Summer’s here, but what to do?
Hopefully you’ve all finished your exams by now and are looking forward to a lovely long summer. You’ve probably already got some plans for how you will spend the next 3 months, but at this stage last year I was trying to work out how best to prepare myself for Uni and you might be too.
The first thing I’m going to say is to ENJOY YOUR SUMMER. You’ve survived 14 or so years in the education system and can now choose what study you want to participate in, so take the time to enjoy your new found freedom. See friends and family, go on day trips, perhaps even go on holiday, but make sure to spend time doing things you enjoy and don’t spend the next 3 months staring at screens. Spending time with friends and family is also important during the summer as you won’t get to see them as often next year. That’s one of the biggest social differences between school and Uni, you don’t get pushed into the same place as all your friends for 5 hours a day, you have to take the time to plan when and where to meet up with people.
However, your summer can’t all be fun and games. You do need to do some preparation for Uni, and the more time you can spread it over, the happier you’ll be. Probably the most important thing you need to do if you’re going away for Uni is to pack. University packing requires a bit more planning than packing for a holiday, and the further away from home you’re studying, the more planning you need to do. I suggest starting a list with different sections and, throughout the summer, whenever you need or use something (such as clothes, a toothbrush, old newspaper lying about, or something else you take for granted as being available to you) add it to the list. This way you have a list of items that you use on a day to day basis. Near the end of the summer (probably the beginning of September) add to this list things you’ll need in Autumn/Winter that you didn’t need in Summer, and things to help you study your course.
Something a bit more fun to think about is how you will decorate you room. Whether you want photo’s all over the place, poster’s that have been up in your room forever or something else, not taking anything will leave your room very plain. In Claycroft, I had a massive noticeboard (at least 2×1.5m) which was the same colour as the wall. On this, I put photo’s, postcards from places I had been, bunting and some posters I’d been given.
On a bit of a more boring note, creating a budget, opening a bank account and making sure your student finance is sorted are very important steps to take. You don’t have to go too in depth when making a budget, just working out how much money you have to live on per week is enough. However, if you want to go into more detail, my blog on budgeting might help: https://our.warwick.ac.uk/budgeting-a-guide-to-get-you-started/
In terms of money, earning some this summer might be useful. Students are stereotypically poor so having some savings in the bank going into next year could really help you out, especially as you get towards Christmas time.
If you haven’t got a job this summer and can’t or don’t want to find one, that’s fine as well. As I said earlier, enjoying your summer should be a high priority. There are ways to earn a small amount of money (legally) without working, such as completing surveys. Have a look on the internet for more ideas.
Volunteering is also a fun activity to do in the Summer. You can volunteer at festivals, in charity shops, at events and possibly even with organisations such as NCS, Girlguiding or Scouts UK. Volunteering can give you some fantastic experiences that are not only fun to have, but also look good on your CV.
Whilst you’ve got time and are in a supportive environment, it might also be a good idea to learn some independence skills if you don’t have them already. Things like being able to cook a few basic meals, successfully completing a weekly food shop and knowing how to do your laundry can make moving to University a much more pleasant (and less stressful) experience.
Finally, possibly the most obvious things you can do this summer is prepare for you degree. This can be difficult, especially if your not yet sure which University you’re actually going to. My advice is to look at the topics that are most similar across your possible options. For example, Computer Science students might want to take a look at learning a small amount of Linux, try coding small programs in Java or the main language of other universities or look at some of the research published by the departments you could be entering. The one thing I will say is, DON’T STRESS TOO MUCH! The course is taught from scratch (or at least Computer Science is), so you won’t be really far behind if you don’t do any preparation at all.
I think that’s about it for now. I hope this has helped, feel free to contact me if you have any questions and, most importantly, HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!!!