Getting ready for university? Here's our top tips!

University Student

In the immortal words of Mr Vincent Damon Furnier, school’s out for summer / school’s out forever. Your exams are done, your applications are submitted and you have bid your high-school teachers a ‘fond’ farewell. Now all you have to do enjoy a long summer of hanging out with friends, going to the beach and catching up with lots of sleep. After all, it’s months until you start at university, right? Well, yes and no. With no study to do and your friends all in the same boat, the summer holiday between school and university can often be the best of your life and should be enjoyed to the full. However, starting uni less than prepared can make the first few weeks or months a huge shock, so it’s also in your own interest to use some spare moments to polish up a few life skills, and lots of them are fun to practise anyway. Here’s our top tips!

  1. Cook! Takeaways are great occasionally, be can also be unhealthy and will eat into your precious finances. Whether you are living away for the first time, or at home but on a different schedule to your parents, being able to make your own delicious food is both helpful and satisfying. Step away from the instant noodles and check out these helpful tips and vegetarian food for busy people 
  2. Resources! There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared. Make sure you have a full complement of pens, pencils, paper and any other stationary you need, as well as plenty of folders and anything specific to your programme.
  3. Books! Check the course information and start getting core books early. Remember that lots of textbooks can be obtained second hand at a fraction of the cost, but these can take longer to arrive so give yourself time. You don’t have to read them cover to cover, but familiarising yourself with the opening chapter would be a fantastic start.

    Email dubai@contacts.bham.ac.uk to ask for selected reading from your course

  4. IT! Give your laptop a refresh, making sure the battery is fit for purpose and you have sufficient storage space. If you really wanted to geek out you could create folders for each module. This will give you a sense of connection to your course. When you finally come to writing your assignments, save and back them up regularly…trust me!
  5. Connect! Join any social media pages relating to your chosen institution and course. This will help you to start making connections to your course mates or people you may be living with, and is often a place where useful information can be found.
  6. Wash! Learn to use the washing machine. Whether you are living at home or in accommodation, it’s always good to know what goes where and what settings to use.
  7. Budget! It’s not fun, but knowing what you can (and cannot!) afford each month can both save you anxiety if you run out and also give you confidence to know that you can buy things you need as you have accounted for them. You may also be able to start a new bank account with special student promotions.
  8. Health! If you are new to the area, find and join a good health centre. This means a far easier time if you do get sick, when making calls and filling out forms is the last thing you feel like doing.
  9. Email! Universities love themselves an email, especially to new students. We know they are not the most thrilling missives you will ever receive, but do read them as they often contain really important information to help you start. Perhaps you could even forward them to your parents; they will appreciate you keeping them involved and also give you the tl;dr version!
  10. Relax! Starting university can seem daunting, especially if you are not a naturally outgoing person. This is completely natural and understandable response, so try not to worry about worrying about it. Remember that everyone else is going to be new too, and you will have lots of time to meet people and make connections in your own time and in your own way.