Hello, my dears!
Welcome to ANOTHER new edit I’m starting here on Indigo Violet Diaries called #THEUNIEDIT!
This edit will involve myself and fellow bloggers sharing our experiences and giving out advice to new or current university students! Hopefully making uni life a breeze!
So here we go! My first guest blogger is the lovely Kate with her essential university guide to becoming the perfect housemate and student!
I began attending University in 2012 and although I’m sure a lot has changed since then, I’m sure this guide to student living still applies.
I understand that every student experience is completely unique but, I believe that there are some basics all students need to get right in order to succeed in your first year. In saying that, to start off on the right foot and become the independent young adult you’ve always wanted to be you need to plan where you’ll be living and, purchase the essential household items to get you settled and organised.
You’ll be the dream housemate.
The person your housemates turn to in times of crisis when they’ve realised that they forgot to buy that item you own.
However, before the shopping begins you need to find your perfect home though.
Thinking about my university days, like many people, I chose to study in my hometown, Plymouth. I was a little scared and anxious to travel further and dreaded the thought of being more than a few roads away from my mum in all honesty.
I applied to Halls and was accepted but the building was the worst the Uni had to offer, meaning that I’d have to share a bathroom with about 10+ students. As a result, I searched via Facebook for a student house and found one with two amazing guys I went to school with and had known forever.
My bedroom was a little box with a single bed and a desk blocking one of the wardrobe doors. It was a hole but, it was all mine and I loved it. I had the best year of my life with memories that I’ll never forget and even thinking about it now I feel nostalgic and sad.
All in all, I guess my advice to anyone considering where they want to live is to keep your options open. I wouldn’t say yes to the first thing that comes your way. If you want to move into Halls that’s perfectly fine of course but, make sure you apply quickly to get that ultra-modern building instead of the run-down version with a shared bathroom.
And, if like me, you don’t think that Halls is for you then that’s okay too. In most cities there’s plenty of other alternative student accommodation options, meaning that you still have more homey living experience in a smaller shared house.
If you’re attending Uni in your hometown living with your parents is an option too. A real money saver but you won’t necessarily have the same experience as everyone else. Nothing’s to say that you won’t have a fantastic time but, you won’t necessarily have the opportunity to meet as many new people and go through the trials and tribulations of the average student.
Wherever you decide to live (unless you’re living at home of course) shopping for your new student pad is vital. Try to buy everything in advance if you can with money you might have saved up from your job or, with the help of your parents if that’s an option.
For me, shopping is my favorite part of any move and shopping for your first home is particularly exciting. This is where you can decide who exactly you want to be as a student, based on the colour scheme of the items you purchase.
In doing that, my advice is to get yourself down to your local Ikea, Dunelm Mill and/or the Range asap for all of your essentials, which for me are the following…
Shoe Rack ( to hang on the back of your bedroom door)
At least two duvet covers
A double duvet even if you have a single bed (you’ll appreciate it during winter and if you have any guests stay the night.)
Kettle (if you’re super lazy like me and want to make a cup of tea without leaving your room.)
Draw liners to make sure that your clothes smell fresh 24/7
Net curtains for more privacy if your bedroom window doesn’t include them already
Small bedroom bin
I might be missing something but I remember buying all of these items and I never regretted any of them. The kettle might seem a bit overkill but, you can pick up a cheap one for about £4 in your local supermarket. Also, I know a couple friends who had their own mini fridges in their rooms for food they particularly liked and alcohol they didn’t want to be stolen by their housemates, which I think is also a pretty good idea.
In addition to purchasing the above essentials, there are also lots of things you’ll probably want to buy to prepare you for those exciting lectures and seminars you’ll be attending, right?
Well, just in case, here’s what I’d buy…
Pens! All of the pens in every colour from Paperchase probably
Coloured pens so that like me, you can make pretty spider diagrams when planning your assignments.
A water bottle. Not from Tesco but a proper reusable one to carry with you.
Notebooks in all shapes and sizes. Make sure to get a variety in different colours because, I think, every subject should have its own colour.
Folders for all the important paperwork they might or might not give you.
A printer and paper. It might not seem necessary but if the library printer breaks you won’t regret having your own at the ready.
One aspect of shared living that I didn’t think about was the kitchen. I went shopping for everything but, at first forgot about sharing plates and kitchen equipment. After a couple of weeks though I realised that living with 6 other people who hated doing the dishes was a nightmare and as a result, I purchased my own plates, pots, pans, cutlery, and utensils.
It might sound silly but I guarantee you won’t regret it. Sometimes Housemates can be so frustrating when it comes to cleanliness and by having your own items and keeping them in your kitchen cupboard they are completely your responsibility in theory. If you don’t wash up straight after dinner that’s cool, at least you’ll know what is yours when it comes to the dishes.
Let’s move onto the kitchen cupboard now, shall we?
When I moved into every house I, fortunately, was the first housemate in, which meant that I could pick my cupboard. Again, this might seem like such a minor issue but if you’re a foodie like me having the perfect kitchen cupboard with ample shelf space is essential. If for whatever reason you’re the last housemate in that’s okay but, scope the kitchen situation once you’ve unpacked your room and get yourself organised.
Everything in my kitchen cupboards has a place and discovered the organisation bug as a result of planning my kitchen cupboard. I’m on the short side so, my top shelf in the cupboard as a student and still to this day is for items I hardly ever use such as baking products (flour, sugar etc) and any additional mugs, wine glasses etc for guests. The shelves below will have my spices, tins, sauces etc, plates and a little box to keep my cutlery.
Despite having an organised kitchen cupboard I like all students couldn’t live without a good takeaway. Pizza was my vice, as I lived about 5 minutes away from a Pizza Hut and Domino’s. As you can imagine I ate pizza LOTS. I have absolutely no regrets about doing that but my poor little body must have suffered at the time.
The funny thing is, it’s now 2018 and I’m living back on that same road but Pizza Hut is still just as tempting, unfortunately.
Anyway, I know how horrid it feels to be a poor little student but, I promise that there is no better time than uni to learn how to cook. You can live on takeaway, super noodles and toast if you want to but, cooking can be simple and cost effective too.
I mainly led a vegetarian diet my entire way through uni because it was cost-effective. I would eat meat if I was going out for dinner but I believe that a decent meal doesn’t need meat. I had a few easy-peasy go-to recipes that I’m still not bored of which included mushroom carbonara, vegetable fajitas, Singapore noodles and of course, my favourite, the jacket potato with lots of butter and cheese.
There are some basics I think all students should have available in the kitchen such as dried pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, garlic, and pepper. From those ingredients you can pretty much cook whatever you fancy, buying the other ingredients as and when you need them.
Trust me when I say that because I was a very poor student. I was lazy so I didn’t get a job and yet, I didn’t have any financial support from my parents. I didn’t want help but it was never available to me in the first place.
I strongly believe that if you’ve got an organised home and some good food by your side you have all of the foundations for a successful student life, providing great foundations for adulthood post-graduation.
I hope this post has helped you to focus on being the best independent young adult you possibly can be!
Wishing all the students to be all the best.
Make sure to have an incredible Freshers Week. Be social. Make friends, cook delicious food, plan your time and succeed at whatever your ambitions may be.
Massive thank you to Kate for collaborating on this post!
Thank you so much for reading! Check out my last blog post here!
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See you soon!
Lots of love,