Going to university can be really scary, but should also be exciting. After the tense process of application and a level results, you finally have your place. You might be going to your local uni, half way across the country or even across the world. I moved from London to Norwich for uni and went straight from school (i.e. no gap year), given my holiday plans I ended up with just 1 week to get myself ready. It was a very stressful few days so my first tip would be to allow yourself plenty of time.
We had stopped using our family caravan and were beginning to think of selling it around the time of my packing, mum suggested I take the kitchen stuff plus a few other bits out of it to take away and to be honest with you I was pretty gutted. I had been looking forward to going to buy loads of stuff from Ikea and have new stuff for uni, but the next day after a trip to Ikea to buy a few other bits I was actually super grateful. I still had that ‘classic’ student shopping experience but probably saved myself over £100. I also avoided buying new bedding by seeing what we had spare at home and again saved myself a ton of money. You may not have a disused caravan but have a scrounge around the house and asked friends and relatives if they have anything you might need. You gonna need that money for books in just a few weeks!
Once you have been allocated your student digs, or found a house share try and assess how much space you are going to have. At most uni’s student accommodation is built in blocks of identical rooms so there are likely to be tonnes of pictures out there, I actually found people who had done room tours on YouTube of where I was staying so I could judge how much space I was going to have. Then you don’t bring too much! This is particularly relevant (at least to me) to your wardrobe. At home I have a massive 3 doored contraption for all my clothes plus under bed storage, there was no way I was going to fit it all in to my deep but narrow wardrobe in halls. If you are going somewhere you can pop home for a weekend then bring stuff appropriate for late summer/autumn and then do a swap for winter clothes late autumn when you visit home.
In terms of what to bring, I imagine you have already heard this but don’t bring a toaster or kettle. These will either be provided by the uni, someone else will have bought one or you will buy on as a flat, there is no need for 8 kettles and 8 toasters in 1 kitchen. Also you don’t have to buy everything before you get there, it’s quite likely your uni is in or near a city/town -you can buy stuff once you get there!
And for the other fun stuff. Take a cheap doorstop with you, you probably won’t use it after the first day or two but its super helpful to prop you door open both for getting your stuff in and to meet your new flat mates. Societies are great and I regret how long I waited to join one. Have a look online at the student unions list of societies before you go to get an idea of any you might want to join, go to the freshers fair and join more than you know you will go to. You might click with one you didn’t expect and not like the one you thought you were going to love. It’s generally ok to drop out after the first couple of weeks or join one later in the term.
In terms of the academics, unless you have received specific instructions from your course or have been strongly recommended to do something by someone you know already on your course its best just to wait till you get there to do the hard work. By all means do reading or whatever in relation to your course over the summer, but do it because you want to, because you are interested and not to prep for your course. It’s likely whatever you read or did will be irrelevant to what you do.
Good luck, work hard but most importantly have fun – its only first year!
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