If you’re thinking of going to uni next year, then it’s likely that you’ll be sending off your UCAS application soon, if you haven’t already.
The idea of going to university is a daunting one, after all, it’s probably going to be the first time that you are going to be living without your parents there to help and support you. Despite how scary it may be, you should be excited too; You’re growing up and becoming independent!
Student life can certainly be a struggle, but here are some tips to help you get by a little easier.
Decorate Your Room | If you’re moving really far away from home, it’s completely normal for you to become really homesick really quickly. Dorm rooms, in all their plainness, don’t make this transition any easier. The first thing that you should do when you arrive at your dorm is decorate it. Add fairy lights, pictures of family and friends, your own bed covers, and plenty of ornaments and accessories. This won’t make your new room feel like your old one, but it will certainly make it feel like your room and a little more homey.
Get Yourself Organised | A lot is going on at university every single day, and it all can become overwhelming very quickly. The last thing that you want to do is miss an important lecture or assignment deadline because you were trying to remember which day your book club meets up. Get yourself a planner, or even install an app, and write down what assignments you have due when, when and where your lectures are, the days your societies meet up, and anything else that you can’t afford to forget.
Protect Your Computer | You may think that it’s only large businesses or companies that have to worry about cyber security, but you should too. After all, the last thing that you want to do is finish a five thousand word assignment, and then click a dodgy link and get a virus that completely wipes your computer. Install some antivirus software and be careful of the sites you’re visiting and the links you’re clicking.
Have A Spare Phone | You may be incredibly careful with your phone and have never broken a single one in your entire life, but accidents do happen, so it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps you dropped your phone down the toilet first thing in the morning, left it in a lecture and never found it again, or had it smashed on a night out; Either way, you’re left without. It makes sense to have a spare tucked away in a drawer so that you don’t have to wait until you have enough money to replace your current one.
Pay For Streaming | You are going to be incredibly busy while you’re at uni, but there is always going to be time between lectures and assignments to do the things that you enjoy. If you’re sick of going out drinking (literally) or were never much of a party animal in the first place, then it makes sense to have something that you can do in your uni room.
Streaming sites like Amazon Video and Netflix can provide you hours of entertainment, and mean that you don’t have to lug boxes of DVDs with you from home. No one likes that clutter!!
Don’t Be Tempted By Deals | So you’re doing a food shop, and you see that the packs of sausages are three for two, which sound like a great deal. Newsflash: It isn’t. Unless you’re buying frozen sausages (which you might not have the room for), sausages don’t have a very long life, so there’s no way that you’re going to find a reason to use three packs. Only buy what you know you can use, otherwise, you’ll just waste food and money. The only exception to this rule is tinned goods, as they are incredibly versatile, last absolutely ages, and can be stored pretty much anywhere.
Budget Your Student Loan | It’s only November, and I’m already seeing people that have spent every single penny of their student loan, and are now struggling for money. Try to avoid the broke feeling if possible, and budget how you’re going to spend your loan. By doing this, you should be able to get by until your next loan installment.
University is an exciting experience, but it can get tough at times, especially if you’re not prepared. Hopefully this short guide helps you to enjoy your experience a little more and makes your life a little easier at uni.
* This is a collaborative post and may include affiliate links
I don’t like to pretend I know all about university, because I don’t. But I did move away from home, head off to further education and essentially balls up some of the opportunities I could have nabbed if I had maybe put a level head on!
But we mustn’t dwell on the past ay!
I will hold my hands up, accept my responsibility and admit I really did scupper my university degree. I didn’t drop out, and I did come away with a degree, but It could have been much better and I could have used my time more wisely, instead of abuse the freedom the place gave me!
To refrain from sounding too like your mum, I won’t go on too much, but you should be aware, you’ll make some mistakes during your first, second and third year at uni. It’s just realising you have, accepting responsibility and moving on. Here’s what I mean :
You’ll miss loads of lessons.
It’s inevitable. You’ll lay in bed as your alarm is sounding running through all things you will now be doing before you end back in the comfort that is bed once again. And yeah it doesn’t sound and seem too appealing. So you’ll stay in bed this one time, because you promise yourself you’ll go to the next lesson. Thing is, you won’t. And before you know it, you’ve missed a whole term of lessons and now you’re well behind.
