This post will give you top tips on how to plan and prepare for your student life at the University of York. This is an incredibly exciting time for you but moving away from home or simply just going to university, can be stressful. Whilst my experience may differ from yours, I have selected some common points which you might want to consider.
When you arrive at university, you will need to upload a photograph of yourself onto the University’s portal, eVision, in order to apply for your student ID card. Try to get this done as quickly as possible, especially as you will need this card to access facilities such as the library and paying for meals if you’re in catered accommodation. Speaking of cards, if you travel by train or coach then it may be worth investing in a railcard or a coachcard to get student discounts on those hefty ticket prices.
Working whilst studying
If you envisage yourself applying for a paid or voluntary role, such as working as a Student Ambassador with Access and Outreach (or your department), or perhaps volunteering with York Students in Schools (YSIS), you may want to consider checking what identity documents you will need to obtain a DBS check. Make sure to find out how these documents will be authenticated because you might need to bring hard copies with you. Other roles may require other forms of identification so take a look before coming to university.
Packing up and moving in
Please don’t feel as if you need to bring your entire kitchen with you. What I will say is make sure to include cooking utensils! Whilst it’s important to ensure that you have brought the ultimate kitchen squad with you (plates, pots, pans, glasses and so on), you might be able to borrow someone else’s less-used items on the odd occasion. In my first year, one of my flatmate’s brought up a panini press/toastie maker/whatever you want to call it. It simply didn’t make sense to have more than one in the kitchen. I recommend bringing easily distinguishable cutlery and plates, because these often go amiss and you find yourself packing up two forks when you leave your accommodation! You must be thinking, did she just say plates? Yes, that’s right. I managed to lose a big round plate at the end of first year.
Tinned goods and dry foods are also a good option. If your kitchen has limited cupboard space, you can even keep these foods in your room. I personally didn’t buy tinned foods (I have never had beans on toast) but I did christen one of my drawers “Snacktopia” and I stuffed it with mini boxes of Special K and biscuits. On the topic of food, York has some excellent specialty shops located close to campus. For example, just down the road from Campus West is ‘Makkah International,’ a shop that sells quality halal meat, all the spices under the sun, and more.
Support at York
Let’s not forget about the most important type of preparation: mental preparation. University requires resilience, perseverance and determination, all whilst appreciating that it will be full of ups and downs; moments where you’re feeling stuck, and in this particular context, overwhelmed by the amount of preparation you have to do. You are not alone and I can guarantee that your flatmates are feeling the same way. I don’t know many people who have come to university physically and emotionally 100% ready to go from day one. Settling in and adjusting to this new level of responsibility is a part of the experience. I can assure you that you will get into the swing of things. It might take some time but it doesn’t mean you’re unprepared, you’re a student forming a routine.
Don’t worry – there is lots of support here at York to help you with the transition! From your college team, to your academic supervisor, there are lots of people there for you during those first few weeks and beyond. If you need to access it, the university also has anonymous helplines and professional counselling services right here on campus. You can always get easy access to the support you need.
In conclusion, try not to worry too much about being prepared for every eventuality. You may forget a baking tray or an A4 folder, it happens. If it seems too overwhelming, break things down by category (for example, important documents, kitchenware, homeware, etc.) or make lists. You’re moving to a new place, environment and I’d say, please don’t get too bogged down in planning. Whilst it’s an important part of moving, once it’s done, try not to dwell on it. If in doubt, please ask questions. The University is here to help you through student life.