The Summer holidays are here! While you’re relaxing and taking a well deserved break after exams, I’ve come up with five useful tips to help you get ready for university:
Student Bank Accounts
As a student, you can take advantage of special student bank accounts. Some of these offer “freebies” such as a free railcard, gift cards, memberships and more! You can also apply for 0% interest free overdrafts with some bank accounts, which can give peace of mind in case you’re running a little low on money. Save the Student (a website that I still use), has a well written guide on what to look for and consider.
With the advent of online banking, you may seldom need to visit a bank in person. For the times that you do, luckily, being in the heart of London we have all major bank branches all within a short walk away.
“I got bills I gotta pay”
For many of us, university is the first milestone of financial freedom. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to manage finances when you are given a large lump-sum of money from loans, grants or family straight into that brand new student bank account.
The most important thing to do is budget and ‘get money smart’. It sound s simpler than it is, though. Luckily, Student Services have a useful page on managing money. I found Blackbullion.com, which is recommended by King’s, particularly useful. Not only is it free for King’s students, but also prospective students can have access; use the code MONEYSMARTER
Once you’ve calculated your budget, it’s important to stick to it. I personally use Monzo in conjunction with my normal student bank account. It lets me know how much exactly I’ve spent in a day, how I spend my money, and can show this all visually throughout time to help you save for things like holidays.
To top up income, you may wish to seek a part time job. One great job is being a Student Ambassador, for example as a subject ambassador, helping out at Open Days and Offer Holder Days. Applications normally reopen at the start of the year. More information can be found here.
You can also find jobs on the King’s Talent Bank. It’s important to remember not to let work disturb dental school – there is a cap of 13-20 hours a week but I personally would never recommend more than 8 hours a week, and reducing this much further in busier study periods such as exam season.
Something that’s fun and exciting to do is creating a bucket list of what you’d like to do over the next five years at University! It could be, trying out a new society or event (from KCLSU), take part in one of the opportunities from my last blog such as getting involved with research, or seeing your favourite artist at the O2 arena (or maybe even climb the O2!).
One of my bucket list activities was to get as many freebies as I possibly could: attending KCL Freshers’ Fair (previously in the Barbican Centre) and GKT Freshers’ Fair (previously situated in the KCLSU buildings)… I managed to get lots of free pizza, pens and even some toothpaste!
Organisation and technology: to be needed or not to be needed?
At University, you’ll need to be organised. This means with time (make sure you invest in a reliable alarm!), and of course with studying. It’s important to pick up one ortwo ring binders (at least!) to store paperwork in. Also, you’ll want to make sure you have the basic stationary, a diary and a calendar to mark off important dates.
It may initially seem enticing to buy lots of new technology, for example a new fancy laptop or a trendy tablet, it can prove to be very expensive mistake! Technology can aid with studying, but my biggest advice would be to ensure you are able to use its full potential and will use it!
One mistake I made was to buy an expensive ‘ultrabook’ with the intention of using it for lectures. I’ve come to find it easier, and that I prefer, to annotate slides either printed or on a tablet during lectures. In hindsight, I could have opted for a cheaper laptop for my needs, for first and second year.
It’s important to try a variety of new study techniques at University – due to the learning style being different (lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical’s). However, try not to feel inclined into splashing so much money on things all at once until you’ve done your research. You may already have a perfectly good laptop already, or you may not even need one. There are over 1,300 computers across the University, along with laptop loans (for 24 hours) at King’s. More information can be found here.
You can pick up cheap deals from websites such as Dell Outlet or Apple Refurbished. Also: make sure you take full advantage, if you do choose to buy new technology, of student discounts! There’s lots of websites with guides on buying laptops such one by ‘Which?’
At times, it may be overwhelming getting ready for university – you’ll be potentially moving out for the first time away from home. Make sure to spend summer relaxing with friends and maybe catch up on things you may have neglected such as your favourite Netflix series!
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me on UniBuddy.