Nearly 2 years ago I made the oh-so-daunting move to University which many of you will be making in the forthcoming weeks. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re moving away from home for the first time and living independently – it’s scary I wont lie to you! However, it was also the best thing I ever did! The initial move had me questioning whether moving away was the decision for me, but 2 years down the line I can confidently say that the experience of packing up my life’s belongings and flying the nest to study in an all new city that was far from the comforts of home, was invaluable to me; and if asked, I would do it again over and over and over.
Don’t be afraid to pack up and go!
Whether you’re moving locally, further afield or even across the globe – the thought of not being in the home that you are wholly comfortable with can be an unsettling thought for some, and as time rockets ahead to that all-too-soon moving in day, you may be questioning ‘what am I doing!?’. If you think this thought – as I did many a times in the short few weeks before moving away – then cast your mind back to when you made the decision to move away in the first place. Was it for the course, the location, or the pure independence? While you were dragging yourself through long and draining UCAS applications, there was something that drove you to make the choice you did, and this was what probably also drove you through acing your application, and thereafter acing your exams or assignments to get to where you are now. You held on to it then, so hold on to it now; backing out at this stage is the kind of ‘what if’ decision that promises to haunt you forever.
You don’t need as much as what you’re planning to take.
When I moved to University, I panic-brought and took 6 boxes, 2 suitcases plus loads of other things with me that I thought I couldn’t live without. Now, as I move in to my third accommodation for my final year of study, I am taking with me a fraction of that. Don’t get me wrong, decorate your room to your hearts content, but also be particular with what you need. And remember, although the student budget is tight, you will still have money – and taking food that will last you the year, (and probably thereafter) is not essential and effectively wasteful. I ended up bringing around 60% of the packaged and tinned food I took with me to University, home again… And rest assured I did not make the mistake of lugging it back with me second time round.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself!
One amazing thing I noticed when moving away to University was that cliques that existed in high school and sixth form vanished. Me and my group of friends from University have come from various backgrounds and all have varying personalities, yet still get on like a house on fire and I wouldn’t change them for the world! I was reluctant, scared even, to be myself on the first night of freshers yet after a few drinks, it was pretty unavoidable. Nevertheless, we were all in the same boat and were all just looking to make friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had a cleanse a few weeks ago of my phone contacts and found tons of numbers from people I met in freshers and just never kept in touch with – there will be many friends come and go at University but I can assure you that you’ll also find your friends for life there.
Take full advantage of freshers, but also don’t neglect your studies.
Find a balance! It sounds scary, out until 6am, in uni for 9am – but it’s also entirely worth the 5pm bedtime the next day. You’ll regret it if you don’t fully embrace the first few weeks of going out, having fun and making friends. But you’ll also regret missing the vital first few weeks of University that will set you up for the year. Maybe on paper it doesn’t sound like good advice but somehow managing to smash both in first year was something I did at the start of Uni and certainly did not regret.
Be sensible with your money.
The ‘skint student’ life doesn’t have to be as daunting as so many believe it is. If you pre-plan and budget what you get from your loan and your additional incomes then you’ll find you’ll actually have a lot more to live off than you think. Whilst tempting, if you don’t fancy living off beans for the month then don’t blow all your money in student sales and freshers. You’ll love yourself much more when the majority of students are barely scraping by until loan day, and you’re still living comfortably due to a little bit of organisation. If your loan doesn’t cut your budget, then find a part-time job. Chances are, if you’re moving away for University you’re going to be moving to quite a big area where the opportunities for jobs should be a plenty, especially in the first few weeks of “student time”. Spend an afternoon applying online and handing out CV’s, get yourself out there – you might find something you really like! If you’re struggling really badly, most Universities offer a non-repayable student support fund to help those who are really in need of some extra cash. I would recommend doing some research before moving so you have that knowledge to hand if you really need it. Be prepared for some heavy form filling out, though!
Most importantly, you should know that Uni (well for me anyway) has been the best experience of my live and I’ve loved every part of it. The education and experience you get is invaluable, but also the memories you make will last for life – as will the friends. Don’t get me wrong, in the first few weeks you’ll feel home sick, second guess your decisions and probably have a few breakdowns. We’re only human and it happens, the best advice I can give is power through, meet up with your friends, go out, embrace your new home, embrace the new subject you’re studying, fall in love with the decision you made and fall in love with the decision. I promise you will not regret it!
Love from Jessie x