Flying the nest at any age can be daunting. Taking responsibility for yourself, making sure you have somewhere to live, and money to buy the essentials, as well as get into university on time and stick to the deadlines they give, that’s intense stuff. Luckily for you, we’re experts in this field – so we’ve put together some expert advice to ease you into your first few weeks and months living solo.
Starting off with a biggie that you might not have had to do previously… budgeting. You’ll have had a breakdown of what loans and bursaries you receive and when they will be paid, and this allows you to work out per month what you have to ‘spend’ (and we don’t mean on the latest tech, you’ve got to eat, right!) There are some great apps that can do the hard work for you, such as Cleo, or Money Lover, or if you prefer something physical to track your spending there’s a great budgeting sheet here. You’ll soon realise that you may need to get a part-time job to pay for the luxuries you’re used to being able to buy, or you might be lucky enough to have the bank of Mum and Dad helping you out as well.
Eat, exercise, sleep!
We get it, you can party for 72 hours uninterrupted or enjoy a weekend gaming marathon that needs your complete concentration now that you’re not living at home, however, without wanting to sound like a bore, these three are still essential to your mental and physical wellbeing.
By all means, grab a takeaway here and there, but try to gain enough confidence in the kitchen so that you can make a mean fry up before a long day at university, or cook your mates a decent meal when you’re all too skint to go out. Meal planning is also worth a shout out whilst we’re on the subject of food – if you know you’re out with friends for food 4 nights out of 7, then you know how many other meals to buy for and aren’t stuck with empty cupboards. Food shopping for yourself takes some getting used to as you might not be sure quite how much cereal and milk you go through (probably quite a lot) but just keep an eye on what you spend per week over the first month or so, which will allow you to budget going forward.
If you weren’t a gym bunny at home, we’re not asking you to start now, but walking as much as you can, at the very least, will do you good and save money on public transport. Win-win! If you are a fan of exercise, then check out your universities gym rates, as they’re usually very competitive and are another place to meet some potential new friends.
Sleep is proven to hugely affect your mood and learning capacity, so as a newbie at university, try to make a good impression, and if you have a few late nights (which you’re bound to) try and get some daytime napping in on subsequent days, to catch up.
Buy the boring stuff!
Pretty self-explanatory, but you now have to buy your own Tupperware, cleaning products, laundry bits and ironing board etc. Literally, no one enjoys spending cash on these things, but sadly they’re important so needs must. Honestly, these sound way more intense than they are. Planning where you spend on the boring stuff will mean more cash for the exciting plans so why wouldn’t you?!.
Stay in touch with home
It’s really easy to forget about home when you’re so busy with new friends and university commitments, but your family and friends from home would love to hear about the exciting things you’re doing, so make sure you set some time aside to check in with them. It’s a good tip when you first move away to have your nearest and dearest visit you, rather than you going home within days of leaving. Making them part of your new life and showing them around will make you more comfortable with the surroundings, and allow them to imagine where you are when you tell them things about your day-to-day life. We are lucky to have a wealth of technology at our fingertips, so where people are unable to physically visit you, why not take them on a FaceTime tour of campus or of your new pad, we’re sure they’d love to see it all.
Prioritise course and friends
This may sound like we’re contradicting our last point, and we don’t mean to. However, it’s important to throw yourself into university, however nervous you might be. Join clubs, go to socials, and spend time with the people you live with and study with. This is all essential to making your new location feel like home and starting to build relationships that could stay with you for life. All of you are in the same boat – everyone will be feeling unsure, so speak to those around you and rally together to help anyone you think may be struggling.
Hopefully, this has helped you not feel quite so intimidated by moving away from home. We’ve all been there, but as well as being nerve-wracking, it’s such an exciting step to make so try to enjoy it. If you’ve recently moved and have some nuggets of wisdom to share send them to us on your social channels, but above all good luck!