University Advice - Hints and Tips

By Issy Goode - 00:53

I've been thinking about what my personal approach to student life will be, specifically how I'll shop, how I'll stop myself from feeling homesick and how I'll stay on top of things. So I thought I'd share the ideas I've been noting down, and whether you or I will stay on top of them is another story...

Food shopping - What I'll scrimp and spend on
The best possible tip I can give to myself and others is simply to shop in the evenings. Supermarkets really slash their prices in the evenings, the other day I saw 12 medium sized white soft rolls for 9p. Of course, this does mean the freezer will become a best friend of mine and for others too. Everyone knows that best before dates can always be stretched a few days more, plus even if you get a few mouldy ones, they cost less than a penny per roll!

My scrimping will most definitely be applied to carbs, I'd advise everyone to do this. Turn to the basics/value ranges for pasta, porridge, bread, rice and so on. Also, buy massive bags of certain things. These huge bags can be kept in your room and you can grab a handful and throw some in a pan or on a plate/bowl as and when you need it.

I'd advise to spend on things that remind you of home, this can be anything, such as certain meals that your parents cook you or in my case, a box of Yorkshire Tea. Nothing beats a good cup of tea! I'm going to make sure I can afford good (not some pish-posh fantastic quality though) fish and meat - I hate processed hams and such. I don't like 'trimmings' of fish, give me the whole thing. One thing to always remember when you're shopping...bacon. I'll still turn to large packs of frozen things, because as I said, the freezer will become my best friend. For any other freshers' at Keele, the farmers market that goes to the student union will come in really handy! My top advice is, avoid the ready meals, cooking your own meals will prevent the ready meal boredom blues arising - plus they're completely over priced and pretty rubbish compared to a home cooked meal. Here's an obvious note to those students reading - buy a cookbook. Also, watch out for recipes here! I'm sure I'll be able to give you more experienced advice in a few weeks time.

Home sickness
Everyone always says you should surround yourself with things that make you feel at home. My Mum decided she'd wash all my new bedding before I left so it smelt like home, right now I'm just leaving her to it (I don't even notice my bedding has a certain homely smell...?), but trust parents, I'm sure her thinking makes some sense! Also, photos are an obvious way to make you feel at home. I have plenty from the wedding this year, this being one of my favourites.
A rare photo of my bother, sister and I
 My sister and I were in a charity shop today when we found a Beanie Baby! It's a pig inventively named by TY, 'Pig'. I've renamed him Cupcake, after my sisters blog - she is also quite obsessed with baking! She bought me Cupcake as a little keepsake for going away.
If you're feeling really homesick, have family up to visit or go and see them on a whim (the ones close enough that is). I plan to make sure I keep a bit of money back for seeing my boyfriend, and family down in London, Cambridge or even Portsmouth. Also the recent discovery of Skype my parents have made means we can stay in contact using that (good luck to my technophobe/just pretty useless with computers Mother!).                                                                                     
Time keeping
I like to consider myself a generally organised person anyway (although I do compare myself to my Mum and my boyfriend, both of which are useless at answering their phones, showing up on time, or in my boyfriend's case - showing up at my house when I'm already at his - smooth). If you're feeling creative, draw up a calender and right down all the things you've got to do, like a diary - but not a hideous leather bound impersonal one. For example:
It can look chaotic to others, but it'll all make sense to you! Stick it on the wall or a note board, each month kept separate and you're likely to keep on top of deadlines better and have things to look forward to like visits from family or friends, student events and other days out. (Although all I can see in this calender month is work, results and a wedding! Perhaps my University ones will be more exciting...they will be right?)

I hope these tips help! What would your advice be to prepare for university?

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