How did you prepare for university?

Everything but the kitchen sink…

Preparing for coming to university can be a logistical nightmare, but it is also one of the most exciting times post the daunting A-Level Results Day. Here are some tips for new students…

As my title suggests, please put down that 10-pan cooking set – you are not going to have enough room for it. For those moving into student accommodation or a new place, it is difficult to decide the practicalities of what is necessary to bring. Getting the balance between personal and useful items to take with you can lead to you packing everything but the kitchen sink – like myself. There are many handy pre- university sales that you can take advantage of if you are working with a budget, my advice would be to make sure you have the minimum basics covered. This would include a small amount of kitchenware – including drinking glasses (not solely shot glasses), bedding, lots of coat hangers, bathroom supplies and extension leads.

One thing to bear in mind is that there will always be something you will forget, the oversight for me was a doorstop. It is useful to make sure you arrive at your accommodation with enough time to visit any shops for extra forgotten supplies. I found in my flat that we all had an excess of kitchen supplies (so many spices) and not enough space to fit it all! But it is always useful to have your own items to use and to share if you want.

Now we come to the academic side, in the crazy midst of introduction week and meeting new people it is easy to forget that you have to your course to start. Uni work? I haven’t heard of it. In the weeks coming up to moving, I received informational introduction emails, module choice advice and later reading lists. Requirements for your course such as resources or books will depend on what course you take and you will be advised of this well in advance, however, it is useful to stock up on stationary if needed.  The online enrolment helps you feel a little more secure in your university place, you can breathe knowing they have let you in! Another piece of advice is to make sure you pick a good university ID photo. You are going to be using it a lot over the next however many years.

Getting yourself prepared does mean entertaining the social side of the university, there are lots of different ways to get connected before you start. For Sheffield, one thing I found useful was the student accommodation Facebook groups that helped locate your potential flatmates. This could be accessed through typing in ‘University of Sheffield Accommodation 2020-2021’, depending on what year you are applying. Here you can update a post telling people what accommodation block and the flat number you are in – for example, Millstone, Apartment F3 (that was me!). With a bit of searching and endless scrolling, hopefully, you will find your other flatmates and it is fun to get chatting before term starts. I would encourage everyone to get on the group and start finding your new flatmates, I only found my one flatmate (the others were too lazy, typical!) but either way it was great to see who I was going to be living with.

Last but by no means least is saying goodbye and gaining advice from those closest around you. For some, university is a big step out of their comfort zone – for others, they could be raring to leave. Give yourself time to relax after A-Levels or higher education if you can, it can be draining. University does give you a whole new appreciation for your independence, if you have experienced it before or not, there will be unexpected challenges that come your way. There are lots of seemingly simple skills that can be overlooked when preparing, it is important to ensure you can cook, clean, organise and essentially keep yourself alive. It does sound somewhat ridiculous, but you would be surprised what people can forget amid a new situation. Be kind to those around you and help each other, you are all in the same boat. One last thing, some student cuisine does leave much to be desired, trust me – you will get sick of plain pasta.

wall mural

Of course, with our current situation, life on campus and accommodation is going to be quite different for all of us here at Sheffield. We are working with all the Government Guidelines to ensure your safety and wellbeing if you want more updates on the changes been made, follow the link here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/coronavirus .

For everyone who has received their A-Level Results and offers – congratulations! Whatever happened on the day, remember this year has been a hugely confusing and stressful time – so I applaud any student for getting through it. Your worth and future will never need to be defined by grades, but I understand how important it is too many. I encourage anyone to appeal if it feels necessary. Good luck in September!

– Hannah (English and History)

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