This doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some practical things to do when you start uni that may not seem important right now, but you will appreciate later when you need them.
1. Sort out all documents before leaving for uniUni Documents
On your first day, you will undoubtedly be asked to join a line of students waiting to sort out their student ID. Whilst standing in this line, you will probably see several students standing to the side, desperately searching for something in their five big bags, with their parents standing next to them looking very irritated. These are more than likely the people who have forgotten an important form or a relevant piece of ID that they were asked to bring for their first day.
Don’t be like these people! Before you set off on the morning of your first day, make sure you’ve filled in all the forms you’ve been sent by the uni and have the ID you’ve been asked to provide. Your first day will be stressful enough as it is.
Your student ID will be your key for accessing university buildings, your identity on campus, and in some cases will be your gym pass and even your house key. Basically, it’s pretty important!
2. Go on a library tour
Going on a tour of the library is the type of thing you say you’ll probably get around to at some point and end up completely forgetting about. This is mainly because there are just so many exciting things you could be doing when you’re starting university and, let’s be honest, a library tour is never top of that list.
Library tours basically give you a general induction to the facilities and services offered by the library when you’re starting university. We can appreciate that this sounds really dull, but in three months’ time when you desperately need to find a book and haven’t the foggiest idea how to navigate the library, how to check out a book or how to even use the uni printers, you’ll really wish you’d just attended a quick library tour. Besides you’re probably going to spend a lot of your time at uni in there, so might as well find out how it works right?
3. Sign up to a doctors near your uni
This is another one of those boring practical things that’s quite easy to forget. You’ll need to think about whether you want to register for a doctor in your university town or stick with your hometown. Most people do decide to register for a doctors in their university town, because there’s nothing worse than having really bad freshers’ flu and not having anywhere to go. Besides, you can usually visit your old doctors as a guest patient.
To change GP in the UK, all you need to do is visit the GP surgery you want to go to and ask them to register you as a patient. You will then be asked to fill in a registration form, and a request will be sent to your current GP for them to transfer your records over. Easy-peasy.
4. Learn some basic recipes
Whether you’re in catered accommodation or not at uni, at some point in the next three years you will have to cook for yourself, so it’s worth learning a few recipes in preparation. Whether you do this by learning from your mum or dad, or whether you order a cookbook and follow those recipes, is ultimately your choice, but taking the time to learn to cook is definitely high up on the practical ‘to do’ list.
If you do decide to order a cookbook, this cookbook designed especially for students is a great way to learn basic recipes (and is also available in vegetarian and vegan editions.) It starts from complete basics, so is ideal if you’ve never done much cooking before uni, and includes pictures so you can see what your food was meant to look like. Trust me, the joy you feel when your food vaguely resembles the picture is unparalleled.
5. Sign up to all the student discount cards
Everyone loves getting money off stuff, right? As a student you can get money off EVERYTHING. Well not everything, but lots of things. Find out about how to access all the different student discounts in the UK and in Australia when you’re starting university.
Railcards are also available in the UK for those between the ages 16 and 25 and 26 and 30 and allow you to get a third off the price of off-peak rail travel. Cheap day trips anyone?
6. Sign up for a student bank account
In case you’re wondering, it’s definitely worth signing up for a student bank account; not only do you get access to an interest free overdraft, but many banks also offer joining rewards, such as a free four-year railcard.
Find out which student bank account is best for you here.
7. Learn how to use a washing machine
Although you may be able to get away with taking your washing home to mum and dad for a few months, you should probably learn to do it yourself at some point. Washing is fairly simple; just make sure you read (and follow) the instructions in the labels, don’t wash whites together (unless you have a Colour Catcher) and you’ll be fine. If in doubt, go with other people and get them to show you. How wrong can it really go? (Famous last words.)
8. Sort out your TV license
Oh no, you’ve just realized you’re breaking the law trying to watch this season’s The Apprentice. Probably not worth it right? In the UK for example, a standard TV license costs £154.50 a year, which you can pay all in one go or spread the cost by setting up direct debit, but check for your study destination as the costs may be different.
Fun tip: you can also choose to avoid this cost completely by just watching Netflix. Your choice.
9. Decide your budget
Unfortunately budgeting is often very necessary for uni. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have fun, it just means that you won’t be stuck living solely on the stereotypical student diet of toast and pot noodles for a week until you next get paid. To budget, make a note of your income and any expenditures, being sure to include miscellaneous things like your Spotify subscription. Then the hard bit’s over; all you’ve got to do now is stick to it – how hard can that be, right?