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Rainbow graffiti in Brighton

University 101: preparing for university life

The jump to university can feel like a leap of faith if you are unprepared. It can be overwhelming, both mentally and physically, but it does not need to be! Making sure you know what to expect and taking the time to process the change will help you along the way. I will be sharing some of the lessons I learned and some tips that have really helped me throughout my university experience. Hopefully they will help you too.

Research! Learn about the university city

I came to Brighton for university, leaving behind the city I lived in my entire life (I’d only moved house twice!). So it was a huge adjustment. If you are moving to a new place then the first tip I will suggest is research the area. Look for shops, parks, pubs, and public transport routes. This will help to create a sense of familiarity and it will feel a lot less daunting when you eventually move.

Waves on Brighton beach

What to pack for university?

Of course, you will need to buy a few items before you leave – you will forget things, and this is okay! Make a list of all the essentials before shopping and packing, including cooking utensils, crockery, cleaning supplies, a duvet and some pillows. As you learn to live away from your family, you will notice that you might have to pick up a couple of extra things that you didn’t think to pack. I never realised how important a cutting board was until I didn’t have one.

Friends living in student halls

Student budgeting tips

One concern that every student has is about money. Learn to budget. It is a lot easier than many people think – take the time to look at your income and spending habits. When I received my first student finance payment, I had no idea what to do with it. Managing your money can be difficult at first but if you prioritise bills and food (other shopping will have to wait), you will be able to handle it. Getting a part-time job does not affect your loan and would be beneficial, not just for your bank account but also for your social life. You can make friends outside of university and gain confidence in this new environment.

Everyone’s university life is different

Something I wish I was told when preparing was that it is okay to spend time on your own. University has a reputation of students throwing wild parties and drinking all the time; there might be pressure to socialise and adopt an extrovert personality, if you have not already, out of fear of missing out. Everyone’s experience at university is different; there is no right or wrong way to spend your time here. You do not need to put yourself into uncomfortable situations to make friends; you will meet a variety of people in a variety of ways so why not find them through things you enjoy?

So, to recap, familiarise yourself with the area, list the things you want to buy and pack, learn to budget, focus on your own happiness and having a university experience you will enjoy.

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Brighton cityEastbourneindependent livingliving in BrightonPreparing for universityTop tips

Chelsey George-West • 9th September 2021

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