TIPS FOR STARTING UNI

Somehow, guys, we are already six days into September. Can someone please tell me how that happened?
The thing that's getting me the most is that I started university a whole year ago!! The time has flown by so fast and it's a little scary to think that I'm about to move back for my second year. I feel that the move should be a lot easier this time now that I know what I need to pack (I've made a packing list for you right here, you're welcome) and what to expect.

I want to try my best to pass this knowledge that I have acquired about starting university onto you guys who are about to embark on this wonderfully chaotic slash daunting slash exciting chapter of your lives. Are you ready for a good ol' list?

Fab, let's do this.




  1. Don't over-pack or over-buy. For a lot of you, this may be hard to stick to! It certainly was for me, and I definitely bought and packed a lot more than I needed to. But a year in, let me drum it into you!! Pack, and buy, less than you think you need, because you'll be spot on. If you buy and pack what you think you need, it will be too much. I know the excitement will get the better of you (OOH, A MINI MICROWAVE WHISK!!!) but you'll thank me later if you don't go overboard.
  2. Leave your bedroom door open during moving in/freshers week. This is a really great thing to do so that you can meet people in your flat/house/building. It's really fun saying hi to people when they're unpacking or just going over and introducing yourself so be open to that from others! 
  3. Get involved in things (but only things that you're happy to be involved in). The great thing about university, and particularly freshers' week, is that there are lots of activities to get involved in. You can throw yourself in the deep end and try something that you haven't had any experience of before, and you may love it. Make sure, however, that you're not putting yourself in a position that you don't want to be in and that you feel comfortable and happy. If your flatmates are all going out to a club, and you don't fancy it, don't feel any pressure to go if you don't want to.
  4. Do a flat/house shop with your roomies. I can't believe I just used the word 'roomies'. Moving Taylor Swiftly on...... Yes, there are some things that you won't need to buy before you move in. Kettle, toaster, washing up liquid - that kind of thing can be bought on a flat/house outing to the supermarket and you can split the cost. You can also buy popcorn and chocolate to share for a movie night together, which is just a bonus.
  5. Write things down. One of the most stressful things about starting university is that there is a heck of a lot of information thrown at you in a very short space of time. You'll come out of your first induction session and your brain will be frazzled. So this is a great excuse to go notebook shopping (YAY!!) so that you can make notes throughout your first few weeks of everything you need to know. Otherwise, I can guarantee you'll forget 89% of it.
  6. Buy a NUS card (or an equivalent student discount card). NUS cards only cost £12 each (for 12 months) and you will be surprised how many stores and restaurants and websites you can use your student discount on. You will save so much money throughout the year - I really recommend having one!
  7. Buy a rail card and/or bus card. Most of you will benefit from a 16-24 Railcard if you're going to be travelling on trains quite often (to and from home/other cities/visiting friends at other universities). You get 30% off each journey and if you regularly use the train then you'll make your money back within three or four journeys. A bus card is also really useful if your accommodation isn't on the same campus as the university buildings and if you don't have a car. Well worth getting!
  8. Make a budget. I thought I'd throw this one in whilst we're on the subject of saving money! Get an app, or a notebook, or a whiteboard... just get something that you can use to make a budget because students spend a lot of money and your student finance won't last you the month unless you're careful! Prioritise what you need more money for throughout the month and try really hard to stick to it!
  9. Don't spend all your money on alcohol. You'd think this would be an obvious one but freshers' week and student life can get the better of you! I don't drink, so I'm winning on this one!
  10. You don't have to buy every textbook. When you arrive at uni, it is very likely that you'll be given a reading list and told to buy every textbook on the list, or at least two or three, but don't fall into the trap! You'll end up spending a lot of money on something that you're going to read once. Stick to your own guns, and if you really do need to read a paragraph or a chapter of a book, borrow it from the library or buy a second-hand one from someone.
  11. Skype is your friend! Skype/FaceTime will become a life saver when you're feeling homesick. It happens to most of us! We're in a new situation, a new area, with new people, and no family around us. It's okay and perfectly natural to feel homesick, so if you do, waving to the dog on a video call will make you feel a little better.
  12. Get to know your way around. I think that if you spend the first week of settling into your new accommodation and new hometown (for most of you) and new lifestyle, and getting to know your way around, you'll feel a lot more at ease! Take a trip into town with some new friends, walk to lectures with your course mates (you will still get lost, but it helps!). 
  13. Join clubs and societies. Find something that you're interested in, something that you've always wanted to try, or something that looks really fun and just go for it! It's a great way to get involved, feel a part of the university, and of course to meet like-minded people!
  14. Make friends by asking questions. I know it's sometimes quite hard to make friends, especially if you're on the shy-er side like me! But I found that the best way to get talking to people is to ask them questions like 'what are you studying?' or if they're people on your course, ask them which class they're in. It's an easy way into a conversation!
  15. Remember everyone is in the same boat as you. You may feel nervous, apprehensive and shy when you start uni but you won't be the only one. Everyone is going to want to be liked, to make friends and to settle in, so you'll find that people are really understanding and probably very easy to talk to. You are not alone!
  16. When it feels like things are being thrown at you from every direction, remember it will soon become second nature. I think a lot of new undergraduates panic that they won't know which bus to get, or which direction their building is in, or on which floor their next seminar is taking place. WHAT EVEN IS A SEMINAR? you may be thinking. It's a lot to remember and a lot to take in but you will soon find your way around and get into a routine. It doesn't stay new and different for long and will soon become second nature.
  17. Embrace it all. The good, the not-so good, the wonderful, the awful, the 9am lectures, the 6pm seminars, the emptying bank account, the student discount, the new information, the crazy lecturers... it'll all be thrown at you, but the key is to embrace it. What will be, will be. Let it happen! It's all going to be okay.

I really hope that this blog post has given you a head-start to starting university and that you feel a little less stressed and a little more excited and confident. You're going to be brilliant, and I hope it all goes really well for you!

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