Attending university is certainly a big step for anyone, and it’s a life event that you’ve likely been looking forward to for a long time. Along with the new academic and extracurricular opportunities that are typical to university life, you may also have the chance to live on your own for the very first time. You’ll gain some newfound freedom and independence compared to what you were used to back at home. But you’ll also face some challenges, like navigating the nitty-gritties of adult life and forging new relationships with your future peers and mentors.
If you anticipate leaving your hometown to further your education in the near future, then you’ll have a lot on your plate in terms of preparation. In truth, you should be preparing for your departure long before the big day arrives. To make sure that you’ll hit the ground running once you finally make the move, here are some helpful tips for preparing for university life:
Think About How You’ll Manage Your Finances
Learning how to live within your means will prove to be a difficult, but necessary lesson. But while budgeting is a skill that you’ll likely hone as you grow older, now is the best time to start practising sound financial management given that you have plenty of room to grow and learn from your situation.
As early as now, you should have a clear idea of how you’re going to fund this new phase of your life. Even if your parents will help you pay your tuition or if you’re qualified for a scholarship, you’ll still have to worry about your living expenses. Crunch the numbers and plan how you’re going to manage and meet your day-to-day financial obligations while studying and living on your own.
Prepare to Move to Your New Accommodations
It’s also important to know more about your prospective accommodations for your time in university. You can choose between staying in your own dorm room, renting a townhouse, or sharing a space with other students depending on what’s most practical.
In addition to securing a room for yourself, you’ll also have to plan what to bring when you move. On top of practical items like kitchen utensils, toiletries, and digital devices, you should also bring clothing that you can wear all year round and comfort items like your favourite pair of men’s or women’s sleepwear. These can help you acclimatize to your new life and tide over the homesickness that many students get when they’re living on their own for the first time.
Familiarize Yourself with Your New Surroundings
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with every location that constitutes your future home. Aside from seeing your dormitory, townhouse, or room in person, you can take a guided tour of the university campus and its surrounding community before the school year actually begins. This will help you get a better idea of what the town is like and where you can go to acquire basic services and supplies. You’ll also be thankful for the opportunity to avoid getting lost on your first few days on campus.
Pick Up Skills That You’ll Use While Living Alone
How are your cooking, cleaning, and basic DIY skills? Living on your own or with strangers often means that you’ll have to prepare your own food and clean up after yourself. If something breaks, it’s also up to you to fix it and set things right.
As early as possible, get yourself used to the idea of cooking, cleaning your room and bathroom, fixing common household issues, and operating everyday appliances. This way, you won’t have to count on others in case you get hungry, run out of clean clothes, or come across a leaking faucet.
Keep an Open Mind and Confront Your Biases
Universities attract students from different places and backgrounds, so it’s best to get used to the idea of living and studying with a diverse group of people early on. Keeping an open mind and being excited to learn will help you widen your horizons and interact in meaningful ways with new people and new cultures.
If there are stereotypical ideas that you still find yourself clinging to, now would be a good time to address them so that they won’t limit the activities that you can do and the people you can connect with in university. Some of the most valuable lessons you’ll ever learn will be outside the conventional classroom setting, and you should welcome these opportunities to engage with the world once you come across them.
Have a Strategy for Maintaining Relationships
Leaving for university doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ending your relationships with the people from your hometown, like your family members and your friends from high school. It’ll be good for all parties involved if you continue to communicate with them.
You’ll have a better chance of maintaining this connection if you have a strategy for doing so. Make an effort to keep in touch, and set aside time to talk to the people whom you want to remain in your life. Perhaps you can give them a weekly call or hang out online and indulge in your common hobbies once a month. Routines like these will keep your communication lines open and strengthen your existing bonds, despite the distance.
Maximize the Benefits of Social and Cultural Events at Your University
Universities often hold freshman-oriented social or cultural events at the start of every year to welcome new students to university life. Join such an activity, and you may end up enjoying yourself amid a group of like-minded individuals.
Attending these events will also help you stave off feelings of homesickness, allow you to meet people who have the same interests or sociocultural background as you, and even give you the chance to make fast new friends. If you can find schedules for events that are related to your course or degree, you may even be able to meet your peers and lecturers in a relaxed setting and quell your feelings of anxiety about being in a new academic environment. Walking into a classroom with familiar faces will help you feel right at home once the term starts.
Going to university means encountering a wealth of exciting academic and social opportunities. You’ll also be able to get to know yourself and define the kind of future you want to have. Make sure you’re ready to face all the challenges that come with your new life at university by preparing yourself well. Follow these tips, and you’ll have an easier time finding your footing while you’re striking it out on your own.