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By Simon Thompson
 
     
As the new academic year draws nearer and nearer, both new and returning

students are beginning to prepare for the return to university. Looking

towards September, there are many things students can do to make sure that

theyíre ready to return. Whether youíre coming to university for the first

time, or coming back from a long summer at home, the new academic year can

be overwhelming. At accommodation for students, weíve compiled some helpful

tips and tricks to help students settle back into university life.

Get familiar with the material

:

Whether youíve been prescribed an introductory reading list, or have simply

been given a couple of recommendations, itís useful to get on top of this

as early as possible. Starting your reading will help keep the pressure off

when the academic year begins, and make sure youíre already familiar with

the concepts you will be learning. It is also useful to look into the

specifics of your university course. Whether your units are all mandatory

or whether youíve got a lot of choice, know what youíll be studying. Once

term begins, staying on top of your work is one of the most important

things; if you already know what youíll be studying and youíve done the

reading, then academic life is going to be a lot easier for you.

Get to know your personal tutor

:

Reaching out and contacting your academic advisor or personal tutor online

can be a really helpful way to build your network at university. Your

personal tutor will be your first point of contact once the academic year

begins so get to know them sooner rather than later. Contacting them early

in the year, may also be useful if you have a query once term begins.

Learn how to cook

:

Whether youíre living away from home for the first time, or whether youíve

spent the year in catered halls and are moving into a house, being able to

cook will help you avoid buying expensive ready meals or takeaways. Begin

to think about cooking on a budget and buying cheaper food options to help

your money go further. Perhaps buy a student cookbook to learn how to eat

well on a budget. Think about batch cooking; you cook once and eat twice Ė

a great tip for a timesaver or a lazy chef.

Think about your budget

:

Living away from home, youíll be living off your student loan (or grant),

and it may be useful to plan how far this money will go before you leave.

Create a budgeting plan, know how much you can spend on food each week, how

much for nights out and how much (if any) will be left over? Think about

whether you have any emergency funds you can draw on if youíre really in

need of an extra boost. No matter how much you get, you get a lump sum all

at once, and for the novice, this can seem like a lot; the veteran knows

that itís not. Planning your budget in advance can help you conceptualise

how far your money will go.

Make sure you open up a student bank account, this can be an easy way to

get an overdraft that is often interest free. Many banks offer students

different incentives, such as a free railcard or an Amazon voucher.

However, donít be too swayed by the freebees, make sure you go to a bank

that you trust and that has good rates.

Engage over social media

:

Before university begins, many universities will often set up either

official or unofficial Facebook groups. This is a great way to meet your

flatmates or course mates before youíve even began. Whether youíre a new or

returning student itís always useful to keep expanding your network and

making connections and social media is becoming more and more useful for

this. Whether you want to join societies or just connect with some

likeminded people social media is the way to go, especially given the

current restrictions and social distancing rules.

Make a checklist

:

Youíve got the new bedding, and all your pots and pans, but itís easy to

forget some of the finer things, such as an extension lead or a hot water

bottle. Make yourself a list in advance of all the things you use on a

daily basis, and some of the things you use less often but absolutely need.

Planning in advance will help avoid the last minute back to university

panic and help you to keep your packing under control.

Do a bulk buy

:

If youíre getting dropped off at university by your parent, or have a

flatmate with a car, itís a great idea to go and do a bulk buy while your

loan has just come in and youíve got the money. Bulk buying is cheaper in

the long run and takes the pressure off your weekly shop. If you buy all

your dry goods in advance then youíll only have to buy fresh food when you

go to the shop, and of course your load will be lighter when youíre

carrying your shopping home each week.

Look ahead

:

Those students entering third year will be looking ahead to their graduate

prospects, keeping your CV updated can help keep the pressure off when

youíre trying to juggle university work and job applications. This may also

be a useful time to start looking at whether you can begin to gain some

work experience in your chosen industry, whether you look for paid work or

look for a voluntary opportunity. Starting early can reduce your stress

later in the academic year, of course most students donít yet know which

industry they want to go onto (itís okay thatís normal), but keeping your

CV updated can help you be prepared for when an opportunity does come up.

Spend time with your friends and family

:

Whether youíre a home bird thatís flying the nest for the first time, or

whether youíre itching to get back, the bottom line is that youíre probably

going to be away from your loved ones for the majority of the next academic

year. So, take the time to say goodbye and spend some quality moments

before you go back.

Get to know the area

:

Whether you take a quick trip up to visit the city youíll be in before term

or turn to google to help you, itís a good idea to research about the city

that youíll be living in. You might want to check out what the restaurants

are like, how big the student community is, or check out where you can go

on day trips. If youíre nervous about going to a new city, or wanting to

get a better understanding of the city that youíve been away from all

summer, doing your research can help you feel prepared for the move away

and the start of term.

Overall, thereís no rule book for preparing for university, everyoneís

different and finds comfort in different things but these are just some

ways that can help you feel ready for the new academic year.

 
 
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because going out takes a lot of effort

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Homesickness can be hard, and can often leave you feeling distressed, isolated, lonely and upset. However, it is completely natural and should be something that is expected from your first year at university, when the fresherís wave is over, it can leave a

     
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By day three you will want to incinerate 90% of your previous wardrobe

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bag a job through social media

Create Profiles

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Technology, homeware, food and travel

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a round up of the best...

First year is renowned for being a time to make mistakes, and boy did you guys prove this to be true. We spoke to Fresherís across the country to find your most hilarious/cringe worthy tales and letís just say it

     
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because going out takes a lot of effort...

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accept your Fresherís Flu fate

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The mattress topper, our saviour

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