University can seem daunting, and the unknown even more so. Do these 5 things and you’ll be more than ready for the journey of a lifetime in September…

1. Do some reading

Let’s get the ‘boring’ one out of the way first. No one will expect you to have read the entire recommended reading list (and some people don’t read anything) but doing a bit of reading before you go will certainly do no harm. Look at your syllabus, see what interests you and have a read. Not only will this give you a head start but it’ll get you into the swing of uni life!

£55 for a textbook? Yep, they’re expensive! Don’t feel that you need to purchase every text book your course has listed; it’s always handy to have a couple but wait to see what your lecturers recommend! You can always share with your course mates and don’t forget the library has plenty of copies of the recommended texts.

2. Learn to cook the basics

For most of you, this will be the first time living away from home, and this means no more meals being cooked for you every night! Rumours have it that students live on pasta… and it’s not entirely false. Pasta is easy, quick and versatile- definitely a life saver for me in first year. If you still don’t know how to cook pasta- you know what your mission is for summer!

For those who see themselves as a bit of a young Jamie or Nigella in the making, think about your fave recipes, experiment with cheap ingredients and get any last minute tips from your parents and grandparents. Meals like curries, chilli con carne and bolognese are great for making in bulk and freezing in portions.

3. Find your flatmates

aston freshers facebook group

One of the most anticipated Fresher’s thoughts- who will I be living with? Facebook has let us find this out, with groups made every year for different halls. The general proceedings involve people posting their block and flat numbers and finding the other people that will be in their flat (then probably stalking them). So once you’ve got your halls flat, go check out the official Facebook group, see if anyone has already posted your flat number and give them a message! Or, post your flat number on the wall and wait for people to contact you!

I started a group chat once we found all of our housemates and it was really great to feel like I wasn’t going off to live with complete strangers! As well as finding out a bit about them and what they’re studying, you can discuss anything from which Freshers events you all want to buy tickets for to who’s bringing a cheese grater (you really don’t need 6 or 8 in one kitchen).

4. Money

student railcard

Ah the dreaded student budget! There are a number of things you can do over the summer to do with money, the first being pick up a part time job and save some money to splash in Freshers Week! Some people also like to work out a budget for themselves – this can be pretty useful if you know you’re not the best with money or are worried about how much you will have to live on. If you’re going to set a budget, it is best to do it before you start in September (I got excited and spent way too much money at the start of uni and wish I worked out a budget for myself!)

If you’re getting a student loan, make sure you have sorted everything out with student finance before starting to prevent any delays in getting your money. Another great idea is to look at student bank accounts – many of them offer great deals. My personal fave is Santander’s student account as you receive a free four-year railcard which comes in super handy when travelling between home and uni. Be careful though, their £1,500 overdraft can be dangerous (but also a lifesaver).

5. The classic Ikea shop

When you think you need everything in Ikea…

Ikea over the summer is like an unofficial hot spot for students starting uni in September. It’s a great idea to start writing a list of things you need to pack for uni- most of it you will already have but when it comes to the kitchen, mum and dad probably don’t want you taking their precious crockery and utensils. Ikea is great for everything, but their kitchen department is where you’ll see most students picking out which colour scheme they want for their plates and mugs and selecting which shaped spatulas they’ll need. I’d definitely recommend getting ahead with preparing for what you need to take to uni and taking a trip to Ikea for those kitchen essentials.

If you’re not sure what you need for uni, there are many websites out there that can help you- this Student Room post is pretty extensive and covers everything from bedding to first aid and personal documentation.