Starting university is without a doubt one of the biggest life events many of us will experience. It’s a time of huge change and excitement, but along with that can come uncertainty and stress that can turn your anticipation into anxiety. Moving away from home, making new friends, building foundations in a new city, it can be scary and overwhelming, but more than that, it is a chance for a beautiful new start.
Within months you’ll look back, with a new sense of independence and gusto, wondering why you were ever so nervous, but until then we’ve compiled our ultimate guide to starting university, complete with the answers to your burning questions, tips and top picks for what to pack.
How should I prepare for university?
Not the most comforting response, but you can’t totally prepare. No matter how many lists you write, visits you take or days you plan, you’ll never feel truly prepped for such a big life change. So you’ve simply got to sit back and enjoy it. Remember that your university welcomes a whole new cohort of students every year, they have it down to a fine art so you’ll never be left behind in the chaos, and remember that everyone else is feeling the exact same as you. You’re all in the same boat!
While you can’t plan and prep everything, there are a few things you can do to ease the anticipation jitters.
Do some research on your new home
Take some time on google maps getting to know your new local area. Do some Instagram stalking of the best coffee shops, restaurants and bars. This will not only give you a better impression of where you’ll be living and some idea of directions, but will definitely get you excited about having a whole host of eateries to explore. Also, when your new best friend suggests going somewhere for a coffee in your first week, you’ll already have suggestions to hand.
Similarly, most universities have freshers Facebook groups. Join as many as you can and get social. There’s a high chance you’ll be able to find your flatmates before you even move in, connect with course mates, and start joining university societies and social clubs. You don’t have to wait for your first day.
Learn some fool-proof healthy recipes
While you’re in a stocked kitchen with your family on hand to save any disasters, learn your way around the kitchen. Regardless of your skill level, from total novice to master chef, learning a couple of easy, healthy recipes that you can make big batches of to freeze for later will be a lifesaver later down the line. It’ll take the stress out of cooking for yourself, but also sharing food is proven to make people more social and open with one another. Learn to make a big pot of curry or mac and cheese, serve it up family-style for your new flatmates, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you get to know each other once your bellies are full.
Make plans with your hometown friends
For something to look forward to and to make sure no one gets left behind, book in some plans with your hometown friends for a month down the line. While it’s sad you may not be in the same city anymore, starting university means you’ve just gained multiple new places to go and visit. Part ways with some printed photos of your best times for your uni wall and make plans to make new memories soon.
What should I pack?
Besides the obvious of your clothes, cutlery and books, here are a few things you may not have considered but definitely should.
3 am fire alarms, midnight snack runs and 8 am coffee means your loungewear is likely to be seen a lot, so make sure your PJ’s are something you don’t mind being seen in. That battered old dinosaur onesie might not cut it anymore.