Moving to university was my first experience of living away from my parents. Like most people, I was a mixture of nervous and excited at the same time. There are some things that I felt really helped me to prepare for my Freshers experience.
1. Purchasing: Before moving to university, I wrote a shopping list of all the things I thought I’d need in my new accommodation. I looked at what I already had at home that I could take with me (within reason – don’t go pinching your grandmother’s wedding china or anything like that!) and I also looked at what was provided/communally available (like irons and ironing boards). Whatever was leftover, I knew I’d need to buy. Personally, I wouldn’t spend lots of money getting the top of the range stuff. Stick to the basics and shop around – lots of supermarkets have good deals on university essentials during the summer. I got lots of my items from Wilkos, Tesco and JYSK.
2. Packing: Try to pack light (university accommodation isn’t typically generous in size, so only take what you need) and try to organise your belongings in a logical way when you are packing them up. Those first few days in your new accommodation will be pretty busy and you probably won’t want to spend your time searching through poorly packed boxes to find where you put your phone charger or your frying pan!
3. Staying organised: During Freshers there is a lot going on around campus. I found that Freshers week was when I really got to grips with using a diary and a calendar properly. Plan ahead and find out what social events are going on around campus (and also in the local area/city) and diarise the ones that you’d like to attend. You’ll also want to make a note of the time and location of your seminars and lectures – don’t be that person who sleeps in and misses their first session! I think that it’s also important that you make sure you schedule a little down-time as well, it’s going to be a busy week and you want to avoid that dreaded Freshers flu if you can!
4. Connecting and communicating: Whether you’re a home bird or a social butterfly, you’re going to need to connect with those around you and build up communication channels that you are comfortable with. Prior to moving into my accommodation, I found a Facebook group for my accommodation and started talking to a few people on there. Recognising a few faces in the corridors on move-in day made it start to feel a little more like home. When we all got together in the common room on that first day, we started a WhatsApp group so that we could stay in touch easily (I saved each contact with their room number next to their name). As the year went on and we made more friends, more and more people gradually got added to this.
5. Budgeting and finance: Student loans and maintenance don’t always land in time for Freshers, so make sure you put aside a little money to see you through those first few weeks. Remember, you’ll be spending more on socialising than normal and on things like eating out and drinking (if you plan to partake). Try to budget whatever you have saved and make sure you don’t spend it all on the first day!