Moving to university? My advice to new students

3rd September 2015

Moving to university? My advice to new students

Before we begin, I know I spelt stationery wrong in the photo. I have trouble spelling, if you hadn’t already guessed. Also, your list should be a bit longer than this one.


September is here, which means many students will be starting university and moving away from home. It’s terrifying, but in my experience it’s a lot of fun and 100% worthwhile!

Today I’m going to share my advice on moving to university and into student accommodation/halls of residence, with some handy tips to help you along the way.

Order a food delivery before you go

On the day you move into halls, the last thing you will want to think about is going out to buy food, but it’s something that you will need to do.

So,why not order a grocery delivery to your halls of residence before you go to university and get it delivered on the day you move in or the day after? This will not only save you going to the shops on the first day, when you’d much rather be drinking with your new flat mates, but it will also save room in the car when moving because you don’t have to take food supplies with you.

(I wish I could take credit for this idea but it’s actually Tyrone’s.)

Take an “ice-breaker”

When I moved into halls I bought a bottle of wine to share with my new flat mates, and my flat mate Sharon turned up with a box of Krispy Kremes. I guess you could call these “ice-breakers”.

If you are nervous about meeting your new flat mates (which you probably will be), having something like a bottle of wine or a box of doughnuts to say “hey, want to share?” is such a good way to break the ice and to start a conversation.

Be yourself

When you first meet your flat mates remember to just be yourself. I feel like some students put on a fake persona to try and fit the typical student stereotype.

I honestly thought I would have to do this when I moved to university because I’m not much of a drinker (honestly, I’m not!) and I don’t really care for the party scene, but in the end I found it much easier to admit the truth and just be myself. Don’t try and be cool just to fit in.

Don’t take too much stuff

I definitely over-packed when I went to university. This was problematic because a) It was a struggle to get everything in the car, and b) My room became really cluttered.

If your halls of residence is anything like mine you will have a tiny room with a serious lack of storage space, so I’d suggest only taking the essentials. Of course, take some reminders of home to help you to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings, but don’t take everything you own. Also, I suggest researching what will be provided for you in the halls before you go. For example, our kitchen was stocked with cutlery, plates, bowls, etc. and so I really didn’t need to take my own.

Make a detailed inventory

This applies to both halls of residence and privately rented accommodation. You should be provided with an inventory when you move in, but if not, I’d recommend making one. Make notes of any damage to the room or furniture that is not noted on the inventory and be specific. You see, some landlords can be really harsh and will find any reason to not give your deposit back (I got charged for freezer draws, which broke after I moved out!). Don’t give them a reason to do this!

Register with a GP – and do your research!

Your parents and your university will tell you to register with a doctor if you are moving away from home, and you will role your eyes and add it to the bottom of your to do list. But seriously, register with a GP ASAP!

However, don’t just go for the doctors surgery that is closest to you. Do your research to find the best surgery for you (you can use NHS Choices).

Why does this matter? Well, when I moved to Liverpool, all the students registered with the sugery that was located within the halls of residence building itself. However, this surgery has a terrible reputation and everyone told me it was rubbish. I, however, did my research and registered with a GP that was a 20 minute walk away, and that had a much higher rating on NHS Choices. Turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as they have helped me so much with my hip condition.

Other general advice

  • Pack an Ethernet cable – so many halls still don’t have WiFi.
  • Pack some earplugs, especially if you are a light sleeper.
  • Take vitamin supplements and cold and flu remedies – you will get freshers flu, I guarantee.
  • Discover when the laundry is at it’s quietest – usually Sunday mornings.
  • Don’t be an arsehole – be considerate of your neighbours.
  • Learn to label your food – especially cheese.
  • Try and have fun!

Some other handy posts to read…

I’m just going to leave these here:

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  1. Jamie

    This is a great article about what to do for those new students, and old students as well. I am glad that you wrote it, and don’t worry about the spelling mistakes (we all do it). Again, I find it amazing of how different we say things. For example, you call your apartments flats. We call our halls “dorms.” It’s so strange, yet interesting. Packing lightly always helps, as you can always later on buy the things that you may need. I think it’s a plus to bring your ear-buds with you. Not only is it good for sleep, but also great for studying! Thank you for this post, I am sure that old and new students appreciates this.

    • Holly

      I always worry about writing things that other’s won’t understand! It’s not just from country to country but also different regions within the UK. It was like learning another language when I moved to Liverpool..

      Glad you liked this post!

  2. I wish I’d thought of some of these before university! Particularly the food order one, I had a mad scramble on the first day I moved in when I realised I didn’t even have anything to make a cup of tea with. I also overpacked, and was miffed at how small my room was when I got there. Vitamin supplements and Ethernet cables are very handy to have around! We managed to get a router up and running for WiFi, but it was very frustrating the first few weeks having to sit next to the port with my 1m cable!

    • Holly

      Same! The food delivery one would have been a life saver but instead I bought a car full of tins of baked beans with me to Liverpool!

      My family and I use to refer to my room in student accommodation as a prison cell, but I think a prison cell would have been more spacious!

  3. Chynna

    I wish, wish, wish I had this list when I was starting university! This is so handy – love all your tips. This post made me feel nostalgic, haha.

  4. Ahh, Sunday morning laundry! I used to put on two loads on a Sunday morning simply because I had the whole laundry to myself! Moving into halls was great fun – we all broke the ice by making name signs for our door. I think there was something rather comfortingly school-like about whipping out the felt tips!! (And the perfect way to learn each others names).
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    • Holly

      Once, when I was living in halls, someone took my laundry out of the machine before it was finished and I was so annoyed with them. From that day onwards I always did my washing on a Sunday!

      That is such a lovely idea!

  5. Being yourself is totally the best piece of advice. XD I can’t really relate to the rest since I just commuted to university, but being yourself is important in any situation where you meet new people. And doing your research, as you have done, before jumping into a new environment like this, is obviously important. 🙂 I am not sure many people even consider a GP, sounds like something that could be easily missed. Glad you added something like that to the list.

    • Holly

      Admittedly, I didn’t sign up to a doctors surgery in my first year because I went home so frequently, and because my health was a lot better then, so I would just visit the GP when I was at home. But when I moved back for second year I knew I need to get a GP and as I say it was a life changing decision. If I hadn’t signed up to this surgery then I may not have found a doctor who could give me steroid injections.

  6. Kya

    They are really great tips and I am sure they will help anyone that is going to be moving to study. The tip about registering with a GP is such a good one and probably something a lot of people wouldn’t think about until they got ill.

  7. Great list! I wish I’d had this when I started university! Defo agree with the whole be yourself thing. I feel that it is so much easier to be yourself when everyone is in the same position and nobody knows eachother. It is such an exciting time!

    Laura / xx