All the things I wish I had known before embarking on student life…
Student housing – Home is where the heart is
It may be the first time you lived away from home or indeed the first time you embark on student life abroad. Consider carefully what type of and environment will suit you best before committing to your university and your student housing. Going straight into halls of residence is the obvious choice. Certainly within campus universities this can often be what you are offered, but there are often other options open to you.
Some people find that sharing a kitchen or bathroom with a number of people they may have never met before, uncomfortable. Others enjoy the social life you get from it. If you are a private person or indeed a mature student, for example, and are used to having your own space, halls of residence may not quite the student housing for you. There is a lot to be said for having everything set up in advance and for this reason many new students opt for this, however, finding an alternative is possible.
Most universities will have their own student accommodation department and aside from managing the halls of residence, they will also keep a list of properties and landlord details offering student housing outside of the university remit. This can also be a good way of meeting like minded people and make your first year of student life feel a little more like home.
Alternatively, some students choose to book short term accommodation at the start of term to cover the first few weeks. This gives them time to make new friends or possible housemates and also scope out exactly where they would like to be geographically. There are many websites aimed at student accommodation. The Student Room for example, have forums where you can meet potential new housemates on the same course as you for example. It is worth considering all your options at the outset to ensure you are happy and settled for your first year of student life.
Get your student finance in order
It may come as a shock to suddenly be managing your own money if you have never lived away from home before. The trick is to budget sensibly and stick to it. Once you have paid the bills, what is left over?
By doing these sums ahead of time, you can be realistic about the amount of student finance you have to spend on socialising for example. It may be that taking a part time job will ease the financial pressure, but it is important to weigh up how you will manage this alongside your studies.
Most universities have jobs available within the student union for example. This is a great way to meet people and still feel involved in student life whilst earning some much needed student finance. It is always worth checking what opportunities are available when you first enroll so that you can be front of the interview queue!
Look after your body and mind
The academic pressure of student life is just part of the story. Suddenly finding yourself in an unfamiliar environment with the sudden responsibility of managing your own time, independent study, and finances, can be overwhelming and a source of stress. 78% of undergraduate students surveyed (NUS 2015) in the UK said that they have experienced mental health issues during their studies.
Thankfully, Universities have responded and addressed this and provide support and guidance to students that are finding things difficult. Accessing this help, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise, will go a long way to protecting your wellbeing and enabling you to remain happy and thrive during this special time of your life.
You can find out more about how some UK universities support their students at:
If you would like to find out more about any of these subject get in touch now.