As you transition from living with your parents to living independently, there’s a wealth of things you will learn only from experiencing it single handedly- not to mention making your fair share of blunders.
Whether it’s deciding to throw all of your colours and whites into the washing machine at the same time, turning the dial to a setting that sounds about right and hoping for the best (pink top anyone?), or having another shot in the club, there’s experiences most students will inevitably share in their first year.
On the contrary, in 2016 the Complete University Guide reported that The University of Chester’s Student’s Union is 11% above the national average for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.
‘Bring a door stop!’, ‘Prepare for the UV paint party’, and ‘Don’t drink too much’, are just some of the things you may have been told before heading off on a new chapter in your life, but you never really know what it’s going to be like until you get there. Here are 5 things you may not have expected before starting your course…
1. Living independently may be a struggle at first
When recalling their first year at uni, a student we spoke to that’s now in their second year said: ”I’d been on holidays on my own for over a month before and always enjoyed my time away from everything and everyone, but as soon as I went to university it changed. I was so excited to move out so was shocked when I realised how home sick I had become for the first time. I was living in halls with over 70 people but felt lost and lonely for a couple of months until I got in to the swing of things. Once I was more familiar with my surroundings and made close friends I was fine. It just takes more time for some more than others!”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, other students we’ve had a chat with said they found living away from home easier than expected. Over half of the students asked in Which? University’s first-year student survey agreed with this statement.
A top tip for home sickness is to decorate your room with things from home. Print off some pictures with friends, put posters up, get a rug on your floor and other accessories to personalise it. That way you can make your room a little piece of home and a sanctuary you can relax in, other than just seeing it as just a bed within 4 walls.
2. Things cost money!
Ever noticed how expensive cheese actually is? Probably not, until you move out!
If anything, moving to university can make you more resourceful as for the first time, you learn to appreciate that the things you’re consuming are coming out of your own back pocket.
Some can be unprepared to move from an almost cost-free lifestyle, as at home you may not have to worry about food shopping, buying toiletries like loo roll or kitchen essentials like pots, pans and plates. These costs are taken care of by your student loan, but equally this doesn’t allow for a lavish way of living. With your loan you also have to think about covering rent costs, any extra bills, phone contract, meals, and perhaps then, budget what you have left to treat yourself on a few clothes and nights out until the next loan drops.
Trying to get by on the bare minimum can be a struggle, and overspending is all too easy. You may spend just £3 on a meal deal, a couple of quid on snacks and library fines here and there, but they all add up.
‘39% of those surveyed said that managing their day to day costs was more difficult than expected, a fifth had already gone in to their overdraft and 19% had got a part time job’ (Source: Which? University)
Although it’s tempting to ignore checking your bank balance, keeping track of your finances is the best way to go.
3. Worrying about next years housing
The majority of UK univerisities (including the Uni of Chester) will offer freshers accomodation/ halls for their first year only. It can be daunting to get faced with flyers encouraging you to find a house for next year, and words like ‘tenancy agreement’ and ‘student tenant’ when you’ve only been at uni for a few months and aren’t experienced with the lettings process, but don’t panic! You won’t end up homeless.
The first step is to decide who you want to have a student house share with. If you’ve already got some people in mind, great! Take in to account that you’ll have to live in a closer proximity with these people for at least a year, so work out who you you see yourself being long-term pals with.
Once you’re clear on who you want to ask, invite everyone into your room for a discussion and agree on a group together. This process can be exciting! It may be your first experience of viewing houses and finding a let that you love.
We have rooms available for 2018/19 here
Sorting a place for next year is as simple as taking a look at which houses you like, contacting us on our website or messaging us on social media, and getting booked in for a viewing when you’re all available!
Last thing to remember- stay calm, plan accordingly and don’t rush into anything until you’re 100% sure on your decision.
4. A social life consitututes everything in your day-to-day plans
Almost everything at university becomes a social event. Oppertunities to socialise and meet new people are around every corner, and entwined with your experience more than you may even notice. Dinner times are a chance to catch up with your friends you live with and catch up on the day’s events, library nights are planned in advance as a group to go and study with and even walking through town you may bump in to people on your course, club or accomodation.
Not to mention well-known nights out that have become a staple of Chester nightlife, like Cruise Quids In on a Monday or SU Friday which offer a range of their infamous ‘LAD’ drinks. Check out an article written about the SU’s most popular drink here
5. You need to be self-motivated and independent
Upon speaking to our second year student about her studies, she told us: ”In first year I was told by my older sibling and friends that the workload is easy and manageable, but soon realised it was more than I anticipated. It is a step-up from A-Level so once you realise the amount there is to do, you need to get yourself in to the mindset that the level of independent study is increased. You have to motivate yourself to go to the library or study at your desk… your essays won’t write themselves!”
”Things didn’t get off to a great start for me, after freshers I still wanted to go out a lot and inevitably ‘freshers flu’ came round the corner so I missed a lecture or two.”
Infact, 6% of first years said they’d missed at least half of their lectures in their first term!
Gone are the days of relying on your teachers to guide you every step of the way and telling you to work. Yes, you could miss lectures and stay in bed, but if you’re serious about getting a good degree you’ll need to put in the time and effort.