Washing Up In Sink

The Freshers Survival Guide To Living Away From Home

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This is perhaps what every incoming undergraduate worries about the most. “How will I cope? What if I’m unhappy? I’ll miss my friends, my family, and my boyfriend/girlfriend.” While a certain degree of homesickness is almost inevitable, you will definitely find that these worries and fears subside a few weeks in. While the process takes longer for some than others, it can be quite confidently stated that no undergraduate spends his or her whole 3 or 4 years pining for home. All major life changes necessarily require a period of adjustment, and while the adaptation process can be a shock to the system, it’s generally short. You will soon make new friends so just hang in there, and you will forge a new life for yourself in no time at all! And don’t believe anyone who claims to be having “the time of their life” 3 minutes in, most Freshers go through a short period of anxiety.

Don’t Be Selfish

Washing Up In SinkIt seems obvious, but as almost every student has issues of some sort with housemates, so try to be considerate to those you share your property with. Don’t smoke inside or leave your dirty dishes unwashed for days at a time. If food and utility bills are shared, try to contribute to the communal expenses on time. Otherwise it could lead to resentment, and possibly arguments. Pay your own way and clear up after yourself, and you’ll have a much easier time of it, because you won’t alienate all of your friends. Remember you’re not at your folks’ place anymore, and part of being an adult is taking responsibility for yourself- sad but true.

Study, Study, Study

Your university years are a heady time of self-discovery, new-found independence, and freedom, but don’t let all that distract you too much from the real goal: a good degree. With more and more people attending university, getting a 2:1 or better is more important for your future prospects than at any other time in the past. So while it’s important to make those life-long friends, enjoy the social side of your time at University, and generally live it up, remember that you’ll have your degree for life- and you can still enjoy yourself in your 20s, 30s, even your 40s…

Managing Your Finances

Girl With Piggy BankStudent finances vary hugely, some have their parents bankrolling everything, others work almost full time just to make ends meet. However, except the lucky few, most will be on a tight budget. Remember: online auction sites and markets are great sources for most of the things you’ll need to buy. If you have too much equipment to fit in your student digs, it might be worth considering selling some of it before you go to University, this can be a great way to boost your finances.

There’s plenty of budget management advice online, but these few tips can help:

1. remember that Freshers’ Week is costly, so hang on to those purse strings and don’t blow the full month’s budget in one go;

2. Arts students: don’t buy all your books, use the library (really); 3. Don’t spend your whole student loan the minute you get it.

Part-Time Work

Many students will need to work to support themselves alongside their studies, with typical jobs including bar tending, working in a shop, or getting a Saturday job in a shop or warehouse. All of these jobs are great, but they’ll be in high demand. Think creatively about your talents and your time: could you find work online? What about becoming a babysitter? A dog-walker? A life model? By thinking outside of the ordinary, it is possible to earn extra funds towards your studies.


Most First Years tend to live in university accommodation, and often there’s some kind of canteen or catering arrangement on campus. Eating together in halls is a really nice, inclusive, fun thing to do: after all, we all need to eat, and it’s better than sitting in a tiny student room alone night after night, with a solitary dinner lit by the pale blue glow of the computer screen. If you do have to cook for yourself, though, this will often be a healthier (and cheaper) option, and there will usually be a communal table to eat at in your kitchen. Share grocery bills with your flatmates: either pile in a car to visit the shops, or order online and have everything delivered. Whatever your catering arrangements are, make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet and aim to eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day.

Loan & Debt Nightmares

Financial NightmaresIn these dark days of monstrous tuition fees, the following advice may seem strange, but hear it out: don’t worry about your loan and fee debt. Why not? Because a few years down the line when you are leaving University with your freshly minted degree in your hand, unless you not walk straight into the £50,000 role you’d dreamed of, you won’t be required to pay your loan all back at once.

Generally, student loan repayments are pretty affordable, and are always calculated according to your earnings, so you’re never faced with a massive bill. And, unlike other debt, it’s not secured on anything and doesn’t affect your credit rating, so while it’s pretty scary on paper, it shouldn’t impact your future life too negatively. That said, avoid payday loans (some are marketed specifically at students) like the plague, they’re a very different prospect with horrendous interest rates which are often in excess of 1000% apr.


The best piece of advice here is to always separate your whites from your coloured clothes to avoid colour runs. Buying own-brand supermarket laundry powder can actually be false economy because it is harsher on your clothes, but invest in an indoor clothes airer as you’ll save money on tumble-drying everything. In an emergency it’s perfectly possible to wash items in the sink with shampoo to get them clean, but don’t leave your pants soaking in communal bathrooms because it won’t make you very popular with your housemates![/fusion_text][/one_full][/fullwidth]