I’m off to university in September, if all goes to plan, and it’s at this time of the year when anyone in my situation is looking to prepare to move away from home to their university. So, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve bought and thought and a few of the things that have to be done last minute. Hopefully some of you might find it interesting or helpful, if you’re looking to go to uni in future!
Things I’ve Bought
KITCHEN EQUIPMENT. I’m going in for self-catered accommodation at university, which means there’s absolutely no guarantees as to what you’ll find in the kitchen. Some universities do like to provide fully kitted-out kitchens, so you don’t have to worry about things like pots and pans, and most will provide things like a kettle and microwave so they don’t have to go through PAT testing. But, regardless, I’ve bought a cheap set of Wilko’s plates and bowls (4 of each, so I can take 2 the first year and when they inevitably end up broken I can grab the next two), probably far too many utensils, including wooden spoons. I’ve got a set of 4 glasses, also from Wilko’s… and some cheap Asda’s pans.
BEDROOM THINGS. Really I haven’t got all that much for this, but I’ve got 2 new sets of bedsheets to take with me, and I think I’ll be taking a duvet off my aunt who has a couple spare. I think when it’s a tad closer to the time, I’ll look for some posters and things to make it look/feel a little more like it’s my room. If I thought it would survive the journey, I’d take my Dobby the House Elf poster from home, but I don’t want to risk it!
CLOTHES & RELATED. I’ve got myself a washing basket, and I still need a bag or pop-up washbin to take with me. The basket was also from Wilko’s – I promise I’m not being sponsored by them! It’s just a really good place to go uni shopping like this; its range is brilliant and so affordable. I’m slowly accumulating some newer clothes, which is a never-ending battle since finishing with a school uniform in 2014, but it’s great fun.
Things I’ve Done
FINANCE. Sorting out your loans is the first thing you should secure. It’s not like they’re any more likely to refuse you if you apply a little later, but it’s just good to get it out of the way and done and confirmed. It does take a bit of effort to do, besides, and it’s one less thing to stress about if you get it done early.
VACCINE. This surprised me, because by now you pretty much expect to have had all your vaccines unless you need to get the annual flu jabs. But, a few weeks ago I got a letter in the post telling me I needed another before uni. This was the meningitis and septicaemia one, because apparently the W strain of meningitis has become increasingly frequent in freshers. I got my vaccine yesterday, so I’m typing this one-handed because my left arm is practically a dead sponge right now. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
SIGN UP FOR CLEARING. This is pretty much the most depressing thing about the whole application to and preparation for university, but I’ve done it nevertheless. UCAS and thestudentroom.co.uk both have clearing facilities, where they’ll send you notification of any available places if you don’t manage to meet your offers. I got an email from both telling me about it, so I didn’t have to look far.
ACCOMMODATION. This pretty much went with the loans; very soon after I’d got my loans approved, I applied for accommodation. You apply to your firm choice, and as yet I’m not too sure what happens if you don’t get the actual university place in the end, but I’ve chosen the accommodation I wanted and accepted my room offer, so I even know which flat I’ll be staying in if I get in! I guess if I don’t, I’ll have to reapply elsewhere… but it does go on a first-come, first-serve basis so if you’re slightly picky like me, applying early in the hopes you get in is the way to go.
Thing’s I’ve Researched
BANK ACCOUNTS. Obviously signing up for a student bank account has to be quite last minute, because you have to have a firm place at a university.But, choosing the right one is important. There are comparison websites and a lot of advice out there, and it seems there’s much to learn… I had no idea what an overdraft was and much of finance seems quite complex to me, so research into these is quite eye-opening. I plan on getting an account that comes with a National Railcard, myself.
STUDENT DISCOUNT. So much of uni prep is money-orientated, I swear. At least this is a good one. In the UK there’s the main student discount with NUS, which is probably the best one, and I’ll get this once I’ve agreed my uni place, because again, you need a firm place. However, you can sign up for a UniDays student discount from the age of 16 while at sixth form/college, which I did, so I’ll just be updating my details come September.
Well, I think that’s about it. It’s a lot to think about, but it’s easily narrowed down into categories. The biggest hurdle of any uni application is sorting out everything to do with money (well, when you set aside the studying for the grades to get in), and it’s definitely been an interesting journey. It’s so annoying to see the new, raised fees which I’ll most likely be paying from my second year onwards, unfortunately, along with all the 2017 freshers, so if you’re in the years below me, I have full empathy. Anyway, if any of you have been to uni/are planning to go, do leave me a comment and let me know!