Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Surviving University: Part 1

So after being at University for 2 years, I thought I’d share some of my top Uni tips which would be useful to new/current/future students. This post will mainly be aimed at students living away from home, but a lot of them could still be used if you’re living at home.

I am going to make this into a little blog series as I love reading about other peoples University experiences so hopefully people will enjoy reading mine. I thought i'd start off with the obvious 10 tips for Uni. 

1.      Budget
Budgeting is literally the most important thing you have to do whilst being at Uni. If you are like me and have to live off your loan/job and get no money from your parents, then you have no choice but to budget. My top tip would be to make sure you budget for EVERYTHING with a little bit of spare/emergency money as well. Everything from rent and food to nights out and clothes need to be budgeted. Let’s be honest, you aren't going to go an entire term without buying any clothes or going on random nights out, so make sure you plan on how much money you will give yourself for these ‘luxury’s’. Trust me, I tend to spend my loan really quickly and have to rely on my job which really isn't fun!

2.       Get a job
Even if you think you can live off your loan, getting a job is such a great way to make friends, make a bit of money and something to do! Yeah you might miss a few nights out/day trips but let’s be honest how much are you actually missing? I currently have a job were you book your own shifts which is perfect for students as you can book them around your life. This means you can go on all the nights out you want as well as leaving yourself time to do assignments! Plus sometimes it’s a great way to get away from your housemates for a few hours hehe!

3.       Know what items you should and shouldn't budget
So as much as I would say budget and try and save as much money as you can, there are just some things you really can’t budget. For me it’s makeup. Although some items of makeup I have discovered a cheaper alternative version, I simply can’t get a cheaper version of some bits of makeup. Something that I don’t mind budgeting so much on is clothes, especially basic staple items and flat shoes. One word.. Primark! Although I still mostly shop in high street shops, Primark is so good for buying plain T-shirts, leggings and flat everyday shoes!

4.       Organise your assignments
There is nothing worse than having to do an all-nighter in the library the day before an assignment is due, so make sure you organise times to do it! I am one of those people who has to literally draw myself a schedule of what days I have free and set a few hours aside to do my assignments. I have always been a last minute type of person for everything as I hate waiting, so I just make sure I plan a realistic schedule for when I am going to do my assignments. There is no better feeling than finishing an assignment whilst your friends are still doing it.. And vice versa!

5.       Food Shopping
For me the food I always have to have in my fridge is cheese, eggs, beans, potato waffles and bacon, which just happens to be one of my fave meals! (Most people always also like to have milk and bread, but I have learnt to live without these.) All of these items cost around £1 and can be used to make so many more meals, obviously I have more food than just them. My top tip would also be to write a list of food you want to buy before you go, it’s so easy to throw everything that looks tasty into the trolley and then end up spending a fortune! Know realistically what food you are actually going to eat and always check sell by dates!

6.       Entertaining yourself for cheaper
Many people think that when you’re a student you can’t afford to go out for meals or do anything during the day, but there is so many places which have special discount days/ discounts for students. I know living in Manchester, there are so many places on a Monday which do 50% off food and everyone knows about Orange Wednesdays.

7.       Netflix
If you’re not yet at Uni, you probably won’t realise how much free time you will have! Especially in the day time when all your housemates are at Uni at different times, so invest in Netflix. Netflix has literally been a boredom savior this year, you will find yourself watching an entire TV series in a couple of days! If you live with a few people then split the price of Netflix, or if you’re like me and have a wonderful friend who already has Netflix and gives her password out to all of us then it’s amazing! (Thanks Kathryn)

8.       Living with new people
Okay so I have known my housemates for 2 years now but there is some stuff that you will need to prepare yourself for when living with a group of people. Firstly food and drinks will magically go missing and no matter how many times you tell everyone not to, it’s still gonna happen. So remember to keep anything important (like chocolate) hidden or in your room! You will also start the year with loads of cups and cutlery and come home with 1 of each. No one knows where anyone’s stuffs gone so don’t buy anything too expensive. Lastly, arguments can be kept a minimum if you learn to give and take. I've heard about arguments from other groups of students were they all now hate eachother, which are mainly from people not respecting each other’s wants and needs etc.

9.       Pre-Drinks
      Pre-drinking is crucial at uni if you want to be able to actually afford a night out. It can also be really fun if you play some games and put music on. Ring of fire and I have never are the usual games most students play, but try googling some as it can end up being a lot more fun!

10.   Make memories!
      As cheesy as it sounds.. Make sure you have loads of fun!

     These are my top 10 University tips, but there will be more Survivng University posts soon. I would love to hear some of your tips in the comment section!

     Kelsey xx

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