How do you prepare for university amidst a pandemic? Unsure of whether you’ll actually be on a student campus or on daily zoom calls from your bedrooms? There are so many unknowns; a scary yet hopefully somewhat an exciting time, this blog will give you a few tips on how to physically and mentally prepare.
Firstly, make sure you’ve filled out any necessary paperwork/ forms. Do you need a DBS before starting your course? Have you applied for student finance? Have you thought about transport? If you’ll be using public transport, have you applied for the term passes?
In terms of ‘settling into university’, you can join freshers’ Facebook groups and look out for any group chats that are available for the university which you’ll be joining. For example, the University of Birmingham has had a couple of zoom chats for students to join.
In terms of your Subject or Course, have a look at what the university offers. Some offer free online courses which you can do for some light learning. Read around your subject - or simply make sure you’ve finished your A Level spec learning properly so that the jump to university isn’t too big. You can practice your study skills through guides provided by UCAS.
Ultimately though, use this summer to properly relax and recuperate. Despite not having sat the A Level exams, you sat through almost 2 tough years of intense study for the A Levels and you deserve a rest and good break before beginning another chapter of academic study. Take time to do things which you enjoy. As lockdown starts to ease, there is a bit more which you can do. Take sensible precautions and go out on a hike around Wales, break a world record or whatever your heart desires.
If your plan is to move out of home for university, there’s another element of things which you need to consider.
Think about what you need to take with you to your accommodation. Make sure you have bedding. Do you need to take your own duvet and pillow or is that provided? If you’re sharing a bathroom or kitchen, think about how you’re going to label your items to make sure they stay as safe as possible. And most importantly, what do you need to take so that you can settle in comfortably? After all, the accommodation is most likely going to be your home for at least a year.
Look into recipe books and try them out at home before you leave the house. Make sure you know how to use a cooker, a microwave. Learn about how you should store food so you don’t end up poisoning yourself. How should you store different foods so they don’t go off?
Another point; it’s worth looking into finances and how to manage money. Students are notoriously known for being broke. How can you start saving and spending money? Look into having a separate savings account. And read up on how to spend money. In which supermarkets can you get the best value for money? Are clubcard points worth it? (Yes). It’s often the small savings which add up to a large sum of money.
And a final point that I’m not sure many students consider, is homesickness. It’s natural to have times where you miss your homelife. It’s important to remember your family is still there for you. Reach out to them, organise virtual social events, do things you enjoy and make sure to structure your days as much as possible. Be kind to yourself, and note support systems in place. Things may seem bleak but you will be reunited with your family and friends soon.
For more hacks, check out: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/preparing-your-studies