Going to University: Things to Do Before You Go (Some Tips and Advice For Before You Go).

(UK readers)

Some helpful tips in preparation for heading off to University:

- University is a full-time thing, but ultimately it is about the studying. Do take the time to check out the courses, to make sure you're choosing one that you want to pursue for three+ years. Going to open days is VERY handy -- sometimes seeing a campus can completely sway your choice.

- Most Universities tend to send out a great deal of information and letters before and upon arrival at university. Keeping hold of this kind of stuff, in some kind of folder, is useful. Better to have it to hand than try to find it later in a mad panic.

- Choosing to go into catered accommodation may not seem a great idea at first, but the benefits are big. No buying food, no cooking, no cleaning up, and it removes things to think and worry about when you will have more than enough during your first year. Going to communal eating rooms at set times are also a great way of meeting people. It saves having to buy a whole heap of new kitchen items. And if you're a particularly picky eater, chances are you won't be after this (certainly helped this writer).

- Meet people before you even go. A few years ago, Univillage was the place to go prior to the actually going to university. It was a way to meet people who would be going to the same university, on the same courses, in the same halls. Facebook is now, of course, an ideal way to meet such people and it's a very good idea to do so. You'll already have people that you know and have talked to when you finally reach university.

- Think carefully about the things you will need -- and especially about the things you won't. You may think you couldn't live without tv, but university really leaves little time for such things. Halls often have a communal tv room -- not always fun having to share, but at least it is there and is another place to meet people. It also saves forking out over £140 for the license.

- One thing that is very useful, however, is the trusty kettle for an always-on-hand supply of hot drinks.

- Don’t go overboard with packing, but remember a few extra special items – posters or objects that will make your new room your own.

- Getting washing powder and other bare essentials before you go is handy, with their being there and ready to use when you need them. There is the added bonus of hinting to family about this much needed stuff, who might kindly decide to help out.

Going off to university is a big step -- for many, it is the first time of being away from the family, an individual, sometimes moving hundreds of miles. Yet it often seems to be the case that you're so busy being AT university that there's little time left to actually stop and think about it. Experiencing it and enjoying it and living it becomes the norm. It's a scary change, but one that will leave you with some of the best years of your life.

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