You won’t go to lessons there after because it’s too hard to confront the mountain of work you now have to tackle if you want to be back on track. You’ll miss a whole year and you’ll regret it, I promise.
Get up, go, show your face and learn. You’re paying a heck of a lot of money for it!!
You’ll think you can sail through 1st year.
Everyone does, because you only need 40% pass to get onto second year. And you are frequently reminded that 1st year doesn’t count. And it doesn’t! But it will set you up for the following 2 years where it does count!!
Don’t add stress to yourself un-necessarily in the following years because you didn’t commit in first year. Apply yourself now and it will pay off!
You’ll get far tooo drunk
Whilst university isn’t all about the education, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fun, but the thing is, when you get too drunk, you don’t go to university and some of the times, you make a real tit out of yourself.
Don’t be the fool everyone is gossiping about round halls, be the fun gal who has a laugh but knows how to handle herself!!
Leave everything to the last minute
Essays, revision, washing up, cooking, reading. The list is endless.
Living life on the edge may sound and feel risky, but once again you are adding extra strain and pressure to yourself for no real rhyme or reason! Get in first, start early and leave yourself plenty of time to apply yourself properly.
I cannot express how I regret leaving work till the last minute. I always felt like I had cheated myself out of a real opportunity to get a good grade and prove myself.
Spend too much money
Another silly mistake many many students get themselves into. Student Overdrafts! Whilst the trips to New Look, H&M and Zara are all fun and games, and you look like a sassy student, paying it off after the degree isn’t so fun!
Neither is working night and day to keep your head above board! Over spending and committing to overdrafts and loans adds once again more stress and pressure! Uni is hard enough as is, without having money issues.
Speak to professionals if you are struggling with budgeting, and put aside some time to budget effectively for bills, food and basic essentials!
I hope I haven’t sounded too like your good old mum, and sometimes when I look at the students heading off to University, I feel bloody old.
But honestly, I wish I could tell my younger self these couple of points. I may have come away with a better grade degree, or even without a student overdraft!
Is there anything better than being a student and able to make your own food?
But, it can be a little daunting, plus energising to think about cooking after a long day, or late evening on the lash, but don’t worry, here’s a couple of easy peasy recipes to whack out when you’re not too fussed for slogging in the kitchen.
P.s – if you’re a lazy lass like me, but not at uni, these are super useful too! Pesto Spinach Pasta
Pasta is life. Especially Pesto Pasta! So easy to make and tasty and moorish. This is my go to meal when I really don’t feel like making food.
Boil some water in a pan.
Once boiling, add your pasta and cook for 10mins
Once cooked, drain and add back into pan.
Add a teaspoon of Pesto, handful of spinach and a teaspoon of olive oil.
Mix well on a low heat.
Once combined, serve with pine nuts, tomato and cheese
Topped Hot Dogs
Delish and super easy. I like to top our hot dogs with anything I have floating around, but a personal favourite is chorizo and bacon topped hot dogs. Here’s how:
American style hot dogs, tinned, in brine
Hot Dog Rolls
Dice your onion and chorizo into small chunks
Put a frying pan onto the hob and pour a small helping of olive oil.
Fry you chorizo, onion and bacon lardons in the pan.
Season with salt and pepper.
Lower the heat and pre-heat your hot dogs in another saucepan
Once cooked, serve your hot dogs in the buns and garnish with chorizo, onion and bacon.
Add your choose sauce – ketchup is a must!!
If you’ve never had Gnocchi, you need to give it a go. Weird looking and feel but my oh my it’s delish and speedy to cook. Once again, this is a dish you can add pretty much anything into and will work out just fine. I like to grab whatever I have left veg wise and bung it in with a meat like chorizo or bacon.
Here’s my go-to Gnocchi recipe.
Packet of Gnocchi
Pepper (Any colour)
Garlic (I choose the squeazy tube)
Tomato Pasta Sauce
Dice your veg into small chunks.
Dice your chorizo into small slices.
In a frying pan, heat up a table spoon of oil and add your garlic.
Chuck in your Chorizo and allow to brown.
In a small saucepan, boil water.
