How to prepare for university

Heading off to university is a big change. You have spent the past 13 years at school being spoon-fed by teachers and looked after by your parents, but when you head off to university you will be left to your own devices – so how should you prepare?

Be open to new people

Whether you were a popular kid at school or not makes no difference when you hit university – people are there to start afresh, and that means branching out and making new friends.

As soon as you move in, it is worth introducing yourself to your neighbours as they will likely be the people you will go out with for at least the first few nights, and having some friends nearby is always a bonus. Don’t worry if you don’t click immediately with these people – it has taken you years to become close to your school friends, and it may take a little time to get to know these new people.

Be ready for new experiences

Schools are walled gardens with a limited array of activities on offer. In your first week at university you will be exposed to dozens of new experiences and ideas – whether that is a sports group, a political group, or something completely different.

Universities offer a mix of official clubs and groups and student-run societies, where you can do everything from share your love of poetry to your infatuation with the outdoors to something much more obscure. Join all the societies you like the look of right at the start, and then work out which ones you like from there.

Stock up on supplies

Even if you are in catered halls, you will want food and drink supplies in your room. Most of freshers’ week is spent in pubs and clubs, but you’ll also have parties back in your room and being prepared with some crisps, snacks, and some drinks is always a bonus.

The hangovers might make you feel like the word is ending and cause you to look at survivalist supplies, but as long as you’ve packed some paracetamol, some easy-to-digest food, and some water on-hand then you will be fine.

Learn to cook

It is a tired old meme that students don’t know how to cook, but many young people do head off to university without even knowing how to boil an egg. If your school didn’t offer any cooking classes, then talk to your parents and ask them to teach you some of their favourite recipes and how to cook some simple essentials like spaghetti bolognese.

You could eat junk food all day every day or survive on beans-on-toast, but cooking is a life skill, and the sooner you become comfortable in the kitchen the better.

Photograph by Katy Veldhorst

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