How to prepare for starting university!
I hope you’re all doing okay and staying safe & healthy. Times are undoubtedly stressful, and I can imagine its pretty difficult being in your final year of school before University during this time. So, I thought i’d compile a short list of things you can start doing now to prepare for your time at university (hopefully Warwick!). I would like to note, though, that these are not normal times and it’s ok to not feel normal and productive during this period, so by no means are any of these things you have to do or should be doing at the moment, it’s just a few ideas if you want something to help prepare, or to simply keep yourself occupied. I’m also a Politics and International Studies student so some things will be more specific to my particular course, but I’ll include some more general bits also!
1. Lists, lists and lists!
There’s quite the array of things to get together before coming to university. Whether you’re bringing them from home, or having to do a little bit of shopping to get the essentials, a list of all the things you’re going to need is definitely necessary. So, now would be a great time to start putting together lists of what you need. For your room, for instance, you’re going to need some bedding, all your clothes, toiletries, all the things you need for your uni work (pens, paper etc), as well as maybe some decorations and some nice things to make your room feel a little bit more comfortable and homely. The same goes for your kitchen stuff; it’s probably a good idea to compile a list of the things you’ll need so you don’t accidentally miss anything out and end up at uni without any plates or cutlery! This might be pans, plates, chopping boards, cutlery, bowls, glasses etc. Basically, listing everything you’re going to be packing for university could be a really helpful, and will save you some time and last minute panics later on.
2. Get excited again!
Times are hard and it can be incredibly difficult to imagine yourself in the next stage of your life now (trust me, i know), but now would be a good time to remind yourself of why you’ve chosen to come to university, and why you’re so excited about the university you’re going to put as your firm choice. When I was trying to decide between unis, I was slightly obsessed with watching all of the universities youtube videos; I found it a really good way to get a feel for the place, and it was kind of the closest thing to physically going to an open day. So, whether you’re trying to make your decision, or refreshing your memory on your first choice, this could be a good idea. The same goes for looking at the website, and the prospectus’ etc. You could also have a look back at your course and have a look at all of the modules available again, especially ones you might need to be choosing between when you start! This was something I did before starting at Warwick, and it’s definitely a good way to get you excited about what you’re about to study.
3. You could do some reading
You could definitely do a bit of reading here and there before starting if you fancy it, especially on any topics that are of particular interest to you. As a PAIS student, I wouldn’t recommend any particular reading, as there are so many for each individual module and area of politics, so I’d definitely say to just read around what interests you the most! Whether you’re interested in migration, borders, terrorism, security, gender, political economy or anything else at all, it could be helpful to read around that topic a little bit, especially as you’re likely to end up studying what you’re most interested in. For PAIS, you could also have a look at readings that provide a sort of introduction to politics, or theories of International Relations. If you do have any specific questions about readings for different modules & areas and what I’d recommend, feel free to comment below or message me and I’ll have think! I’d also say that for PAIS it’s just as important before you come to stay up to date with the news and what’s going on in the world (not just Coronavirus – related). Just taking time to keep up to date, and to further research anything that interests you would definitely be a good way to spend your time, but there’s by no means any pressure to arrive with tonnes of political knowledge, so never worry about that!
4. Maybe learn how to cook a few more meals
This is definitely something I did not do enough of before I came to University, and I think I probably consumed only pizza for my first few days on campus. But, with all this time on your hands, it could be a good time to try out some new meals, or just learn to cook if you can’t already. As well as being really handy for when you start uni, it could actually be a lot of fun (and you get to eat it).
5. There’s also the more practical things…
You could spend some time looking into your student finance, and how you’re going to be budgeting during your terms at university. This might include considering whether or not you want to get a job whilst you’re at university. For me personally, I didn’t get a job initially, but by term 3 of my first year I was working a few hours a week in Leamington spa and I’ve been doing part time work alongside my degree ever since, which has definitely helped the money situation. You could also try and decide where you want to open up your student bank account (and how big of an overdraft you might need). A lot of them have incentives for joining, so it’s definitely a good idea to compare a few (with mine I think I got a £60 ish amazon voucher and a year free on amazon prime.). You might also want to look into things like a student railcard, gym memberships, an NUS card and things like insurance if you feel it’s necessary. You can also look into registering with a local GP, dentist etc.
6. Join any university facebook pages or groups!
This can be a good idea to start talking to people who will be in the exact same boat as you are at the moment, and it will hopefully help you get a bit excited about the sort of people you could be meeting when you start University. It also means if there’s anything you’re unsure about, there will be plenty of people you can ask.
Thank you for reading! 🙂