Yesterday we featured a post on how to prepare for your gap year, but today we’re focusing on those of you taking the plunge straight away. Whether you’ve got the A level results you needed to get onto your course of choice or you’re hoping to pick up a space through clearing, there are certain things you need to think about before you start your life at university. Leaving home can be exciting and daunting in equal measure, but if you follow at least some of these tips, the whole process might be slightly less stressful…
Learn to Budget
Boring we know, but that student loan will only go so far if you’re going out every night of the week, and you might need some of it for slightly more essential things. Like food. It’s good to have at least some idea how much you’ll have to spend each week and what extra costs you’re likely to incur, such as bus fares and phone plans. Remember, it’s ok to spend some of your money on going out, just not all of it. And on the subject of money…
Look into Part Time Jobs
These days having a part time job to supplement your loan is a necessity for many, but depending on where you’re going to university, the job situation can be very varied. Large towns and cities will obviously have more opportunities, but it’s well worth checking out vacancies at student unions before you arrive – not only is there more possibility of getting working hours favourable to students, but they also might be closed during the holidays if you want to head back home.
Learn to Cook
Unless you get a place in catered halls, you really need to know how to create more than just cheese on toast. We’re not saying you have to be a whizz in the kitchen, but brushing up on the basics such as easy pasta sauces, stir fries, and simple homemade soups can keep you nourished and therefor in reasonably good health. It’s worth practicing a few dishes before you go, and maybe concentrate on ones in which most major food groups are represented because it’s important that you look after yourself. And if you need to get stocked up on all your basic kitchenware with which to achieve this culinary skill, Argos voucher codes have many different options at great prices.
Learn Some Basic Life Skills
Although cooking also comes into this category, we thought we’d mention a few other life skills that you might not have thought of. Ever put a wash on before? Kept on top of the dirty dishes without the help of a dishwasher? Cleaned a toilet? From now on you will have to do all these things for yourself. From now on, you ARE the dishwasher. These are all things that you might have taken for granted up until now, but if you fall behind on them you could find yourself in a spot of bother, and by that we mean having no clean underwear or being forced to eat your tuna pasta bake with a teaspoon. None of these tasks take too long to do, so please don’t put them off.
Look for Student Savings
One of the best things about being a student is that you usually get so much of life’s essentials at a much better price. Your NUS card will act as a passport to discounts with loads of your favourite stores, but there are other things you should look out for. For example, you can usually get much cheaper gym membership by using university facilities, and investing in a Young Person’s Railcard gets you a third off your fares – great if you plan on travelling home by train on a regular basis.
Save on Your Tech Essentials
When living at home, you’re probably used to having your pick of digital devices, but going to university means you might have to prioritise or upgrade. A good quality laptop is a must – not just for study but also for all your viewing purposes. Many tech providers offer those much-needed student discounts, but if you don’t want to buy brand new, look into the price of refurbished models – Currys promo codes have a few different options if you’re not sure where to look first. Also, think about whether you really need that top-of-the-range phone and package – could you manage with a cheaper plan and model?
Stock up on Homeware Basics
As well as that kitchen equipment, you’re going to need some homeware essentials to recreate all those home comforts. A duvet and at least 2 sets of bed covers are a must, but also a desk lamp and a couple of extension leads just in case your accommodation is a bit short of power points. Soak and Sleep discount vouchers can offer good discounts on duvets where the quality is a cut above the usual if you don’t want to cut back on your tog rating, and you might also be able to pick up some stylish covers while you’re there too.
So now that’s all the boring stuff out of the way, you can concentrate on what being a student is really all about. Yes, studying! What did you think we meant?
By Anna Scott, 18th August 2016