To follow on from the previous poster, here is another one discussing the types and traits of housemates that some others may find a little less desirable.

These are housemate characteristics I have heard echoed up and down the country,  experienced both as a house warden and from fellow course members and friends’ experiences with some of their houses and I am sure many people have related to.  This poster of course comes with the disclaimer that I don’t expect anyone to start wars and accuse each other of the titles I have put each under, but more to recognise these traits and for those that can be used, use them for good, and for others to avoid or quash to create more harmonious households.

Given this poster goes over two pages, there are two images shown. To download a copy of each, simply click on them to be taken to the file.



Fresher’s Fortnight Drink or WIN? – First Nights Out

Going out to parties and nights on the town are a part of many student’s experiences. Some planned their student life around these (un)forgettable adventures, whilst others would use them as an excuse to celebrate or let off steam after a time of stress. Whatever your reason and format of going crazy to music and fun, here are a few life rules I picked up during my years of evening antics!

DO: Budget Beforehand

So this one sounds a little killjoy out of the bat, but it’s also the easiest and one of the costliest (see what I did there?) mistake to make. Now you don’t need to make a spreadsheet about it, but work out your basics for the night and use this to decide:

  1. If you can afford to go out in the first place
  2. How much you’ll need for overheads (transport there/back, entrance fees etc).
  3. How much you’ll have leftover to spend.

To touch on a couple of these – when researching any nights out (depending on if you were given a ‘tour of the town’ by your student union, sports team, fresher parent, warden or friends with knowledge of the area), check for entry fees on flyers, social media or on the windows/boards of the venue. For most student places this shouldn’t be that expensive, but in bigger cities, it’s easy to get caught out if you didn’t bring a lot of money. Secondly, there may be extras you may later decide to drop money on too, such as gambling machines, toilet assistants and the all important post clubbing food. Figure out a ballpark at the beginning and any panic of this goes away on the night and any worry you might be in for a shock the next day will probably not happen. Also, super important one unless you’re rolling in the dough – don’t take your credit card and turn off your mobile payments! Sure you’ll pay it back on time, but given the only thing stopping you is your spending limit, this card becomes even more dangerous if you’re under the influence, especially if it’s NFC based like contactless cards and Apple/Google/Samsung Pay – the limits may be low in your currency, but they don’t stop you making multiple payments!!

DON’T: Feel Pressured

Night events are all about having fun, that includes you. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy something like drinking or certain activities then simply don’t do it. After all an event is what you make of it – so if you can have fun without doing anything you don’t want, then it will be fun. And if you prefer having a few drinks to liven things up, then within reason go nuts.

DO: Go With Friends

Now this one does have a bit of a blurred line in your fresher’s introductory weeks when you might not no anybody – but few like to party alone, so throw caution to the wind and arrange some time to have fun with new found friends or housemates. If neither of those fit your bill, try and meet some new people during your classes and strike up conversations when you’re on the town in the early bars.

DON’T: Try To Be ‘Hard’

Sure, you might like to be the alpha male or leading lady in your newly formed circle, but that doesn’t mean you need to fight each other or be cocky with the bar staff, bouncers and hosts. Sure they are here to serve you and you’re paying money for them to, but it doesn’t mean you’re above them by any means. If anything on an evening it can be quite the opposite given they have allowed you into their home or establishment and taken the time to come over to you to serve you beverages or food. When feeling threatened or abused, staff normally have the right to refuse service, have you asked to or removed from the premises and even ban you from entering. From experience of working in bars, I know the UK has a scheme known as “Pub Watch” that venues can opt into where each one gets access to a walkie-talkie and a central base whom monitor the local community CCTV. Get barred or arrested from one of one of these participating venues and you’ll be put on the communities blacklist where you’re name and likeness will be passed onto other members and your presence watched that night on camera to ensure you won’t be let into other member venues, nor cause trouble on the streets surrounding without sufficient prosecution following.

DO: Take Care of Yourself

Once you’ve got the basics out of the way above it’s time to let loose, have fun and enjoy life in the moment! But when it’s all done you want to be able to get home safely, rest and be up and ready the next day without too much of a scratch on yourself. In order for that to happen though you should take a few precautions and put a few things in place. For a drinker that parties hard for example, I would suggest:

  • A 2L/70Oz Bottle or a large sports cup of water by your bedside or couch/sofa and optionally a painkiller for the next day.
  • At least one pint of water during the night to take off the edge a little
  • Not mixing medication or any form of drugs simultaneously with alcohol. At least a few hours between.
  • Some food if it’s been a while since your last meal.
  • Enough charge on your phone to last the night in case you need a way to get home.

Nights out and parties can be fun times and for those new to it can become an easy way to let of steam with some friends once you have a sense of your favourite venues and people’s characters. Keep prepared and respect everyone else and I’m sure you’ll come out with a great chance of a WIN.



