I’m about to start my third and final year at Cardiff University! I wanted to write about about everything I wish I’d known before starting uni.
Before you arrive:
- Get packed – then unpack some of it before you leave! When going to uni, so many people bring literally everything they own because they don’t know what to expect. Your uni room is most likely going to be tiny so save some space. Leave those clothes you haven’t worn since Year 8 at home!
- Pick up the necessities first – kitchen stuff (choose something that stands out so you can tell which is yours!), comfy bedding (including a mattress protector – really) and stuff for your bathroom.
- Now is the time to check you’re going to be able to survive on your own – can you use a kettle, microwave, washing machine and dryer? I know that sounds really simple but even if you think you’re all sorted and independent, thats not saying your housemates will be too!We had WAY too many microwave explosions in first year – found out eventually one of our housemates hadn’t used one before so thought anything could go in! (This included bread, carrots in a bowl and yes….metal). Knowing how to wash your own clothes is essential – don’t save it up and take it home at Christmas to wash!
- Sort a student bank account – MoneySaving Expert is great for checking which one is best for you.
- Keep your door open! I know it sounds simple, but if you burrow away in your room for the whole of Freshers, when you eventually emerge, your housemates will have already become friends and you could end up feeling a bit excluded. Get your flatmates together for a trip to the pub or a night out!
- Get unpacked ASAP – once your room feels more homely, it helps avoid any home sickness coming on!
- Find out where things are – your Halls (write the address on your phone in case you need to get back on a night out and forget where it is!), nearest supermarket, lecture halls etc.
- Go to the Fresher’s Fair – but don’t sign up for everything the first day! It’s a great time to see what’s on offer and meet people who like the same things – and you’ll get enough free pens to see you through uni!
Living at Uni:
- Contribute: help out around your flat and do your washing up. At some point you are going to have to take the bins out!
- Food: Try not to go overboard with takeout in first year. It’s way more expensive than you think and definitely not good for you! Definitely enjoy having takeout now and again, but try to eat some fruit and veg when you can. You need fresh food too.
- Sharing: This completely depends on your flatmates, but try to sort out early if you want to share food or get your own – my flat in first year shared milk, pasta and bread and then anything else we wanted, we paid for ourselves.
- Cook in bulk and freeze it when you can – this saves a lot of money and makes sure you’ve always got a backup if you’ve forgotten to run to the shops!
- Please please please don’t walk home alone! Even if you’ve gone to uni where you know the area, it’s always safer to go in a group.
- Check out what the uni offers – Cardiff started a Night Bus to ensure students get home safe
- Windows and all doors locked when you go out!
Let me know if there are any other tips you’d give students starting uni! You can also contact me here.