Boring but important things to do

Goldsmiths student Amera Mohamed shares some boring but important things to do in your first week at university.

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The start of the academic year is almost here and your excitement is probably reaching fever pitch, but amidst the excitement don’t forget some of the important steps to set yourself up for your first year at uni.

Set up a student bank account

Student accounts usually offer pretty good overdrafts, plus most student accounts are exempt from daily overdraft charges.

Opening a new account also comes with perks like freebies and vouchers, used by most banks to lure in the masses. So shop around for the best deal before you apply.

Find out more about setting up a student bank account

Get an Oyster card

If you’re moving from outside of London, get a Student Oyster Card and start attempting to understand the city’s transport system.

Find out how to get a Student Oyster Card

Moving from up t’north, the absolute scale and intricacy of the Tube and rail networks were something I was absolutely not prepared for. Also, download Citymapper (and thank me later).

Register with a GP

Most students will never register with a doctor while at university and either take a ‘wait and see’ approach or visit the doctor when they’re back home.

However, it usually takes some time for all of your information to be sent over to your new practice, so do it before you are ill, so you don’t have the added stress when you already feel like getting out of bed is too difficult.

Find out how to register with a GP

Check your course specification, deadlines and exam dates

You might think it’s a little early or in fact far too early to start doing this, but the last thing you want is to have all of your deadlines arrive at your doorstep at once, and spend the rest of your uni experience overwhelmed and confused.

You’ve probably heard people say that the first year of university requires little interaction and participation, and unless you’re studying medicine or dentistry, chances are your first year is going to be a lot more relaxed than your last two years of A-levels.

However, among the excitement of your first year you still have to work: write essays, sit exams etc. You will want to miss lectures and you will want to binge Netflix instead of doing the reading for your class the next day – it’s inevitable, like growing old or going to McDonald’s after you told yourself you have food at home.

Enjoy yourself and try new things, but don’t waste your own money or time by not making the most of the academic experience.

See term and important dates

Set yourself a budget

Very boring, but also very important. Seeing all of that money in your bank account after your student loan drops can be very tempting.

But each loan instalment is set to last three to four months (ideally loan instalments would be weekly to curve the overspending, but alas you’re an adult now and have to exercise some self-control).

It’s easy to overspend when you’re not sticking to a budget: £3 here and £5 there doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up, you’ll have no money and you’ll have to live out of the reduced section at Sainsbury’s for the next two months.  

I’d recommend using Blackbullion to help you manage your money.

Embrace it

Lastly, have fun! You only get to be a new student at uni once and it really is a great experience.