Tips & Pointers
A Guide to
Starting Uni Life
University is a wonderful period in your life, both socially and academically.
However it can also be a bit daunting, and there are a few things every
graduate looks back on thinking “I wish I’d known that when I first came to
Uni!”. So we’ve written this guide to help you make sure you make the most
of your first year.
Before You Go
20 Things You May Have Forgotten
A list of helpful things you may have forgotten to pack:
A door stop says you’re friendly, approachable and happy to chat.
2. Board Games:
A great way to break the ice and get to know your flat mates or other students in your hall.
3. Umbrel a:
One of the key things people often leave behind
4. White Tack:
The non-marking version of Blue Tack. Don’t lose your deposit over a few oily marks on
5. Health Kit:
containing Ibuprofen, antihistamines, antiseptic cream, paracetamol, cotton wool, plasters,
gauzes and bandages.
7. Extension Cord:
So many plugs, not enough outlets.
8. Halogen Desk Lamp:
For those late night study sessions.
9. Duct Tape:
If it’s still broken, you haven’t used enough.
10. Alarm Clock:
So you don’t miss any early lectures.
Often forgotten but so important.
12. Oven Gloves:
Protect your hands against the hot oven trays!
13. National Insurance Number:
You’ll need this when applying for part time jobs.
14. USB memory stick:
Vital for taking your projects to and from uni.
Handy for saving left overs.
16. Local Taxi Numbers:
Sometimes you can’t walk from A to B.
17. Flip Flops:
Important if you’re sharing a shower/bathroom.
18. Ear plugs:
Things can get a bit noisy sometimes, especially when you need a good night’s sleep.
19. HDMI Cable.
Decorating your room makes it feel more personal and can help with home sickness.
Meeting your neighbours
If you’re in halls, leave your door open when you’re happy to, this is an inviting gesture to any of your neighbours. Don’t hang around in your room all the time, go out to the social areas of your accommodation and meet people. It can be daunting, but everyone’s in the same boat.
Clubs and Societies
The Fresher’s fair is one of the first major opportunities to get involved in everything that’s going on. If you’re an avid sportsperson or hobbyist, it’s a good opportunity to meet like-minded people. And if you’re not, there’s still a multitude of other clubs and societies.
Some are free and some require a paid membership but all the money raised will be spent on activities for you and club mates to enjoy.
Joining a society will set you apart from others with the same degree. Employers want someone who is not only academically strong but someone with good social skills and who knows how to have fun. This is the perfect way to show off your non-academic talents.
A Few Misconceptions
There are a few misconceptions that people have about what Uni will be like, and these can end up a bit deflating if you find out the hard way. This section should just give a brief overview of what to really expect.
Style of Learning
Uni is completely different from school, and still
Class hours differ greatly from school; you could
very distinct from college. Whereas pretty much all
start at 1pm on some days and only have one
of your learning is done in the classroom at school
lecture but then be in from 9 to 5:30 the next.
or college, most of your work at Uni will be done
Get to know your timetable so you don’t miss out
independently and outside of the lecture hall.
The type of learning is very different at Uni. Students are encouraged to think far more critically and generate their own ideas and arguments, based upon what they already know.
Attendance policies vary greatly across different
At Uni students are responsible for their own time
Universities. At some, attendance is required for
management, scheduling study outside of lectures
students to pass modules and failure to attend a
and completing assignments to meet deadlines.
certain number can result in students being failed.
Usually, you won’t be reminded about coursework or given opportunities to hand in draft copies. An
At others, this may not be the case. However, one
assignment will be set and it’s up to you to meet
thing you can be sure of is that if you don’t turn up
tutors will not chase you up or make an effort to fill you in on what you missed. Ultimately, you’re responsible for your own learning and staff will only match the effort you put in.
However - this doesn’t mean you’re on your own as far as work goes. You’ll be assigned a Personal Academic
Tutor/Personal Tutor who you can go to for any trouble you’re having.
And your lecturers will be more than willing to help if you’re stuck or don’t understand something; but it’s
up to you to let them know you need some help.
For most students your student loan will be more money that you’ve ever had, you need to be careful and plan out how you’re going to spend it.
Maximising your income
Make sure that you’re receiving all the money you can though loans, grants, bursaries or scholarships. If you think you can manage balancing a part-time job as well, that might be a good idea.
Essential for making sure you have enough money to last you through the year.
First, you need to establish what your weekly/monthly income is: breaking it down into smaller chunks makes it far easier to monitor your spending.
Map out your essential costs:
• Rent/Hall Fees
• Other bills
• Travel costs
Basically anything that is essential for you survive at Uni. Once you have worked out these costs you can start thinking about how much money you have left for entertainment!
Revisit your budget and see if you’ve over or under spent on what you planned, if so, re-write your budget to accommodate for this.
Now that you’re a full time student you get the chance to open a student bank account which offers you an interest free overdraft. Use it wisely!
What If Everything Goes Wrong?!
This is very unlikely to occur, but whatever situation you find yourself in, it won’t be as bad as you think and many students have probably been through it before.
Moving away from home for the first time can be stressful, disorientating and overwhelming at times, you just need to take a step back, relax and think what you can do to resolve the issue.
Most universities will have a student helpline run by the student union with trained counsellors who will be able to help you with nearly every situation.
If you’re having trouble with your course you can talk to your personal academic tutor (PAT) who will be appointed within the first week, and if you’re really not enjoying your course you will have to option to switch courses early on in the year.
If you do get in to some trouble, here’s a useful list of resources to help:
Who to turn to:
Samaritans provide emotional support:
08457 90 90 90
Confidential Care: 0800 281 054
National Sexual Helpline: 0800 567 123
National Drugs Helpline: 0800 77 66 00
NHS Direct: 0845 46 47
http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/firststeps/differ.html http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/studentexperience/about/expectations/fromschool/http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/firststeps/expect_sl.html http://www.theguardian.com/education/2009/oct/06/how-to-be-student-friendshttp://www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/freshers-and-settling
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