Fresher’s Fortnight: 6 Essential Places to Get You Acquainted With Student Life

Let’s be honest, starting to look after yourself and potentially living away from parents can be a daunting thought. However, in the age of digital technology and where everyone seems to have information available at the touch of a button, it doesn’t have to be quite so bad! If you, like me, didn’t quite have independence in the house as much and you’re just starting out in looking after yourself, be you a fresher to uni itself or to being the “proper grown up”, here’s 6 fantastic resources to help you to step into those shoes and make yourself proud.


Your University or College App

This one probably sounds a little cliche, but these days most institutions will have their own app on iOS or Android, or a web application built into their site. These usually let you access timetables, reading guides such as LibGuides, the library catalogue, resource booking, possible access to an online learning environment and an online directory or webmail so you can get in touch with different tutors, lecturers, professors and support staff. Whilst it may seem a bit of a gimmick at first, in time you’ll find this may become your daily companion to allow you to get to what you need. Back when my university campus existed, we used a tool known as the Pocket Campus (which also existed as an intranet as well as kiosks and a pair of giant touchscreens in the reception) and gave invaluable access to things like booking studio time or finding out what the latest bulletins for the campus were.

How-To Videos

These days, it’s easy enough to learn any basic skills you might need such has how to cook something, how to change a component in your car or how to fit a new cylinder on your gas heater. Depending on what responsibilities you may have been given at home, you might find you’ve got some new ones in your new digs, from cleaning up the house to making your own food.

Sites such as Howcast, Instructables and Wikihow offer great step by step instructions and channels like SORTED Food and How To Adult on YouTube give you helpful tutorials in video form. If you’re stuck for motivation, there’s even channels for that too such as The Life Survival Guide series on WERK! TV (Devon Werkheiser, of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide fame).

Discount Websites

Living like a student is a pricey business. Fortunately many companies feel your pain and like to display offers and discounts to students. Unfortunately, it can be hard to keep track of this without a fairly centralised experience. In the UK, sites such as NUS TOTUM (formerly Extra) offer a great directory for deals, especially for students. Internationally there’s also  Student Beans, UNiDAYS and the ISIC Card to take advantage of, with an array of benefits online and on their app! Sign up early to make the most of these throughout your time at uni. Amazon also advertise their Prime service at a discount too, provided you have a student address.

Access to tech and software from the likes of Adobe, Dell, Microsoft and HP is cheap too from their websites. On certain courses, access to software may be free courtesy of your institution through the Microsoft Student Partner Program found on the MSDN website.

Finally, don’t forget the generic discounts you can get from the likes of HotUKDeals, PRIORITY (offers and event tickets) on the O2 Mobile network or Wuntu on the Three mobile network.

Student Forums

If you’re starting afresh or just need to find some like-minded people to share the experience you’re all going though, student forums and groups are good good place to start. Many colleges across the world will have their own community forums or apps that will be advertised to you at application (possibly even part of the apps mentioned above!), on the website or emailed to you as part of a welcome pack. The Student Room is also a popular option in terms of a message board, whilst typing in virtually any university name into Facebook can pretty much guarantee a wealth of groups already existing. Not seen a Fresher’s group for you yet? Why not start one featuring your institution or campus name – don’t forget to set it to public so other new students can find and connect with you. If you prefer a more Tinder style approach to making new friends and meeting people, Friendsy is another option more focused to US students available for iOS or Android on the respective app stores.

Welcome Parties/Events

Given a number of you will have already started or will be beginning in the next couple of weeks, don’t forget to attend all the welcome events and socials occurring both as part of Fresher’s Week and in local bars, clubs, sports teams and organisations. These are crucial networking events on different levels to allow you to meet others in the same boat as you as well as veterans that can steer you in the right direction, and in the case of interest groups may be people who share your passions and/or interests, breaking a huge chunk of the ice to get you involved in conversations and activities to allow for that all important bonding where friendships and partnerships form. Not found a group you like? Similar to the online groups, why not open up your space for a party or a meal? Just ensure you follow your house or college/university guidelines to ensure you don’t get your new found friends on the wrong side of things, or that first impression might not go down so well!

Don’t Forget Your Old Friends!

Whilst it might seem a little backwards, especially if you’ve moved cities, states or even whole countries to get to your institution, but friends are friends and will always be there to give you the same form of advice. If anything, they may still be going through what you are at a different institution and may be able to offer advice on what has worked for them as well as you offer them in return. For those whose friends may be in different fields, they can provide you with that sense of grounding as you get used to a new life and will ensure you still have those people to see when you go back home or visit a place where they live and allow your friendship to grow with you and your life as you both/all learn to adult together.


