The new academic year is here and many of us are either starting university or continuing existing studies. After three years of focusing on my fashion business and launching my creative platform, Time is Money Media, I’ll be back in the classroom studying my Masters in Criminology & Forensic Psychology in October.
My undergraduate experience at university went pretty smoothly. I enjoyed what I was studying so it was easier to revise and get the work done. People don’t always know that university can be difficult in regards to studying, managing finances and balancing your lifestyle.
Here’s my guide to making the most of your university experience without burning out.
1. Learn How To Budget
When I was studying Criminology in 2016 I was entitled to a maintenance loan which had to be repaid, and a grant that didn’t need to be repaid. Since then, the grant has been replaced by a larger maintenance loan.
Learning how to budget your finances will help your loan stretch for the academic year. It’s important to make sure that you can cover your living costs, your social activities and the costs of what you will require for university.
For students living at home whilst studying, you have a better advantage when it comes to finances. With less commitments such as accommodation, you have more flexibility with funds. That doesn’t mean you should take advantage. You still have to make sure that your maintenance loan can support your needs, especially if you’re not working while studying.
2. Learn How To Cook On A Budget
As a student, the struggle is real! You need to be able to cook, and to cook on a budget so you don’t break the bank. The best recommendations for shopping if you’re in student accommodation is Aldi and Lidl. Not only do these supermarkets sell great foods for affordable prices, but they also sell affordable resources such as study materials and cooking utensils.
Top Tip: Invest in a mini fridge for your room to avoid house mates taking your food.
3. Find FREE Study Resources
Most universities have free resources you can use to aid your studies. Whether it’s online e-textbooks or library resources, make use of all the free help you can get.
Top Tip: Never buy all the books on your course reading list. Only buy the books that are for essential reading. To save even more money, purchase second hand books, as long at they are the correct edition and in good condition.
If you do buy new books for your course, avoid making notes or highlighting text in them. You can sell these on when you no longer need them.
4. Manage Your Workload
If you thought your A-Levels was a lot of work, then prepare yourself for even more. Staying on top of your workload is crucial if you want to do well. With various modules to focus on, in addition to your life outside of university, it’s essential that you create a routine for yourself.
Have a diary or calendar to make note of important dates. Prioritise your workload before your social life. University is meant to be a great experience, but if you neglect your studies, what was all of it for?
5. Look Out For Friends
Doesn’t seem all that important when you initially think about it, but in university, many students are fighting personal battles that no one knows about. Mental health in students needs to be taken just as seriously as physical health.
A 2018 online survey covering 38,000 UK students found that more than half (50.3%) reported having thoughts of self-harm.
One in three students (33.9%) had experienced a serious psychological issue which they felt they needed professional help and more than four out of 10 (44.7%) admitted to using alcohol or drugs to cope with their problems.
Take a time out when you need to. Prioritise self-care alongside your studies, and if you do need help, don’t be afraid to ask.
6. Keep In Touch With Family & Friends
Yes you may be trying to get away from your old life once starting this new chapter, but keeping in contact with friends and family back home is always a good decision. University can get lonely, and sometimes it helps to talk to someone that you’re familiar with.
7. Back Up Your Work
One of the worst things that can happen at university is losing your work. You’ve put in all that effort into your essay and it’s just gone. Always back up your work. You can do this in various ways. Buy a USB stick and save a copy of your work on it. With Gmail, you have the option to save your work on Google Drive which saves your work on their cloud, or you can email copies of your work to yourself.
Choose a method that is suitable for you, but make sure you get it done to avoid any losses.
8. Take Advantage Of Student Discounts
Being a student has it’s perks. There are so many discounts out there that you should be taking advantage of. From fashion to events, there’s definitey something for you. Check out my recommendations:
– Pizza Express offer 30% off food and drink Monday-Friday and Saturday via Unidays.
– Pizza Hut offer 20% off in branch Sunday-Thursday with any valid photographic student ID card.
– Students save 50% on Spotify Premium (£4.99 per month).
– ASOS offer 10% off via Unidays.
– Topshop & Topman offer 20% off via Unidays.
– Miss Selfridges offer 20% off via Unidays.
– National Express offer 20% off with a valid NUS Extra card.
– Missguided offer 10% off with a valid NUS Extra card.
– Boohoo offer 10% off with a valid NUS Extra card.
– Adobe offer 65% off with proof of being a student.
– Ministry of Sound offer £5 off for students via their website.
– Boots offer 10% off with a valid student ID.
– Superdrug offer 10% off with an NUS card in store only.
– The Body Shop offer 20% off via Unidays.
– Thorpe Park offer £35 off a 1-day ticket with a valid student ID card or via Unidays.
– The Co-op offer 10% off with an NUS Extra card.
– Ryman offer 12.5% off with an NUS Extra card.
– Waterstones offer 10% off via Unidays.
– Hobbycraft offer 10% off via Unidays.
– Byron Burger offer 30% off via Unidays.
– Chiquito offer 25% off with an NUS card.
The fact that you have taken the step to go to university is already an achievement in itself, and with this guide, your journey will be a much smoother one.
Get in touch if you have any questions about my experience at university or if you want to share your own experiences with me.
My books, Time is Money & How To Become A Freelancer are available to purchase here on my website.
Facebook: T K Williams-Nelson