The Staffroom University Guide
So the results are in and you're getting ready for life in Wales as a university student. Many of you have read the brochure by now, dusted off the suitcases & stashed half of mum's food cupboard in boxes, but in case you haven't, here's how to prepare for exciting things to come...
The excitement of moving away from the parents is too much to handle, no more early morning wake up calls & lectures about leaving 27 old mugs of tea in your bedroom. University halls will bring a new-found independence but are you ready to pay the price... literally. Bills, food, accommodation & freshers week will take their toll on your bank account so make sure you sit down and plan/budget your costs before you set out into the big wide world. To many this may sound boring, but trust us, it's the way forward. For those that have a smart phone, check out the app 'mySuperList' (it's completely free!) to create shopping lists with your basket totals and where the cheapest place to buy is. Consider making the most of the 0% student overdraft that plenty of banks have to offer but resist grabbing the maximum amount you can, start small with the option to extend if needs be, remember, you have second and third year to get through too!
You're officially an adult and with that comes responsibility. If you don't attend a lecture, or hand a piece of coursework in on time, don't expect to be chased up immediately about it. The difference with a degree is that the grade and effort is completely down to you. Although the copious amounts of foam parties and bar crawls sound appealing, remember that at the end of this the all important outcome is that 2.1 you've always hoped for. Work hard, study and give yourself plenty of time to complete your essays, it's so easy to become distracted when you live with all of your friends. Being both a social butterfly and a book-worm is definitely achievable, we promise, afterall, if you want to bag yourself a place on that wonderful PGCE course after graduation, you have to knuckle down...
Social media offers an array of different ways to find friends. Facebook has plenty of groups such as 'Freshers 2014' and you can narrow this down by searching your university course, the halls in which you're living in or even just the university that your about to attend. We all know how nerve-wracking it is to start afresh away from your typical comfort zone, so these types of tools are fantastic for creating relationships and easing the blow before you've even popped your bags in the car.
Food Glorious Food
Beans on toast anyone?! If you struggle getting your cook on then we suggest you spend a weekend at home learning the basics, pizza is appealing to the best of us but let's be honest, it gets pretty boring if you're having it for tea every night. Pasta, potatoes & rice will become your best friends so make sure you know what you're doing when it comes to whipping something up. Sit down with the parents and make a shopping list of the things you think you'll need to get started such as condiments, oil, bread, milk, eggs and so on. Flutter the eyelashes, smile sweetly and you may find that they'll treat you to you first big shop. For those that want to push this a little further Sainsbury's do a fantastic 'Meal Ticket' card that the family can top up with money and you can spend to your heart's content, not only does this keep your cupboards and stomach full, but can offer peace of mind for those worrisome parents at home.
Jobs A Gooden'
Of course it's not the first thing on your 'to-do list' but finding a job comes with plenty of perks. Many restaurants & retailers love to take on students part-time whilst they're completing their studies so hand your CV out and keep the bank account looking healthy. Not only does this help you financially, but you're bound to make new friends and build up your work experience. Many student unions also offer job opportunities that are flexible and exciting. If you find that you're too swamped with work then take the half term holidays and make the most of the freedom earning money, StudentJob offers plenty of short internships that could support your studies and open doors for you after you've completed your degree.
Above all, remember to enjoy yourself, you're a major clever clogs for getting here, it's time to let your hair down (just remember that it's now up to you to clean up afterwards!)