Once your chorizo is brown, pop in and fry your veg.
Add your Gnocchi into boiling water.
Reduce the heat on your veg and chorizo. Add in your desired pasta sauce.
Once your ghnocchi has risen to the surface of the water, drain and add into pasta sauce mix.
Combine well and serve!
I frickin love Mexican. Anything with salsa and guacamole and lots of flavour and I’m on it! But sometimes, just sometimes I really can’t be asked to make fajitas, despite being bloody simple and really rather quick.
But when I’m lazy, which is most of the time, and wanting something with plenty of flavour that I can just stick in the oven, this is the meal!
Loaded nachos with mountains of cheese, salsa, meat of some sort and all the topping you can think of! Here’s my little recipe for you to try.
You’ve received your results and you’re on your way to university.
You’re mega excited of course. This is the sign of freedom, pure and utter freedom!
You’re going to live away from home, and the clutches of your parents who can no longer tut and mutter when you awake at midday after a night on the town.
You’ve even heard all the wild stories of messy nights after beer pong and society parties.
Sound about right? This is all I heard whenever I talked to anyone regarding uni.
But, there’s a couple of things you probably haven’t been told. Don’t worry, I’m not going to scare you off uni, but just educate you a little more, since you know, you need to go with eyes wide open right?? It’s expensive
Might be pointing the obvious, but you will be eating copious amounts of Tesco Value beans because suddenly branded items seem megaaaa expensive. 24p a can? Yes Please!!
Food shopping starts off as fun, ends a drag.
“Food shopping, yes please! I get to choose what I actually eat and cook for myself”. First time is always a feel good trip. There after its downhill I’m afraid. Since when did thinking of 5 meals for a week become so hard?
A tactical chunder will happen, on more than one occasion
Whether it’s in aid to drink more, make it through the night or even get you through the next day, you will do it. It won’t feel nice at the time, but I promise it will make it better!!
Local nights are a no go
These are the nights where the local young wannabe’s head to town and more times than none, try and hang with the uni students. Stay away from Friday & Saturday nights to avoid
House mates will steal food and / or cutlery
Probably both at least once, because you all become lazy bums who can’t be asked to wash even a fork in order to eat your next meal. What’s the point when there’s clean cutlery ready to use, like yours!
You will miss the majority of your morning lessons / seminars
Because you will be a hungover mess from the night before. OR, you binged so much Netflix during the night with your house mates, a 9am seminar really isn’t on the top of your agenda. OR, even better, you’ve told yourself you deserve a lay in since you are a student after all. All I can say, you should make it your mission to at least make one!
You can actually live on just 2 meals a day
Not highly recommendable, but you will learn this yourself when you are in the library 22 hours in one day to cram in for your exam, or start and finish that 10,000 word essay you’ve had over 2 months to do and haven’t had time to eat 3 meals.
2 Meals will suffice, but again, not recommendable!
Or even Super Noodles!
You will probably live off super noodles because god damn they taste good, take next to no time to make and they’re ruddy cheap! When these don’t tickle your fancy soo much any more, you will resort to a pasta dish including, but not restricted to the following : Cheesy Pasta, Pesto Pasta, Tomato Pasta or Ketchup Pasta.
You’ll either lose, break or have your phone stolen!
Or maybe do all 3 throughout your life at uni. Word of strong advice, whilst it may not be equipped with Insta and Facebook, if you really are going for heavy nights, you might want to grab yourself a cheap £10 phone, so you’re not too upset when it goes missing!
You will probably put on weight – and then become a gym geek!
There are always these people, and it may just be you. Those that put on a load of weight in the first couple of months, because beer and nachos, but then figure it’s probably best to get back to pre-university weight, and better. So you join a gym, watch your calories and may even take protein. All part of uni life – apparently.
As a post grad, or even a current university student, you may completely agree or even disagree with me on some or all of these points. But you know what, it’s okay, it’s just what I found when studying!
Every Uni is different, and so is every student, every year!
What a sunny and bright one this Saturday is!! Its been megaaaaaaaaaaa, yet I’m back on my fav de-stressing place and bustling with ideas. This one came when I sat at work and suddenly realised the date…..
