Starting university is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting times of your life— And for good reason. You’ll soon be studying for your dream degree, meeting new friends, and exploring a new city!
Although there is lots of excitement surrounding this new chapter in your life, you might also be experiencing some feelings of worry and uncertainty over moving away from home for the first time, learning to manage your finances, or just figuring out how to navigate your university campus.
It is important to remember that all the above feelings are both normal and valid, but it is just as important to remember that there are ways to prepare yourself and alleviate any feelings of stress you might be facing.
To help you along your way, we have teamed up with our partners at Student Minds to put together a list of everything you need to know to prepare for university. Read on below to learn more.
Ahead of starting university, take the time to do some research on your degree, university, and the city you’ll be moving to, as well as what you’ll need to bring with you to your new student accommodation.
What Uni? has a great search engine that allows you to find your courses and university, and to learn what to expect from both. You might also want to check out websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor to learn more about the city you’re moving to and to find suggestions on the best places to visit for pubs, restaurants, entertainment, and more.
Last, but most certainly not least, don’t forget to explore your student accommodation prior to checking in! If you haven’t yet seen your accommodation in person, you should be able to attend a virtual tour and find both photos and videos on the accommodation website. This will allow you to familiarise yourself with your new home-from-home, and to feel fully comfortable in your space prior to moving in.
But don’t stop there! Be sure to check out what items will be provided at your new accommodation and start purchasing what you need well ahead of time. Many of the items you’ll need can easily be found and ordered online. In fact, you can take the hassle out of buying and transporting your bedding and kitchen items by pre-ordering a pack from our friends at UniKitOut to be pre-delivered to your residence. (Don’t forget to enter promotional code: ABODUS10 to receive 10% off at checkout!)
Manage Your Finances
Living independently comes with many other responsibilities, including taking care of your own finances. When you move out on your own for the first time, you’ll need to learn to manage your money yourself. This is something that you will not want to leave to learn until the last minute, so we recommend preparing yourself in this area well ahead of time.
While managing your finances can seem like a daunting task, there is luckily a wealth of information and resources available to you as a university student. While you’re researching your city and what you’ll need in your new accommodation, go ahead and do some additional research on best money habits, including apps and tech that can help you keep track of what you’re spending and plan for the future.
If you don’t already have a bank account in place, this is a great place to start. Many banks offer free overdraft facilities, a debit card, and even incentives for joining. Then, you’ll want to make a list of any and all potential costs whilst living on your own. Apps such as Money Dashboard will allow you to link multiple accounts and see everything in one place.
For more information on managing your finances, check out our blog on locking down your finances, or even this blog on managing your finances from our friends at UniversityLiving.com. Student Minds also has an entire student finance section on its website, which you might find very useful.
Learn to Live on Your Own
When you first begin living on your own, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the sudden list of to-dos you’re faced with. Along with learning to be responsible with your money, you will soon find yourself responsible with your living space, to include cooking, cleaning, and doing your own laundry.
When it comes to food, many freshers find themselves relying on take away and fast foods. Not only can this be harmful to your health, but it can also be harmful to your wallet. (Let’s not undo all the hard work you’ve just done in the step above!)
If you do not already know how to cook, start with small and easy meals. Slow cooker meals are a great option, as you can pop all your ingredients in and essentially “forget” about the meal for several hours. Check out this useful slow cooker Facebook group for some great recipes to get you started. If you aren’t keen on slow cooker meals, there are lots of great blogs and videos out there for those just starting out with cooking.
When you live on your own for the first time, you might also find yourself learning to clean or do your laundry for the first time ever. As above, you can find a plethora of resources on cleaning and doing your own laundry online. Check out the hashtag #cleantok on TikTok, or you can even follow a few YouTubers for some inspiration on cleaning. Here is a great blog with seven YouTube cleaning accounts that you can follow to get you started. If you are more of a reader, check out our blogs on how to organise your space and great nontoxic cleaning product alternatives.
All the above can feel bit scary at first, but once you get yourself into a good routine, you will likely find yourself forgetting that there was ever a time that you didn’t know how to cook, clean, or do your own laundry!
Moving out on your own might leave you feeling a little disconnected in the beginning, and you might find the thought of making new friends a bit frightening, but it doesn’t have to be!
The first step in making new friends when starting university is to connect with those around you. Connect with your classmates and flatmates ahead of time by checking to see whether your university and accommodation provider have Facebook pages for those studying the same subject and living at the same property as you. You can also check out the Bumble App, which has a BFF feature for you to connect with friends only in your area. These are both great options because if you aren’t too keen on connecting in-person once you arrive (hello, introverts), you can continue a digital conversation with these individuals.
If you are more of a socialite, once you have gotten moved to your new city and settled into your accommodation, you can make plans to meet up with those you have been speaking to online. You can also check out what events are on at your university and student accommodation, or you can check out what events are on in your city through websites like Eventbrite or even the events section on Facebook.
However, you choose to socialise when you head off to university, doing so will help you to feel connected and being part of the new community you’ve just joined.
Look After Yourself
Although this is the last tip, it is probably the most important one we can give you! Heading off to university and moving out on your own is a huge life change, and although following the above steps will help to make the transition as seamless as possible, it is still vital to focus on self-care and rest.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of your new life, don’t forget to take the time for yourself each day through activities that you enjoy, whether that is reading, playing a sport, or catching up with an old friend. Equally, ensure that you are listening to your body and resting when needed.
If you need ideas on how to focus on self-care, or you are just looking for more wellbeing support, our partners at Student Minds and i am me are great resources for both. And if you need support on how to ensure you’re making enough time for your self-care routine, check out our blog on prioritising self-care here.
Here at Abodus, the wellbeing of our residents is at the core of everything we do, which is why we focus so heavily on providing you with the best wellbeing resources to support you through.
If you find yourself needing more support during the transition to university, our partners at Student Minds have put together a resources section for starting university on their website. If you need to speak to someone directly, you can also utilise Student Minds’ newest platform, Student Space, where you can access phone, text message, email, and webchat support.
You will undoubtedly face both exciting and stressful times throughout your university career, but if you follow the above steps and take advantage of all the resources available to you, you will find yourself enjoying your time at university to the fullest!