Student Aid also contacted recent graduates to find out what trials and tribulations they faced in the first few weeks. Results were consistent; including worries about meeting like-minded people, budgeting fears, dodgy cooking (one girl thought that you cooked baked beans by literally doing what it said on the tin – so she placed them on a baking tray and popped them in the oven), unfamiliarity with the area and health issues such as Freshers’ Flu.
To find your new friends in your halls and get student discounts before you begin university, pre-register at www.student-
Here’s a list of things that you will need to get you through those first few weeks…
TOP 10 STUDENT SURVIVAL KIT
1) IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
It may seem boring, but the following checklist is vital to get you through your first few weeks at university. Otherwise, you may not be able to register on your course and you may have problems with your student loan. Have a look at the following points:
• Information from your LEA (Local Education Authority), the SLC (Student Loans Company) or Student Finance England (previously Student Finance Direct)
• Your offer letter from the university or college
• Documents from the accommodation providers
• NHS medical card
• TV Licence – as you will have individual tenancy agreements, you will need a TV license for your room. You may be able to blag a free drink at the bar, but you won’t be able to claim ignorance with licensing staff – and it could leave you with a hefty fee. Go to www.tvlicensing.co.uk to find out how you can pay for yours.
2) A MAP OF YOUR NEW AREA AND CAMPUS
You may know your home town like the back of your hand, but a map of the new area and campus is an essential. Laura Stannard said the Accommodation Managers at Imperial are inundated with enquiries about where the accommodation, counseling, finance and welfare departments are in the first few weeks. To get to know the local area and take advantage of local discounts, download Student Aid Mobile to your iPhone available on the iPhone App Store. Avoid the queues and get area savvy!
3) GET TO KNOW YOUR UNI STAFF – THEY ARE THERE TO HELP YOU
Once you have a map of the campus, find out where the various departments are and utilise the resources available for you. Laura said: ‘I think a lot of students aren't made fully aware of how many people there are in the university that are there to help them. Get to know your university; they are all there to help you!’
4) TAKE A WELL STOCKED TOILETRY BAG AND BATHROOM SUPPLIES
You’ll wake up on day number four, only to find you’re out of toilet roll and your housemates are in the same boat. To get you through the first fortnight, a fully stocked toiletry bag is essential! Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel and deodorant.
5) A POTATO MASHER AND SPICE RACK – ESSENTIAL KITCHEN ITEMS
You’ve made it to Sunday! Congratulations. From the graduates that Student Aid spoke to, a potato masher and vegetable peeler were classed as ‘essential kitchen utensils’. These are essential for the first two weeks – on the first Sunday you’re together with your new housemates, there’s nothing better than cooking a roast dinner for a dozen. Chip in some money each, get down to your supermarket and split cooking duties on that first weekend. A spice rack was, according to one graduate, the ‘best kitchen item I was given’ – and Student Aid agrees. Spices are cheap, long-lasting and can transform that left over roast chicken into an exotic Thai curry. Top tip: to discourage laziness, take just a few pieces of cutlery and saucepans so you will have to wash them!
6) BRING YOUR SOUNDTRACK TO UNI
When you’re not at a club dancing your favourite music, you’ll be in your bedroom practising those Glee-inspired dance routines. Don’t forget to bring your MP3 player and speakers – not only is this essential for the impromptu house parties, your guilty secrets will cheer you up if you’re ever feeling home sick. Shared taste in music can also be a great ice-breaker.
7) GET PHYSICAL
Joining a sports club at your uni or college can really benefit you. If you’re an aspiring Pelé, Nadal or Bolt, university is the perfect opportunity to have sports matches at your finger tips. As a not-so-recent graduate informed Student Aid, once you leave university and start a job, sports are not as readily available to participate in. Take advantage of the facilities and sports clubs - it also opens up fantastic social events. For those who are not sports-orientated, fret not! Some universities offer sports clubs as varied as ultimate Frisbee or archery, which are less taxing but just as fun.
8) FIRST AID KIT
A slight alternative to the standard first aid kit, the student first aid kit should contain extra items such as vitamins, condoms and Berroca. Prevention is better than cure. Make sure you have some sachets of Lemsip and some aspirin to hand in case you catch Freshers’ Flu – which is highly likely.
9) TAKE A CAMERA
There may be lots of de-tagging to be done on Facebook and www.student-
10) A SMILE
The best thing to get you through your first fortnight at university is a smile. Be friendly, approachable and just enjoy meeting your new best friends! You’ll meet all sorts of people from all walks of life and many will remain friends for life.
Learning, obviously, is rather important too. But you can worry about that in week three. What’s the main message from Student Aid? Get stuck in and enjoy it!
Student Aid was set up by young entrepreneur, Andy Fidler and consists of a network of on and offline media channels, which enable brands and universities to interact directly with students. This includes a new social networking site specifically for UK students which will BETA launch in June 2010. Andrew’
Danielle Young, PR Manager
To see the 2009 Student Aid Welcome Parcel, please follow this link: Student Aid Welcome Parcel 2009
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Student Aid the leading student media company offering brands various channels into the student market.