Have the finance conversation. For a lot of people, university might be the first time we’re in charge of looking after our finances and spending. The summer before university is a perfect opportunity to start learning increasing your financial awareness. It’s also a great time to start having conversations with your family or planning how you will fund your university costs. This can look different for everyone, whether that includes applying for student finance, scholarships or opening a student bank account and creating a budget. A lot of first-year students who I’ve spoken to emphasise the importance of doing this as early as you can so don’t wait until the last day of August!
Book your accommodation as early as possible if you’re planning to move out. If you’re attending university away from home and will need to move out, start looking at the different accommodation options open to you. It’s useful to have a look at this even before you have to book a room so that you can have an idea of prices, sizes and the types of rooms available. If you’d like to do even more research, see if you can find any virtual or 360 accommodation tours or any useful YouTube videos!
Attend a virtual offer holder day. These days are so helpful to hear exactly what you need to do in preparation for starting university and often include department-led sessions. From an offer holder day, you can expect anything from department talks, pre-reading lists, advice from current university students and much more. Another amazing benefit (if you’re not convinced yet) is that you get to meet other students who you’ll be studying alongside soon!
Speak to current first-year students and ask them about their advice for handling academics, friendships, work or work experience- basically the whole university experience. Talking to people who have gone through the experience you’ll be going through soon can provide you with helpful insights so you can learn from other people’s mistakes as well! Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience at university will be unique so be careful not to try to replicate other people’s journeys!
Come up with a plan B and a plan C if possible. Things don’t always go to plan which is absolutely fine but that can be really difficult if you don’t have a secondary plan at all. When it came up to my A-Level results day in August 2020, the uncertainty of the year did heighten my anticipation of the results and one way I was able to calm myself down was by writing down a list of 5 potential avenues if my plan A didn’t work out. Interestingly enough, the very last thing on my list which I never thought would happen is exactly what happened: I ended up on a gap year. However, as the saying goes: sometimes not getting what you want is the most wonderful stroke of luck (that’s roughly the saying!).
As a bonus point, I’d really recommend you make some goals for university. Everyone has different priorities at university and it’s helpful to know what you want out of this experience. For some people, it might be career-focused, for some people it’s academia based or revolves around their personal and social growth. Either way, I’d recommend thinking about what you want out of the process both academically, personally and professionally. I’ve started making my ‘first-year’ bucket list and this includes all the activities I’d like to do during this year which are not related to my degree because variety is key!
If you’re heading off to university this year, have you started planning or preparing? What would be on your ‘bucket list’ for first year?
Wriiten by Kofo
Kofo is a gap year student who loves to write about personal, academic and professional development. In her spare time, she loves to read fiction, eat ice-cream and watch dance videos. On the thinkHER blogs, Kofo will be writing on topics including personal growth and reviewing her favourite books to help you on your continuous growth journey.