead of vegetable fajitas, you could try tofu fajitas, once you learn the makeup of a basic stew then by the end of your first year, you’ll probably be confident enough to make a nice meal out of a tin of tomatoes, some veg and a few spices. A few basic and cheap recipes to learn are spaghetti bolognaise, fajitas (just buy the box, so you get the spices, dips and wraps in with it). Then chilli, as it’s perfect for cold nights, and a quick and easy stir-fry, there you have some easy ideas such as beans on toast, or a jacket potato with cheese & beans.

Research Introductory Programs

These days you can find out what’s going on in terms of orientation programs or activities during your freshers week well before you start uni. They are really useful for helping you to settle in and meeting like minded people. It’s safe to say these first few weeks at university can be complete chaos but make sure you get involved as much as you can as it’s often the time when most students make friendships for life. You’ll meet people who aren’t on your course or in your accommodation so you might not otherwise meet if not for freshers week. Get ahead and find out what’s on before you go, that way you won’t miss any events that interest you and it would help you to meet people who have similar interests. Don’t go too wild on your first couple of weeks though, remember you’ll need your energy for when your course starts and your money will need to last you for the whole term.

Work Out Your Finances

Set a budget and try your best to stick to it! Work out how much you need to spend on food and rent, and then you can work out how much is left for you to have some fun. Make sure you find out what you’re entitled to, any student loans, grants, bursaries or overdrafts from getting a student bank account. If you think you’ll be short on money then consider getting a part-time job, just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your studies. A part time job could be ideal for giving you extra money but also another way of making friends. Again, you will meet people who are also students, in different years and on various courses that you might not otherwise meet. Plus other people who aren’t students and there’s no harm in expanding your network. See what other discounts you can get, make sure you get any student discount cards your entitled to, a SMARTY SIM student plan for your phone to keep costs down, make sure you aren’t wasting money on buying expensive coffees every day and go to student nights at bars and restaurants to make the most of the cheap deals.

Get Organised

If you’ve not already done it, or even if you have, double check that everything is sorted for your accommodation, you haven’t got to do anything, sign anything or send anything off. Whether it’s accommodation, finances, visas (if you’re studying abroad) and don’t forget to get any equipment you need for your studies – a laptop, notepad, pens, your books. Are you in self-catered accommodation? So you need kitchen crockery and pans? What do you need for your bedroom? Make a list and make sure you’re ready.

Get Reading

You will most likely have some reading to do for your course, and you should be able to find out what you’ll have to read so you may as well get ahead and start doing some now? What else have you got to do this summer? This will help you to manage your workload and know what to expect and will mean that if you do go a bit heavy in the first could of weeks partying you won’t get left behind in your course.

Get To Know Your New Mates

Before you start uni, chances are you’ll be able to find a Facebook group of people who are going to the same uni as you, are on the same course and even living in the same flat. Take advantage of this as it will make that first day a little less awkward and a little less nerve-wracking. Join in the conversation and make yourself known, then you can ask others anything you’re not sure of, there’ll be no worrying about “what if other people bring this and I don’t” as you can ask them beforehand and remember that you’re all in the same boat, so there’s no need to worry.

‘Contributed Post’

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