In this second part of the Gabbitas Guide to University series, we look at the practicalities of arriving at university and key things to do or think about in those first few weeks away from home.
Before you arrive
You can see what we recommend to pack before you head to university here.
We would also suggest revisiting the welcome emails from your university to make sure you have all the information you need ahead of making the move. We also recommend following their various social media channels to keep up to date with their advice and updates. If available, have a look at your timetable in advance so you know what your schedule will look like.
Do some research into the best student bank account deals and, if you can, set this up in advance. See below for some more top tips about managing your finances.
When you get there
Our number one tip is to move into your halls as soon as you can. Friendships are formed quickly in halls and you don’t want to be on the back foot here. Be brave and leave home as soon as possible.
With this in mind, make sure you put yourself out there and don’t keep yourself hidden in your room. Remember, everyone is in the same boat so get out there and introduce yourself.
When you are not out there making friends, make sure you get unpacked and your room sorted in those first few days. The first few weeks are jammed packed and a case of home sickness is inevitable, so make sure your room is as homely as possible.
If you need help – ask! Universities have brilliant student support teams to help anyone who might be struggling in those first few weeks, so do use them if you need them.
Wherever you go to university, it is unlikely to be as safe as home so make sure you take appropriate precautions. Some key tips to remember:
- Keep valuable items such as phones out of sight, even when walking down streets
- Avoid travelling alone in secluded areas at night
- Walk facing the traffic so you can see oncoming cars
- Be extra vigilant when using cash machines and protect your pin
- Never leave your drink unattended
- Let someone know where you are when you are out
- Only use authorised taxis
On the first few days make sure you get out and about to start to get familiar with your surroundings. For example, in your halls it would be worth sussing out where the laundry room is, the nearest library etc. Then hunt around for the nearest supermarket and perhaps test your route to your lectures.
Once familiar with your surroundings, make sure you check out the Freshers Fair! This is a great opportunity to find out what societies are on offer in your university, trust us some are very weird and wonderful! These fairs are also full of freebies so you can stock up on pens and other stash to your hearts content. Societies are a really great way to make friends so make sure you take this opportunity to either continue with something you love or try something completely new!
There will be plenty of events on during the first week from movie nights to bar crawls to fancy dress parties, make sure you get involved and make the most of your time without lectures.
For international students arriving in the UK, make sure you set up a bank account as soon as you can. Take time to research the best deals, there will be lots of information out there at the beginning of term. If you are taking out a student loan, make sure it has been deposited in your account.
Living in a big city can typically add 20% to your costs so once you’ve budgeted, make sure you stick to it. If you think you might not have enough to survive, it is time to look for a part time job!
Read more about keeping on top of your finances here.
In the next part of this blog series, we will be looking at study tips for university. Look out for the next blog!