I will call this a reflection on a decision I am yet to feel the reward from. Before I rant on for god knows how long, I would like to say, as much as I’m not sure if it was all worth it just yet, I did meet some amazing people, and the skills I didn’t so much pay for, have got me through some pretty tough spots that prior to uni Charlotte probably would’ve melted in.
Its May 2016.
This time last year I had just finished my Final Major Project and landed a London job. Everything looked bright, for now, and to be honest, I was just bloody grateful I no longer had to lie to myself that watching Netflix was more productive than writing a essay or turning up to a lecture.
Uni got boring, but the prospect of working life seemed daunting yet promising, since all my lectures had promised jobs that paid £30,000 plus and a uni loan that would only steal pence from my pocket a month. I was so excited for the future.
That was until I hated waking at sun rise, becoming a full on commuter for a job that I didn’t all care for, nor gave me the pay cheque I was promised. I stuck at it for 3 months, threw in the towel and looked for a more suited, local job to sink my teeth into.
I was prepared with a degree in one hand and another slightly full of work experience and hard work.
Much to my surprise, I received negativity and rejection; something I wasn’t prepared for. In the end, after just over a month of tears and endless amounts of emails, cover letters and adjusting the CV, I realised it might just be better to take my degree of my CV!
I felt I wasn’t given the time of day for some jobs simply because I was ‘over qualified’. I was gutted and distraught that after 3 years I wasn’t falling into the job I wanted, or even given a chance at jobs that would put me on the way because ‘lack of experience’.
Thankfully I caught a break and landed myself the job I have now. Estate agency really wasn’t what I was looking for, but with a dual role of communications, It has given me the experience that hopefully will get me the £30,000 plus role I had been promised from uni.
In the last 12 months, I have been lucky enough to secure a job I enjoy, with some amazing people. Whilst the money may be minimal and a under half what I was told I could expect, I have achieved some amazing things since my degree.
I mean I got a bloody mortgage for christ sake!!
University is a business, and as much as they’ll say they care for their students, all they care about is the fees are paid and their students stick around to pay stupid amounts to put on a gown and collect a certificate that doesn’t mean as much as you’d hoped in the real world.
Every degree is different, yet I wish I had been told the hard truth that you should also expect the worst. The sleepless nights thinking you’ll never get out of your debt, and crying because you think no one will ever give you a chance.
I Bloody Graduated.
I cannot believe I got this far.
Over the last 3 years I thought about throwing in the towel so many times. The late nights slaving over a essay, cold mornings filming some footage for a news bulletin, emailing everyone you can just for a interview and watching the news over and over trying to find some inspiration for a news package idea. Oh the woes of a journalism student ay!
But I got there, and with only a couple of grey hairs!
Going to university was always the goal for me, and even though it wasn’t until the last year of college did I know what I’d be doing there, I knew Id always make it there. So when it came to being there and going ahead with it, I thought I had made a massive mistake, but provailed thinking I didn’t have anything to lose.
Now, 3 years after starting, 5 years after leaving school and 18 years after starting my road of education, I am glad I did it and got this far.
I must say, the weather was awful, and I felt like I looked like a drowned rat! Solent, you need to move your graduation to a month less prone to rain and wind!
But the rain didn’t dampen my spirits and I was so chuffed to be where I was. Yes, I’m pretty sure I look chubby for my offical picture, and I constantly looked at how good everyone else looked vs me, but what you going to do! There was a small feeling of a lot of faff for a 20 second walk onto stage, but that would be me being picky!
Have you graduated? What did you think of the whole experience? Let me know and comment below.
Anyone who knows me knows I am terrible and budgeting myself. Awful at it! Since being at uni, I only thought I could get better at it, but it turns out, I have got a whole lot worse. So since turning unemployed and lacking a income, I had decided budgeting is probably the best idea, and it turns out, its working pretty well!
So, here is my tips for those of you, who like me, think it probably would be a good idea!
Limit yourself : I am terrible at limiting myself when it comes to going shopping. To limit yourself better, take out cash and leave your card at home! Then you have no choice but to stick to your limit.
