Get to grips with your new life away from home
So, you’ve got your offer, you know what course you’re doing, and you’re all set to leave home – but you’re not sure what comes next. For most people, uni is their first taste of independent living, and that’s scary! But worry not my friends, this little guide to surviving the first term at York is full of tips and tricks to make sure all goes smoothly.
Making friends is so, SO important for surviving at uni. Even if you aren’t the social type, just having one person to help you is everything. For instance, I was ill in my second week here, and I couldn’t get out of bed. So, my friends in my flat brought me food and stopped by to chat. Having a support system will help you out a great deal when surviving the first term and beyond at uni. So in this section, are a few ways you can find your new friends.
If you’re living on campus in your first year, you’ll share a flat with at least 5 other people. They will probably be some of the first people you meet, so they are great people to make friends with. I recommend bringing a doorstop with you on move-in day if you want to make friends with your flatmates nice and early. Not only does it make moving your stuff into your room easier, it also encourages people to pop their head in and say hi!
If you want to meet people with similar interests to you, there’s no better place to go than societies! Whether you like kayaking or Pokémon, there’s a society at York for you. During fresher’s week, each society will set up a stall for you to visit. Look on the YUSU (University of York Students’ Union) website to browse the full range of societies available. The best part of having a shared interest with the people you meet at a society means you automatically have a good conversation starter!
Ah yes, the dreaded word: finance. Managing your money can be difficult, especially if you’ve never had to budget yourself before. Here are some tips to make sure you stay out of the red:
Your student loan may not come in until you’re a few days into your first week (for me, it took 5 days). So, you want to make sure you have enough saved to survive for a while. The first week is also the most expensive week, especially if you want to join lots of societies at Fresher’s Fair. So, it doesn’t hurt to have some hard cash on hand as well. If you like nights out, fresher’s week is full of them. But it’s a good idea to go out already knowing how much you can afford to spend on drinks. I’ve had my friends take my card away from me to stop me buying another Jaegerbomb a couple of times now!
When your loan does drop, your bank balance will suddenly shoot up into quadruple digits – but don’t let it go to your head. Remember, your accommodation fees haven’t been taken out yet. For most people, once that’s been paid, there isn’t much left. That’s why budgeting is so important! It takes 15 minutes to sit down and work out, how much money will I have left after accommodation fees are taken out? How many weeks do I need it to cover? How much will food cost, and how much do I have left over?
If you want to work, it’s recommended you keep your contract to 15 hours or less. This is so it doesn’t interfere too much with your studies. There are plenty of places to work part-time, whether in the town centre or on campus, but it’s still a good idea to get some applications in nice and early. You may want to bring some physical copies of your CV into town and hand them out. Alternatively, there are more flexible jobs (like mine as a student content creator) available through the university itself. These might not be the most reliable source of income, but if you’re just looking for the occasional extra bit of cash, they’re perfect!
Thanks for reading! I hope this blog has given you some ideas for making friends, saving money and surviving the first term at uni. If you want to know more, make sure to check out the University of York website.
Goodbye for now!
– Finn (he/him)