If you’re here, it means that the panic is starting to settle in; the to-dos, the shopping lists that are as long as a receipt, the clutter of boxes and shopping bags… Never fear! This is for you; parents and kids (yes, yes, you’re adults now, we know, we get it).
What you actually need.
Let’s start off easy. Every university is different, every campus is different, but what you need is essentially always going to be the same.
First off, clothes – make sure the great majority are comfortable, I promise no one cares what you’re wearing and in about a month, you won’t either. Next, get an extension cable, you never know where those sockets are going to be (usually in the most out of reach places possible). For bedding, you’re probably going to need a duvet and two pillows, and a maximum of three sets of bedsheet sets and duvet covers (the idea should be one to have on, one whilst the other is in the wash and the third as a spare).
Try not to go too crazy for the stationary, most people I know have given up writing notes and have submitted to their laptops, except for a few printouts every now and again. Make sure you have a few towels, some desk and drawer organisers to make use of every inch of space you have – because you’re gonna need it! For the kitchen, you shouldn’t need more than a saucepan and a pot you can boil things like pasta and rice in, a baking tray, cutlery, and tea towels.
A word of advice – always go in with less, you’re not moving to the middle of nowhere! You can always get more if you need it, but as you go on, you’ll accumulate quite a collection of things, and the space is really limited in university accommodation. Your room will be your sanctuary, so be kind to it.
Settling in – academically and socially.
Here are some tips that are hopefully some use to you all:
1. Be patient.
Things might be a little overwhelming. This is a new stage in your life, so be patient with yourself and with others (I’m looking at the parents and the kids). I promise everything will work out in due course, and sometimes the stage where you’re figuring everything out is the most fun.
2. Make yourself approachable and leave the rest.
Everyone is in the same boat as you. Everyone’s nervous, everything’s new to them too – so don’t panic. As long as you’re polite and friendly you’ll make friends that are perfect for you.
This might seem ludicrous, but I’m being dead serious. Ask questions, and plenty of them, from your professors and from your fellow classmates. It’s so important to get a sense of how others are handling the material, what tips they have for the reading, and how they’re finding things at the university. You’re paying to be here! Make the most of it.
4. Prioritise what works for you.
Everyone learns differently, something you’ll come to realise when you start university. Sometimes the most traditional methods – writing out all the notes ten times, reading the textbook and highlighting – may not work for you, whilst others swear by it. Trust yourself and the methods that work for you. Yes, the work will be challenging, but hopefully in an exciting way that makes you want to do better, and not in a demotivating way. If it’s demotivating you, you’re not learning in the way that is best for you.
Skills for living alone.
Let’s start off with cooking. Take it slow, try and learn the basics whilst you’re still living at home. This includes a little bit of chopping, how to make pasta, cooking eggs, maybe how to use the oven (hey! I don’t know how bad it is for you). Don’t overdo it, because you probably won’t be able to cook 3x a day and you probably won’t want to. Plan roughly what you’ll be eating through the week and allow one or two meals where you’ll be eating out. Use that to do your grocery shopping. Switch between a few easy things like frozen pizzas, pot noodles, and maybe get a few readymade salads, meal deals, and some fruits to snack through the week. If you’re not so confident with cooking incorporate it slowly – like a meal a week and I promise, you’ll get the hang of it so quickly (before you know it, honest!). Parents - the first grocery shop will always be the most, so don’t panic, I promise it’ll be ok afterwards.
With budgeting, break everything down like bills, grocery, take out, transport, education, and leisure expenses, and set a fixed amount every month. Adjust it slightly every now and again, according to how it goes in the first month. Make sure you have a unidays account and make use of that 10% student discount. Carry that student ID everywhere! You never know where they might give you a discount.
Make sure you settle your expectations. Everyone’s university experience is different, and the last thing you want to do is put so much pressure on yourself that you forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. Keep in contact with everyone back home and take care of yourself. Might I suggest to the parents, to get them a little ID card for their wallet (something that is vital to have for an emergency). Or perhaps, a bracelet with a personalised message for them to remember you by. You can shop our wonderful selection here.
That’s all folks! Fellow Uni students and parents please feel free to give a little word of advice in the comments and tell us what you think. Here’s a more thorough guide on what you need for university if you’re still a little lost.
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