For those who have been through it before, what was it like adjusting to student life for you? Do you maybe have any alternative advice? Feel free to share any stories and comments down below!




Regular Essential Supplies

So, you’ve done the hard work of revising, passing your exams, getting your choice at uni (or applied through clearing), made endless lists, survived the end of an era with your local friends and immediate family, packed the car to the rafters and made it to your campus. Whether you’ve just arrived at the weekend and are finding your feet as as fresher or you’ve been there a couple of weeks and familiarised yourself with your bar staff, memorised the takeaway menus or drained your bank account buying your reading list – hopefully this article may come in use should you have forgotten anything when your parents took you shopping or you realise a few months down the line that you’ve blown your student loan and need to prioritise what cash you have left.

So before you decide you’ve got enough for Pub Golf tomorrow night or you’ve roughly budgeted for a cheeky Nandos please remember to have these student essentials before you max out your overdraft and inevitably see this at the cash machine:

'atminsuff' by Used under CC BY NC SA 3.0

‘atminsuff’ by Used under CC BY NC SA 3.0

Toilet Paper/Kitchen Paper

By Elya (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

By Elya (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Sounds obvious right? Yet with a crazy schedule and the irresistable urge to have one or two more games of FIFA before your lecture sounds much more exciting than nipping to the shops. But if it’s pre-drinks at your accomodation tonight it’s best to make sure you have more than one roll going spare of each type, just in case people spill drinks (and believe me, they will) into your cream carpet or you decide to grab a kebab on the way home, or heaven forbid you have just a few too many shots… Just don’t be without it!

Even if you’re teetotal, don’t think you’re exempt. All it takes is a 3am trip to grab a pot noodle mid assignment and an accidental step on a loose extension lead to send them everywhere and you’ll need something to clean them up with.

‘Stodgy Food’

By Takeaway (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

By Takeaway (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Be it the staple of student foods or something we like to tell ourselves is much healthier, make sure you have a healthy supply of carb food in. When your balance starts running into the red, you’ll find this a cheap class of ingredients helpful to make you feel full (which is great for reducing on snacking) and can be mixed up with a variety of sauces and complementary ingredients, or even in the case of noodles a simple stock cube and some boiling water. Best of all, with ingredients like noodles and certain packs of rice, you don’t even need to touch an oven if you’re not in a safe position to use one! A couple of minutes in the microwave and you’re sorted for a meal!

Pens, Pencils and Power Cables

By MyKlick on Pixabay. Used Under Public Domain

By MyKlick on Pixabay. Used Under Public Domain

Whilst the former will have probably been drilled into you over your school and college years, it doesn’t stop at uni. Lecturers rarely lend out pencils and pens in your seminars unless you’re really lucky and in a Lecture you have no chance unless you have a kind and organised peer sat beside you. Make sure you buy at least 4 of each writing utensil you need as well as at least spare eraser and sharpener if you’re going to be drawing. One to keep in your bag for lectures, seminars, tutorials and meetings, one for your dorm/house room, a second one for your bag as a fallback if your pencil lead breaks/ink runs out so you can rapidly resume your note taking (if you’ve ever heard the famous Call of Duty phrase “Just switch to your other weapon, it’s faster than reloading!” – this applies to writing skills too!

If you, like me are more of a tech head and prefer to type your notes instead, make sure you have a spare micro-USB/Lightning/DC charger to hand if you’re a portable device user, so you can keep one in your dorm room. You’ll be amazed and how easy these can get mangled when stowed in your bag and moved around, or internally damaged from the tugging when you grab your device or knock it to the floor (I must go through at least 3 a year for my devices!) so to have one can often spell disaster for you if you’re a tapper or typist. If you have a Notebook or Netbook style laptop it’s worth also giving your charger the once over before you move to uni as this will more than likely be the lifeblood of your note taking, assignment writing and film/stream watching time each day. If you’re concerned about carting this around or its general survival, again, add a second one to the wishlist of “Welcome to Student Life” items that friends and family may treat you to as these turn obsolete quickly and can be expensive or difficult to replace one broken.

If you’re a doodler, don’t forget the rest of your essentials to go along with your pencil, sharpener and eraser too!

A Thick Duvet and a University (or other) Hoodie

Wrap Up Warm. Own Work

Wrap Up Warm. Own Work

If you live in the UK, you may have noticed when you left the house to go to School and College over the years that at this time of year on most mornings, the often a large difference in temperature between the inside and the outside. If you’re living in older halls of residence or you’re moving into a student house, you might notice this difference starts to get a little less – especially if you’re not on an all inclusive rent and have to face those scary numbers on the bill for the luxury and comfort of the temperate indoor climate.

