A student's books for the new semester! Photograph: photos.com
September is here and slowly but surely the new university year is just around the corner. I can still remember receiving my A level results, initially revelling in my new found freedom and the chance to be independent at last! However, as the date moved closer the nerves set in; was I doing the right thing? I was moving away, over 200 miles from home, no one I knew was going to the same university as me and I was in a completely different country, (albeit Wales). The answer was, yes.
On the journey into Wales, my Dad decided to stop at a small tea shop; he said a peppermint tea would calm my nerves. It didn’t. If anything, I felt more nervous of the prospect of being left alone in a house full of strangers. What I quickly realised, having arrived at my new flat and met my five other housemates, was that everyone was in the same boat. We said out polite hellos to each other and small introductions of where we were from as our proud parents watched over us, interjecting occasionally with remarks and short stories of their time at university. After this initial awkwardness and once we had waved our parents goodbye, everyone soon settled into making their rooms as homey as possible and comparing the random objects, food items, clothing that their parents has insisted they should bring. In my case, my parents and sister and brother left me with a large food package full of alcohol, chocolate, biscuits and all the junk food I would need for potentially the next year; it lasted approximately a week.
As soon as the ice was broken it was so much easier to make new friends from neighbouring houses and on different courses. During Freshers' Week, don’t hold back, it is the time to make lots of new friends; admittedly many you won’t speak too again for the rest of your time at university, but it is a great way of meeting new people and settling into uni life.
What to bring?
Apart from the essentials such as clothes, food, stationery you may find the following items useful:
- Laptop - everyone has a laptop at uni, it is a great and cheal way to keep in contact with family and friends, you can catch up on all your favourite TV programmes on iPlayer and it is very practical for working on uni assignments when all the study room computers are in use.
- Alarm clock - to wake you up in time for lectures, sports/society socials, after a heavy night out or to wake you up from your power nap for another night on the town.
- Student recipe book - believe me, you are going to need to know more than one recipe that uses pasta and cheese at some point!
- Camera - whether it is on your phone or not, I guarantee you will want to catch all those crazy moments on photo and upload them onto Facebook.
- Laundry basket - you don't want a pile of stinking laundry festering in the corner of your room, it is also easier to take your laundry to the washing machine and back.
- Comfort food - being a student you will most likely be on a budget, so pack a few of your favourite food items, e.g. chocolate, sweets, desserts and biscuits, which you can gorge on whilst you spend your money during term time on more practical food items.
- Bottle opener - you will be everyone's best friend if you remember one of these, even if you don't drink.
When packing don’t forget that it is normal to miss family and friends whilst you are away so remember to take some photos or mementos to decorate your room with, as well as posters to cover the bare walls so you feel more at home.
- Student Beans - http://www.studentbeans.com/goingtouniversity - a great mini guide to being a student and starting university.
- The Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6055277/A-level-results-10-ways-to-survive-university.html - an older article but still with some useful information about surviving university.
In addition, the majority of universities will have their own Student Support Team who will be able to answer any more specific questions directly related to living at that particular university. Contact details can be found on the individual university homepage.
Where I’m at . . . I have moved onto pastures new and I am focused on getting as much experience as I can working within different workplace environments to get an idea of the career path I would like to follow. I will keep you updated with how that progresses!