So, Fresher’s Weeks, Christmas, Easter or Summer are coming to and end and you now have to actually do what you came to Uni for. Whilst not every student will find this hard after a break away from the books, nor can I guarantee all of this will appear for each and every one of you on them quite strongly, here are 5 things that typically dawn on people once the dust settles and from experience the advice I can give to get past or deal with them.
You Actually Have To Do Work Now
Sadly for some, the studying and assignment creating part of your degree has to begin sometime. Usually for first year students this won’t be too taxing, but it pays to take note for the following years and as a brace-for-impact as your projects start to come in the next few weeks. The simplest way to handle this is to prepare and organise early, so you can hit the ground running as soon as you need to. How you’ll need to do this depends on the nature of your subject(s). For instance more traditional subjects such as Humanities, Language, Arts, Mathematics and Sciences may require notebooks, stationary, instruments and clothing /PPE. Whilst buying this at the fair might not be so wise it’s often wise to take advantage of the sales before they expire and buy what your lecturers recommend off the list whilst it’s cheap. For more practical subjects, you may wish to examine any kit list given to your in your welcome packs or initial lectures to find out what you will need over your semester/year. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to email your faculty staff so you don’t get caught short!
The Loan Isn’t Infinite
This can occur no matter how frugal you were with your Fresher’s events, you’ll start to feel the pinch over time. The biggest things I’ve found is to give yourself a weekly budget to work with, don’t be afraid to try some of the cheaper food and stores on offer (you may be surprised that it’s not all bad!) prioritise when you have to pay bills and buy stuff to live and remember if you think you may need more, it is possible to work a part time job or freelance if you do need more cash until your next relevant installment drops.Also, if you have a meal plan at your institution, don’t forget to take advantage of every penny of it! At my campus, we were given a fixed amount each day, which didn’t roll over. Some people accepted they couldn’t not overspend on it and were often found spending more later on in the week. Others realised there weren’t limits on buying extras in our canteen (such as milk, shakes, snacks, etc) or upgrading to gormet sandwiches in the bar. So if you have similar facilities and some spare credit left over – treat yourself! If you overspend a little you’ll thank yourself later when you didn’t pay more to buy that more expensive treat later on at the store! In terms of shopping, there are many groups on social media such as local Facebook groups that are dedicated to everyday bargain hunters and sites equivalent to Hotukdeals are a haven for price glitches, local sales that aren’t mass advertised and common tricks and discounts (speaking of which, if you haven’t seen my student checklist yet, take a look here to find even more discounts that will help you not spend all your loan up immediately!)
You May Need To Pick Your Nights
Nights out and parties are awesome and if we could do them like Sean Kingston likes to, life would be pretty exciting. But sadly commitments like jobs and assignments and funding mean you may have to cut these down during term-time. But it’s not all bad! Many popular bars and clubs including your student union or guild will have PR teams that reach out to students and will typically plan theme nights out in advance to be advertised. If you feel like you should be part of these and you’re on more limited funds, then it’s worth saving your cash for these nights instead, as in my experience the normal nights come and go every week and other than possible social banter, they don’t change much week to week – but you only get a few goes at the beach/toga/Halloween/foam/UV/traffic light parties, so choose your favorites and maximise them to their full potential!
You Suddenly Understand The Light Switch/Waste Water Struggle
We all need water to live and practically exist on electricity, gas and broadband these days and unless you’re living in halls, it costs money to maintain. Sadly our parents weren’t joking and to reduce the bill costs, it doest mean to keep vigilant to what is plugged in and live, turn off that water when you clean your teeth and when it comes to contract renewal, shop for prices from providers like you would an item of clothing or fresh food at the store. If you have house/flatmates, ensure the bills are split fairly as well, both financially and in terms of responsibility. Using a tool such as PayPal Money pool is a great way of ensuring everyone successfully tips in their funds for a bill suitably. If you all study at the same sorts of time, you could also set up a cooking rota between you, saving both money on buying food and a potential reduction in how many times the oven or microwave is used – this doesn’t suit all households though to ensure to talk it over and get everyone’s views!
It isn’t easy being a student, but it’s not a bad place to be considering the opportunities you get and the unique position to practice being an adult and a professional in a safe environment amongst friends and colleagues alike before you brave/re-enter the “real world”. But prepare in advance and you will often stand a chance at getting through three months without too much fuss or worry in life (academics however, I’ll have to come back to you with 😉 )