To help combat this problem (a lesson I’m sure your parents and guardians hammered into you at an early age if you complained the heating was set too low), is to invest in a thick tog duvet (10 – 13.5 tog usually works well) and the classic University Hoodie (particularly if it’s made by AWDis). Whilst a small expense at first, as you notice it getting colder in the winter, you’ll be glad of these to snuggle into whilst you have your Netflix and assignment writing sessions. Alternatively, you can just work harder at the gym, but that feeling will only last so long.

As a side note, if you have gas central heating, remember to turn it on once in a while for an hour or so when the temperatures drop, or you’ll be facing an even bigger charge when the pipes freeze/burst and the system inevitably seizes up!

Cleaning Supplies

By jarmoluk on Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

By jarmoluk on Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

This one probably goes without saying, but it’s really easy to forget – which isn’t good if you forget at the last minute and realise you’ve run out of dishes, spilled your drink all over your desk…or something worse that we won’t talk about that needs cleaning up.

For those that have regular inspections in halls and student houses, they’re not joking when they say a stint of regular cleaning of your pad is easier than leaving it until later, and not having the supplies in stock will cause you further problems!

Past memories of still cleaning at 3am to try and remove gunk in the shower so I could avoid being fined is a memory still strong enough to motivate me to clean parts of my flat on a regular basis these days still.


by 'nicubunu' from OCAL. Used under Public Domain

by ‘nicubunu’ from OCAL. Used under Public Domain

Okay, this isn’t massively threatening if you don’t have them to hand, but on those social nights where you have a few games of FIFA before you go out on the console or you prefer to have your mouse and keyboard wireless it always pays to have some spares to hand for when things run out.

You can also go rechargable if that helps you remember. In theory this is pretty cost effective if you get a good value charger and batteries – though admittedly if you’re a gamer like me you’ll find they won’t power your Xbox/Steam controllers for very long… (Usually about a day or so).

Drugs (not the dodgy kind!!)

by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

When you become independent, it’s very easy to feel ‘grown up’ and feel you can do anything. To some extent you probably can, but it’s still useful to have a few basics (e.g: Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diarrhoea Tablets, Bonjela etc) in stock, because there’s nothing worse than eating something that didn’t agree with you and being caught short. Likewise if you’re in halls in particular, when Winter comes it’s the equivalent of working in a hospital (speaking from experience of being in halls and working at 2 hospitals) and especially if you’re in Medical school and doing both – disease spreads and it spreads easily.

Fun fact, the year after I left on my campus somebody entered the main dining hall with the norovirus, once they left they went back to their room in halls. Within 48 hours, one hall was quarantined. Please don’t let that scare you from living in halls – it really is an amazing experience – but please, be prepared when winter comes.

Tinned Food

by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay. Used under Public Domain

Similar to above, it’s worth having canned/tinned food in your arsenal. When the funds get low, you’ll find many foods require very little needs for storage and will often last until you next get your payment of your student loan. No power, no chilling (unless you’ve opened them) – just a shelf somewhere and (if it lacks a ringpull or a key) an instrument to open it with.


By Ballerinus (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

By Ballerinus (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

This one might seem strange, but with our ever growing dependence on technology means these accessories, big or small are becoming essential to both our everyday lives and potentially to your studies too!

When you’re watching a webinar in the library, not everyone around you wants to hear it (if the PC you’re on hasn’t had it’s internal speaker muted already). The same goes with middle of the night binges of Orange is the New Black or The Man in the Highcastle on your device when your room/floor/housemates are sleeping.

Headphones are also great for when you’re out and about listening to music on your iPod or the latest trends on your smartphone allowing you to temporarily disconnect from the world and make use of that valuable time when you’re travelling from one place to another (of course, don’t forget to be sensible!)

You can get earphones quite cheap in your nearest music or electronics shop or even online at shops like Amazon and eBay, so if you don’t have a pair already, I’d highly recommend it!

And finally…Patience & Will

Being a student is hard work – transitioning from the young to having all (or most) of the responsibility of an adult all at once. Thankfully it’s not as threatening as the ‘real world’ with many student friendly places offering discounts and lower prices on everything from shopping to utilities, but the responsibility is still there. You will make mistakes and misjudgements. You may hit stone broke. You may need to ask the family for a bit of cash now and again or get something functional rather than just fun for Christmas and that’s all okay. Being a student is all about learning and sometimes this learning will occur outside of your teaching spaces and learning to live on a tight budget takes time. But keep to the items above and for those that spot the ones I have inevitably missed, please share them in the comments section below so your fellow peers and other students alike can benefit and most importantly, don’t forget, loans do come in sections, so you will get your grant/bursary/loan again throughout the year and there’s always the jobs board if you do need more cash fast!


Best of luck to you starting out on your first year and for those returning to university, best of luck with your studies this year!