It’s that time of year again! When no-longer children fly the coop to explore a subject of their interests, or perhaps return after a couple of years there already in pursuit of the most expensive and valuable piece of paper you will ever own (well, until you decide to do a Masters or PhD!). Whilst some of you may have already arrived and settled in, and others may still be packing their bags and shopping for supplies, here’s a few things you should make sure to do in your first week or two of starting the new University semester.
Bring Your Documentation!
There’s no doubt when you first got accepted you’ll have been given a letter and some forms with reference information on. It’s important to keep hold of this, at least until after you’ve registered. Particularly for UK based students, it’s really important to bring your financial information as proof if you’re paying by student loan and your payment details if not.
If you’re returning for additional years, please check with your institution what additional documents you might need to register in addition to your finance.
Get Your Kit Before the Sales End!
If you’re leaving home, make sure you pick up all your housewares and essentials before the sales end. Rebuilding your life can be an expensive business, not to mention course materials and the instruments you need to do your assignments and homework on. If you’re not sure where to start or want something to double check by, please feel free to check our my Student Essentials post I wrote last year, I’ll be here when you get back.
Meet Your Neighbours
If you’ve moved into different accommodation that’s shared, it’s good courtesy to meet your fellow house or floormates, whom you’re going to be sharing facilities with for the next year. Many a lifelong friendship has started in student accommodation, but as with every epic journey of friendship, it starts with a first step. So be brave and knock first. You never know, you might just get a few knocks on the door in return. If you’re still staying at home, it’s worth introducing yourself to any newcomers on your street or on campus – many people will have travelled to an entirely new town and surroundings, so it’s nice to have a friendly and welcoming face when faced with a completely new environment.
Sign Up For The Vital Essentials
I’m a true hypocrite for this one (all the more reason to preach it!) but when the opportunity comes, it pays to sign up for medical services such as the doctors, dentist and opticians as well as knowing where the nearest hospital or medical centre is. Particularly with weeks of booze filled fun and winder diseases around the corner, it’s good to know you can head somewhere should your health go south.
Sign Up For the Less Essentials (But More Fun)
No fresher’s week is ever complete without a fair – a chance for both the university and student union/student body/Guild to showcase different extra curricular activities (sometimes known as clubs or societies) you can enjoy with your friends and colleagues outside of contact time. From chocolate to archery to debatable conversation to wildlife conservation – there’s usually something out there for everyone, and on the rare chance you are in that “unusually” bracket, you can often make your own with a few members and some ratification from the officials. Sign up is usually free and membership at bargain prices, so don’t just sit there…get out and do something special!
If socs and clubs aren’t your thing, maybe look into your university’s athletic union – there’s often a whole bunch of sports to choose from including football (both kinds), racquet sports, bowling, jousting,and swimming etc, with the possibility of this helping boost your exercise, allow you to have fun and potentially find a secret calling (after all, the NFL draft in the USA is traditionally performed with college football players).
Make the Most of Your First Week
For newcomers to university, there is always a lot going off for you to choose from to help meet new people, make new friends and learn more about the area. By day, take advantage of discounted tours and trips to local attractions, enjoy fair days and cookouts and fun events to get you into the student spirit. At night the bars and clubs come alive with cheap offers to entice you to spend away.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to try at least 2 things out there – you may regret it later on down the line when you hear your friends talk the memory of something only they shared.
Use Your Frugal Instincts
One of the great things about student life, is the ability to get money off shopping items often with a large amount of the price sliced off. Look for coupons in your Student Union or Guild, flyers dropped in the postbox or mailbox, special offers for certain nights at bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants, sign up for your university’s discount program or a body like the NUS and Student Beans in the UK and keep an eye out for special offers with banks and phone networks.
Whilst this a very short list of the many things you must do and experience, I hope it’s enough to inspire you before you start, or help you continue if you’re already on campus.
For returning students, what other factors do you feel are important to remember? Maybe you disagree with what was included? Please feel free to continue the conversation down in the comments field.