For lots of people starting uni will be the first time they’ve ever left home and had to fend for themselves. Everyone has to learn a few new skills – here are 5 that I found really important when I first came to Cardiff Met.
As the student loan rolls in you’ll feel like you can spend spend spend, but try not to blow all of this on freshers week! Throughout the year you’ll need to go out at keep yourself stocked up on food, clothing, equipment and more. Making sure you have your student card on you will get you discounts at many places in and around town, where you can get the best deals or be able to buy long lasting items in bulk to save the all important pennies!
What I can recommend is setting yourself a weekly budget, looking at how much time you have between each loan payment and what you can spend during that time. And if you’ve managed to save a bit of money during that time, fantastic! Go out and treat yourself or put it away for a rainy day.
Personally, I didn’t know how to iron a shirt before coming to uni and this was never a good thing when it came to looking good for a night out or keeping myself presentable for interviews! Whilst at uni there will be times when you are required to look smart for job interviews or formal social events. Asking your parents or friends to teach you the basics of washing and ironing is the best way to keep yourself looking (and smelling!) fresh.
All student halls come with on site washing facilities that come with tips of what types of washing to do, and how not to dye your favourite white top pink! Spend a little bit of time learning this and you’ll be amazed to find that you can save yourself some time, energy and money.
Now how many recipes do you have in your cookbook? Im sure youve been told that students survive on pasta and noodles. For some students this is true, but don’t worry – over time at uni you develop your own recipes and mixtures for these dishes, making them as tasty as you want. Before you come to uni however, maybe try looking at a few more exciting recipes, like a big chilli con carne or stir fry. Things like this are a great way of making friends by all pitching together and cooking tasty food. This also helps to save money – as mentioned earlier buying in bulk is a great way to do this, getting big bags of pasta, rice, spices, mixtures and so on.
4. Time keeping
I’m sure, as you’ve got into university you’ve all spent time revising and working, making sure you prioritise the more important work to make every day less stressful. At university there are so many extra factors to time saving. How long does it take you to get to class? When’s the next deadline/exam? Can I afford to spend time cooking/cleaning? When you first get your timetable for the week, try and plan out how you can save time for that all important free time in the evening or weekends. (coz’ you know we all like a bit of free time to binge on Netflix!).
My top tips for saving time include: the commute, is it a long walk or bus ride to class? If so can you use that time to research or listen to podcasts that can get you ahead of the game? Do you need a part time job? If so, can you sort your shifts to make it fit the timetable, saving time by cutting any unnecessary walks back the halls before the shift starts? And what about cooking and washing? Have you go time to put a load on and enjoy your dinner as the same time?
For a lot of people, going to university means leaving your hometown and moving to a new place! If this ever makes you feel homesick, don’t worry, you’re not the only one and there are loads of people on hand to help you get through those rough patches. For me, getting to know the best way to and from home helped me to realise it didn’t have to feel so far away. Keeping an eye on coach / train times was really handy, and being in a big city you realise how frequent and affordable these services can be. Get yourself a student rail or coach card and this will put your mind at ease even more by providing big discounts and informative emails on bank holiday offers and further student deals.
If you find yourself having to travel long distances on public transport, use this as beneficial time to do work on your university assignments – you’ll be amazed how much extra work that can be done with a few hours on a train. Especially as some transport services offer free wifi and charging facilities for your device now.
Take some time to brush up your skills in all five of these areas and I guarantee it’ll make your transition into uni life much smoother!
Get more tips for starting first year with our Freshers’ Guide blogs.