Spend at the start of the month : I tend to spend at the start of the month, and others at the end. I see it as a reward for all the hard work the previous weeks. All new clothes in store, new fashion and style. Spend at the start of the month and wear throughout. By the time you’ve reached getting bored of an item, you’ll be back to the start of a new month and a new style – score!!
On-line banking: Can’t stress how much easier it is when you have on-line banking and an app on your phone. Keep tabs on what your spending straight away, and transfer money over to savings when needed – easy!
Prioritise : what do you really want! Prioritise what you’d prefer to spend your money on and what you need to. If those boots can wait but the coat can’t you know what you’ll be buying this month and next.
Set aside for the amenities : Know your outgoings and ensure you have it set aside. Be reasonable on what you have to spend for yourself this month and don’t stretch yourself thin. Bare in mind when your MOT is due and if anything else unexpected is on its way.
And finally :
Shop on the cheap: Aldi and lidl are my place to go for food and on the cheap. Fresh food cheap and no-branded but as good as the rest are cheaper too. If you need a new outfit, but can’t afford Topshops prices, always check Primark! Savers is also a great pit stop for cheaper cosmetics and beauty products!
So if you struggle with budgeting yourself, or think its high time to start, these little tips are sure to get you onto the road of recovery and saving.
If you have any tips of your own I’d love to know so comment below.
As my degree came to an end, and my house keys have been handed over, I’ve started to look over my time at university, moving away from home and living with other people.
You will always hear of horror stories of those who house share, whether it be the people they shared with, or the annoying neighbours next door. Upon refelection, I seem to have had my fair share of both, lol. So here are some things to bear in mind if you’re moving in with friends, or starting a house share for your time at university. Beware, you might not have even thought of some of these!
It’s one thing being friends, its another living together!
Having lived in both halls of residence and private housing, there really isn’t much to go on when thinking of who to live with whilst studying. My choice was made easy at the end of my first year, with all us girls clubbing together to find a house. But friendships really come under pressure when living together, think wisely when who to live with!
Remember, everyone has different living habbits, and different tendancy’s to mess and dirt. Mine is not as strong as others by my understanding of the last couple of years. What you consider mess and dirt may not be to others.
Don’t chuck any food thats not your own
It’s always awkward if you’ve chucked away mouldy gone off food, but it’s not recieved well. If its mouldy, don’t chuck it, just make the owner well aware. Better than answering the ‘where is my…’ question.
Despite washing up being done, its never put back in the drawer, or its used before it has the chance. Its not uncommon either to wash things up before you eat, the dinner needed time to cool I guess.
Mutual cleaning is hard to organise
When its messy its messy and its not all of your own, hell it might not be any of yours, but you know it needs to be done, and its going to take more than one pair of hands to sort it. It takes more than a little organisation to sort it.
Timing cooking is essential
When living with 4 other girls with a small kitchen, it had to become timed when too cook. Too many cooks in the kitchen just became not only messy, but stressful. Be prepared to eat late so you can cook in space!
Showering is in shifts
Much like cooking, its all in shifts. Teeth brushing, hair washing, weeing and showering is all in shifts. If you leave that bathroom because you’ve forgot something, chances are someone else is already in there!
Never had so much post….for bills!
I’ve never recieved so much post and its all bills bills bills. How exciting that British Gas is my biggest fan?!
If you can hear your neighbours, they can hear you!
I have had endless evenings hearing the guy next door make love to his girlfriend, I’ve heard domestic arguments after a night out, singing, gossiping and flute practice. Apart from being pretty annoying as well as hilarious, just remember they can probably hear you when you’re singing along to Taylor Swift whilst preparing for a night out.
But best of all, your best friend lives with you, and thats amazing.
There are ups and downs of living with friends, but the best bit is them living with you. Since leaving university, the worst bit is, there isn’t some one awake with you, there isn’t someone there to gossip with when you can’t sleep, getting ready together is super easy; you just move into their room for the evening. Nights out don’t end when you go home, they continue, then there’s the group shopping trips, pamper nights, morning gossips in bed, afternoon naps, re-runs of desperate housewives and gossip girl and so so so much more.
So if you’re moving in with friends because of uni or just because you can, there will always be some good and bad points, but it really is the best experience. Just remember
Are you going to uni? Have you just come back? Let me know and comment below.