Friday, 27 June 2014

Top Ten Tips for Moving Away to University

In September of last year I embarked on an epic journey - moving away to a different city, away from my family and friends, for university. Granted I am only about a 40 minute car journey away from my parents' house, but it's still a big change when you move away.

#1 - Pack excessive underwear. When you live in halls, and even in some private student accomodation, you have to pay to use the washing machine, and it can also sometimes be quite far away from your room. This means that you end up not doing as much washing as you'd think, so taking a lot of underwear means you'll never run out.

#2 - Be prepared to meet 'weirdos'. Often before moving away, you can get in contact with the people you'll be moving in with via Facebook. I did this and ended up being completely terrified when one of the boys who I was due to move in with was an absolute CREEP towards me. I won't go into details but needless to say I moved elsewhere in the end. However, don't let that put you off speaking to people before you move in as it's always useful to have an idea of the type of guys and gals you'll be living with, even if it's just so you don't say anything that could cause offence. But remember, there are bound to be some people you don't get along with - although there will be plenty with whom you do!

#3 - Work our your financing. This is so boring, but make sure you know the amount of student loan you'll be getting and how long you need to make it last. If you know this from the beginning and budget accordingly, there's hopefully no chance of you running out of money.

#4 - Don't take unnecessary items. For a lot of people, your room at uni will be smaller than your bedroom at home - so things like ornaments can really get in the way, and believe me you don't need to take every DVD you own, because I did that and I didn't watch half of them. Plus there's always Netflix.

#5 - Acquire some form of video chat facility. A phone call is all well and good but sometimes, when it's been a tough day, all you want is to see your mum's face (blurry and too close to the camera).

#6 - Make the effort. Even though you're the one who's moved away to a new city without anybody you know, don't expect people to constantly ask how you're getting on - you'll only be disappointed. If there are people from home that you desperately want to stay in contact with, always remember it goes both ways.

#7 - Learn some basic culinary skills. Legend has it that students live on Pot Noodles and I wish I could say this isn't true - but for the most part, it is. And microwaved baked beans. And chicken nuggets. But it can be really easy and really cheap to create meals that are both delicious and nutritious, cheesy as that sounds. I PROMISE.

#8 - Sort out your health care as soon as possible. By this I mean sign up for the doctors and the dentist, because if you get it done as soon as you move then you won't have to worry a few months down the line when you've got tonsillitis and nowhere to turn to. And beware of Freshers Flu - this is an actual thing and there is no escaping it. You have been warned.

#9 - Keep yourself busy. Whether that be actual studying, partying, joining a society (by the way, societies are lot less geeky than you might expect and everyone is really nice) - just stay busy. It's a definite way to avoid homesickness.

#10 - Stay healthy. Being ill is horrible but being ill when you're on your own is just horrendous. Drink water, take vitamins, do some exercise and get plenty of fresh air - that way you'll keep yourself in tip top condition.

Hopefully some of these tips will help some of the people who are set to move to university this year. Good luck y'all.

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