Organising your move- or how to keep your parents off your back…
Whether leaving home feels like an escape or an adventure, or just plain scary, it is probably the biggest change in your life since you started primary school. The following guide will help you get started.
The top priority, once you have a firm offer, is to apply for Student Finance. If you’re getting a maintenance loan then estimate how much money you need to allow weekly by working out how many weeks you’re at uni across the three terms. Divide the total you expect to get by that number and don’t forget you need to eat as well as go clubbing. More on essential money stuff here.
Now you have your finances planned, think about whether you are applying for catered or non-catered accommodation. If you’re doing your own catering, get cracking while you’re still in the comfort of your own home. Make a week’s eating plan- write yourself a shopping list and take it to your local supermarket. If possible include herbs & spices you need (they cost quite a bit upfront), and cover some toiletries as well. You’ll then have a rough idea of how much it will cost you to exist for a week. Try exploring a couple of different shops which you know are near your uni eg Aldi/ Lidl to get a sense of what budget food is out there.
This experiment is your chance to work out how much you want to cook and what equipment you need. If you like cooking you may be pretty adventurous, but if you are more of a pizza/ pot noodles person your shopping list will be rather different. Even if you’re not self-catering, a few kitchen items will make student life more comfortable- most people want to be able to make themselves a snack when you come in after a long night out.
Note to parents: you can, of course suggest healthy options at this point, but please accept your influence will be minimal from now on!
Out with the old
Now is a good time to sort your bedroom out- if exams are over, box up any A level notes. I hate to mention the word re-takes, but do wait until results are in to burn your books! Sort through your clothes & ditch any you haven’t worn or have grown out of/ bored of. Pass on any old toys and books. Put any sentimental stuff together in a box to keep it safe & easy to come back to. This is a fab opportunity to draw a line under the past and start looking ahead. Moving forward, you may find a simple box file such as this one will help you keep important uni documents to hand.
The Student Room website has a lot of great advice and a very comprehensive list here you can use as a basis for packing. Start by thinking about what basic equipment you need in your kitchen. Have a list on the fridge, which you add to over the months beforehand. Buy things over a few months to spread the cost, and see if your parents have spare pans etc. Dunelm, IKEA, or even a charity shop or your supermarket can be a good cheap source. Buying expensive stuff is pointless until you know who your flatmates are and that they won’t wreck your fancy non-stick pan when you’re in a lecture.
Space will be limited so think of smart solutions- collapsible under the bed storage and hanging pockets for the backs of doors can be helpful here. Zip up laundry bags in varying sizes are great for taking piles of clothes and can be packed away (no-one wants a bin liner of undies splitting as you’re unpacking the car in front of new flatmates!) You’ll also need a wheeled suitcase for visits home in the holidays.
Lastly, don’t forget your parents- empty nest syndrome is real- be gentle with them and try to find some quality time (you may find them surprisingly keen to take you out for treats or shopping before you head off into the horizon!)