September has arrived, all the younger kids are preparing to go back for another year at school, and you’re sitting there at home twiddling your thumbs because you’ve still got a couple of weeks until you can start your uni adventure! The wait is absolutely agonising, but here is a small list of things to do in the meantime to get yourself in top shape for starting uni:
The Not-Quite-So-Definitive List of University Preparations:
- Find your friends
This is useful for everyone – if you’re living away from home or not. Social media is a great way of connecting with people you know, and in this case – finding people who could potentially be your future best friend. Aston creates a Facebook group each year for the upcoming freshers to join, interact with, and find people who are in the same boat as you – so you’ll be able to meet people before you arrive. Post your halls address or course (or anything for that matter! Like “I like skiing, who else is going to join Aston Snow society?”), and people will find you easily. For me, it was the best thing to get myself hyped up for uni, because I already knew all of my flatmates before I moved in! It took a lot of the emotional stress away about moving away from home for the first time and living with strangers, as I already knew who they were and a little bit about them.
- Make a list of what you want to take
This is good for remembering to get those things you wouldn’t have otherwise thought about, like your own cleaning supplies or a baking tray, but also crucial to remember all those things that are blatantly obvious! You don’t want to get out your front door on moving in day to find out you’ve left behind your favourite picture that’s sitting on your desk, or your best fluffy slippers sitting in your wardrobe because you simply forgot that you’d need to get them. As well as this, it also helps for you to work out what you will be able to get when you move in, like cotton wool or toothpaste; although it’s good to be completely prepared, you also have a limited amount of room to fit all your stuff in to move! As I’ve said – there will be plenty of places to get essentials like toothpaste and shower gel, so maybe leaving that for when you move in will make moving in a lot easier.
- Make a list of what you’re going to pack on the day
These are the everyday essentials that you need, like your hairbrush, toothbrush, deodorant, make-up, phone and chargers etc. that you can slip into a bag ready for when you leave. Something that I did a few months into the year was have a toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant etc. at my home, and also one of each in my halls, so when I visited home for the weekend I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting to bring any of them or leaving them behind.
- Prepare, but don’t over prepare!
When you start uni, you’re bound to take everything with you except the kitchen sink… literally! A lot of universities are right in the city – or are relatively nearby to good shopping places – so don’t worry if you haven’t got 5 million ringbinders and 8 whisks, as there will be plenty of opportunity to buy more stuff when you’re there (as I’ve said above!). Stationary and food though I think are different. There will be a lot of offers on at the beginning of September, so you might be better to seek out the best deals while you can. Food-wise, I’d recommend not buying anything until you get there, simply because of space and having to carry it! If you did want to though, my ideal buys when I’m at home are cup-a-soup boxes from pound shops (Tesco is usually two for £2; sometimes you can get them 2 for £1 in a pound shop!), tea and coffee (so you can make a brew when you move in), and also biscuits!
- Have a look at places to go, so you can explore a day or two after you’ve moved in
It’s always great to get to know your surroundings, so finding a key place to visit or just taking a walk off campus/halls will be a good experience. In my fresher’s week, myself and my flatmates took a trip off campus and had a wander round Birmingham, finding the nearest supermarket, some good places to eat, and the local cinema. It’s good to get your bearings, and make you feel like home.
- Think about meeting your new flatmates
This is always a daunting time – whether you’re the most outgoing person on the planet, or really really shy. The most important thing to remember, is that everyone is in the same position! The best thing you can do for yourself, is to pluck up enough courage to say “Hi” to people you see around; I even said hello to people in the lift on fresher’s week, simply because I wanted to make some friends and to boost my confidence. Think about ways to make meeting your flatmates easier. Maybe buy a box of Celebrations or bake some cupcakes – something that you can all get together in the kitchen when all your parents are gone and have a nice chat and to break the ice. These are just a few pointers to help make things easier! The important thing to remember that once the initial fright of being on your own is overridden by the amount of fun you’re having with all the new people you’ve met, you’ll wonder why you were so worried in the first place! 🙂