If you’re going away to study you’ll need to become self-sufficient. The idea of relying on yourself may seem scary, but it’s a great chance to learn important life skills. Take a look at our tips below to help get you started.
Managing your money
Handling your own money will be a major life lesson. You’ll truly be in the driver’s seat of your own finances for the first time.
The right tools can help you stay in control of your student spending. Our budget calculator will help you map out what you’re going to spend. You can also use mobile and online banking to track your spending and stick to your budget. For more practical advice on managing your money at university, check out our article on student budgeting.
Getting enough sleep
If you decide to swap in your sleep time for extra hours studying, you’ll get a poor exchange rate. You can’t study or concentrate with a fuzzy brain, so aim for at least seven hours sleep a night.
Get enough sunshine too. Spending all day indoors studying (or sleeping in) will mess up your sleep cycle. Working late on the laptop? Dim the screen’s brightness, not yours. The blue light from our display screens has been linked to poor sleep patterns.
Seven hours or not, when it comes to getting up on time for lectures, your phone alarm will be your best friend. Putting your schedule and reminders into your phone’s calendar will help you manage your time, too.
Food. It’s a big part of independent living so we’ve got loads of advice on buying food and planning student meals, like batch cooking to help maximise your budget and keep a more balanced diet.
Want a solid starting point? Get some cooking lessons from your friends and family before you leave for university. There’s nothing like your favourite dish when you’re missing home, plus it’s healthier and cheaper than ordering in.
One of the perks of being a student is cheap or free access to the gym. Make the most of it! On top of that, universities often have sports clubs and societies to join with something for everyone. Regular exercise is good for your heart and helps you focus.
Sitting for a long time is bad for your health, so take regular breaks when studying. Try to go for regular walks when studying at home or at the library.
You’ll have heard the phrase ‘fresher’s flu’. It’s real. A combination of old weather, poor diet, lack of sleep, and stress combine to leave you more likely to pick up the dreaded lurgy. Make sure you wash your hands to avoid spreading germs, and keep up your water intake to help protect your immune system.
You might not have someone telling you to clean your room any more, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it. A clean living space will reduce your chances of getting ill, not to mention being a nicer place to spend time in. Wash bedding weekly and always read the labels on your clothes to avoid ruining your gear. You could even ask for a laundry lesson before you leave home so that you have the basics covered.
Students own a lot of gadgets. Burglars know it. Keep your new home safe, and lock your doors and windows when leaving your room or house empty. Take a look at our guide to student insurance to make sure you’re always covered.
Paying the bills
Your halls may have bills included, but in a lot of privately-rented accommodation you might be responsible for them yourself. In this case, you and your flatmates will need to share the bills, which will include gas, electric, a student TV licence as well as your personal contents insurance.
If you need to take meter readings, take them as soon as you move in so you can set your accounts up properly.
Getting help where you need it
Looking after yourself doesn’t mean flying solo or going it alone – it’s still okay to rely on others if you’re finding things tough. Be sure to check out what support is available for students at your university, from counselling to hardship funds.
Make sure you get out and socialise; making new friends is easier when you remember that everyone’s in the same boat.