My top 5 tips to prepare for university

You’re almost there! Exams are finishing up, summer’s on the horizon, and after that university life beckons!

For students up and down the country, this is a really exciting time, but it can also be a little nerve-wracking. For many, it’s a completely new environment, and moving away from home can be daunting.

As I’m now about to enter my final year of university, I’ve gathered up my top tips to prepare for life in London, with some of the resources I’ve gathered over the years.

  1. See the sights

Let’s start with a fun one: seeing the sights! London is a vibrant, lively city, with something going on everywhere you look. A lot of the big attractions are free too, including museums and galleries, and those with an entrance fee often have student discounts, something you can access with your King’s card.

Why not make a list of things you’d like to do in London, and tick them off over your degree? Is there a West End show you want to see? Or an insta-famous brunch spot you just need to visit?

If I had my time again, I think I’d explore around Guy’s campus a little more in my first year. We’re lucky to have Borough Market only moments away, so on a sunny September day why not grab some food and take a walk along the Southbank.

  1. Budget, budget, budget

Switching to a more mundane note, budgeting is an important thing to do whilst at university. When your student loan comes in it can feel a little overwhelming to have a big chunk of money in your account, but it needs to last you all through the term, so it’s important to be sensible with it.

Everyone works out a budget in a different way; most people look at how much they need to spend on accommodation, then see how much is left over for food costs, bills and then socialising!

There are loads of apps to help you keep on top of your spending, with a popular one being Monzo*. A bank on your phone, Monzo tracks your spending, breaking it down to show you exactly where your money is going, and helping you set and keep to your spending limits.

Another app I really like is ‘Too Good To Go’*. At the end of the day when cafes and restaurants are closing, you go and pick up a cut-price meal box full of freshly-prepared goodies. You’re not only saving money on tomorrow’s lunch but cutting food waste too! Type in your postcode and see what’s around you. We have a huge selection around Guy’s campus, from artisan bakeries to big-brand chains. Why not take a look?

If you want to make your own food, some great websites for budget but tasty meal-prep ideas include Spoon University* and Cooking on a Bootstrap*.

At King’s we have our financial gurus the Student Money Mentors to help guide you through the process of managing your money. Check out their blog here on how to bag yourself some birthday freebies. If you already feel like you’re a pro, why not join them and help other students?

Remember that budgeting can be a struggle, especially when you haven’t done it before, and it’s always okay to ask for help. Our Student Advice Service has weekly drop-ins at all campuses, giving you straightforward advice on money, housing and beyond.

  1. Not the kitchen sink

One of the most stressful things in my first year was moving into halls. I didn’t know what to bring so I decided to pack everything.

In hindsight, I definitely brought too much, the majority of which stayed stored under my bed for a year, and was a real pain to pack back up at the end of the summer term.

My advice would be pack essentials, and see how it goes. Space in student houses and halls is at a premium, and if everyone has brought four saucepans, you’ll likely have limited kitchen space.

Living in a house share, it might be an idea to have some items everyone uses, and setting up a rota to replace them. It will make for a more harmonious living experience in the long run.

  1. Societies, socialising and seeking new opportunities

Joining university is a great time to try new things, and the place to find a plethora of opportunities is our welcome fair. Usually held in the Barbican centre in mid-September, it’s full of societies to join, job opportunities and of course freebies!

In terms of on-campus activities, courses put on their own welcome events. Within the Dental Institute, all students are automatically members of the historic Dental Society, and they give a welcome tour of the hospital, campus and surrounding London Bridge area.

Welcome events happen throughout September, and you’ll be given a guide when you arrive so you can plan what you’re doing. All of our halls put on events too, and obviously, course inductions are great places to meet new people and your future colleagues.

  1. Pace yourself

Saving the most important until last, remember that university, and especially long courses like dentistry, are definitely marathons, not sprints. Starting university can be an be incredibly exciting, with the freedom to travel and explore like never before. It can be really tiring to get used to a new place and new course, especially in the first weeks, so pace yourself. You will have so much time to do the things you want to do, you don’t need to go everywhere in fresher’s week: take time to settle in, meet new people and enjoy your course.

Good luck and most importantly enjoy your time at university,

Lauren.

*Please note, King’s College London is not affiliated with the third-party apps/websites mentioned in this post. Further research is advised before making a decision to use any of the aforementioned apps and websites.

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