7 tips for first-years

We spoke to some third-year students to find out what their first years at Goldsmiths were like, and asked them what advice they would give to new students.

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Get to grips with cooking

Try to learn how to make a few basic recipes before you move into halls. It will make your life a whole lot easier not having to think too much about what to make in the first few weeks, and your stomach will thank you for eating more than just beans on toast and sauce-in-a-jar for days on end.

“Since first year, I’ve made double of whatever I’m having for dinner and had that the next day as well. Or if I make three portions, I’ll just put it in the freezer.”

It’s also a good idea to buy some staples like pasta, tins, frozen vegetables and bread after you move in, so you don’t find yourself suddenly without anything easy to eat halfway into your first week. And learn to make a cup of tea. There are so many different situations that warrant a cup of tea: hangovers, cold mornings, late nights, sad days, happy days, just… days.

Split the cost

Before buying loads of things for your student flat, it might be worth waiting to meet your new flatmates and seeing if they are happy to split the cost of things like washing up liquid or kitchen roll. It may also be worth splitting the cost of meals from time to time to keep things cheap.

Pasta is one of the most versatile things you can learn to cook (Source: Keri liwi/Unsplash)

“I was really determined not to go home until the first reading week. I thought if I went home, it might make it harder to come back. I wanted to feel like I was coming back to something I knew.”

It’s okay to be homesick

Not everyone feels homesick when they move to university, but if you do – it’s normal! You’re living away from home, possibly for the first time, in a new environment, and potentially a completely new city – the feeling goes away quickly as you start settling into your new life.

Don’t pack too much

Don’t feel like you have to bring absolutely everything with you at first. You’ll have limited space in your room, and the kitchen cupboards will have to be shared with multiple people – just bring the essentials. You can always collect any extra items if you’re going to be travelling home at any point.

Two students having a conversation outside

Two first-years sitting on College Green

Be honest with your flatmates

You’re going to be living in quite a small shared space with other people, and there may be some friction about washing up, leaving things lying around common areas etc. It’s probably best to (politely) have the “can you please clean up after yourself” conversation sooner rather than later. And try to clean up after yourself and not let your dishes pile up in the sink – your flatmate will thank you.

“I wish I'd been way more forward about telling people to wash up.”

Spend smart

Paying your own way can be expensive, especially in a city like London, but there are loads of little things you can do to save money. Knowing where to shop, for example (Aldi and Asda tend to be cheaper than Tesco and Sainsbury’s), and setting out a budget for yourself can really make a difference. You could also open a separate bank account with a provider like Monzo, and use that for day-to-day spending so you don’t accidentally spend more than you had budgeted for.

You do you

University is a place where you can explore what you like, who you are, and who you aren’t. Don’t feel pressured to instantly become best friends with everyone you meet, and don’t worry if the first few weeks feel a little disjointed at first.