Tips for starting university

Hello there!

It's coming to that time of year where people are heading back to school, college, and university; so I thought I'd share my own tips for starting a university!

I'm soon to be starting my second year at Sheffield Hallam, and I know almost everyone that goes to university says this, but it has been the best time of my life (so far). It's only been a year but I feel like I have grown so much as a person since starting.

Without further ado, here are a few tips when it comes to starting university (including some photos from my first year)...

Make a list of everything you need

When I first started to try and organise everything that I wanted and needed to take to university with me, I was a bit of a mess. I'm not a very organised person to start with, but I realised I actually needed to be at this point in time. I made multiple different lists for different categories; like bedroom stuff, and more beauty stuff I needed, food I wanted and kitchen utensils.
My best friend Becky

I've never been one for making lists to help stay organised, but since I was moving out for the first time, I figured I should at least be prepared for it. This also put my parents mind at ease if I knew everything that I needed to be taking with me.

Also, it helps to look at what accommodation you are staying in and find out what utilities they have so you don't end up with more than one thing of everything. Plus there are usually groups on Facebook to find your new flat mates if you don't know who you're going to be sharing with, as you can discuss who will bring what for the kitchen/communal area for the same reason.

When making these lists, go through them after you've finished and ask yourself, 'Will I actually need this?', as some of the time, the answer will be no. After my first year, when I went home the boxes of uni stuff sat in a room in my house untouched all summer. OOPS.

Budget well
Freshers bar crawl

Everyone says this, but honestly it is so important. I was pretty good (if I do say so myself) at budgeting. But when you first get your student loan and you see all of those numbers it's a bit overwhelming; but remember that A LOT of that will be going straight back out soon enough to pay for your accommodation.

It's normal to want to go a bit mad during freshers week; going out every night and drinking and enjoying meeting new people, but it can take it's toll. Last year I didn't go out every night as it was also nice to have nights in with my new flat mates and just chill and watch a film whilst get to know them. And personally, I don't think freshers week is all it's hyped up to be. It's nice to sit in and order a takeaway and just drink with new friends too.

ANYWAY, back onto money. Although it may seem a good idea to spend a lot of money on freshers week, it's a good idea to set aside some money especially for it as it can get quite pricey; especially when buying event tickets.

Throughout the rest of the year, because of how little student loan I had left after paying for my flat, I had to try and budget at about £30 a week, which is definitely doable if you don't plan on going out every night of the week. But it is also worth looking into getting a student bank account with an overdraft to help you along the way. I'm personally with Santander because you get £1500 interest free overdraft and a free railcard (which can save A LOT of money).

Be confident

I know, easier said than done right? Unless you're a naturally confident person of course, unlike me. I've always struggled with self-confidence, and even acting like I'm confident. But when I was thrown into the deep end with having to live with 4 complete strangers, you just have to be yourself and have them take you for who you are. It's a time to be who you want to be and reinvent yourself without any expectations from people at home.
Me and my friend got bored...

I was also lucky enough to be in the same accommodation as my best friend that moved away from my home town when I was little (although we still kept in contact, and are still best friends). This helped me A LOT, as it helped me make more friends through her and become more confident with meeting new people. She was the one to help build my confidence, as well as a couple of my other really close friends, one now being my boyfriend.

I now have a small group of really amazing people that I can call my friends, just because I tried to forget about what they thought of me. I'd just met them, so who cares if they didn't like me? There are plenty of other people that you will meet throughout your time at university, whether it be in your accommodation or on the course you're studying. You meet SO many new people during your first few weeks, it's quite overwhelming. I met some people that I have never really spoken to since, but I don't really miss them because I didn't know them and didn't grow any sort of feelings towards them; but it all adds to the experience.


Christmas tree on a budget
Although university is mainly for higher education and getting a degree in your desired field, you have to give yourself time to just enjoy it. Yes it is important to study and hand in all of your assignments on time, but it is also important to have a lot of fun along the way. 

A good way to be able to do both is to organise your time effectively. Look at your timetable and figure out the best times to study; this could be between lectures and seminars, or this could be on any day off that you have when everyone else if your flat is at university, which means no distractions. Personally, I found it a lot easier to study in the library in the quiet sections as I could still listen to my own music, but have no distractions and temptations with my friends around me.

If you're not enjoying it or keeping up with the work, ask for help. There is a big leap from college to university, with the added pressure of being away from friends and family, so don't be ashamed to admit you're struggling a bit.

Leave a comment of where you're starting university this month, or if you have any extra tips for those who are!

Thanks for reading!

Paige x

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