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Tips on prepping for Lancs Uni and how to hang on in there

Words of wisdom for Lancs students needing a nudge in the right direction

Having just finished my first term at university, I can look back now at an amazing first term. There have been ups and downs, but nevertheless it was enjoyable. However, there were a few things I wished I had known before starting my university journey, so here they are and they are hopefully useful to future students or students who need some guidance for their second term at Lancaster.

Manage your workload

This is the most important aspect of university to consider and keep on top of. Make sure you know how many readings or set work you need to do per work in order to stay on top of your degree. You could do this by keeping a to-do-list and checking off each reading, assignment, test and tasks you get done, in order to make yourself feel better about what you're getting done, as well managing the workload. Procrastination can be common, but by working through each deadline and keeping track of what you need to get done – you'll get everything done.

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Sometimes readings can get overwhelming

Budget, budget, budget

Budget is so important for keeping on top of your money and making sure you don’t overspend on takeaways (Lancaster students have a weakness for Sultans, especially after a night out in Sugar!)

There are so many printable blank budget sheets online, or if you’re a whizz with Excel you can make your own. This allows you to make the most of your money as you can divide up what you can on transport, food and socialising for example.

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Keeping track is the best way to budget!

Make use of Social Media

In today’s day and age, we meet people virtually. Although you will get to know people properly when you meet them at university, talking to people on group chats helps you find a few friends. It’s not just useful for your course, I also used it to find people living in the same college as me. Even though you can’t expect to get to know people properly over the internet, for me it made the prospect of meeting people less daunting because at least I had a few familiar faces I could pick out in Freshers Week.

So, coming up to starting university, I suggest joining the Lancaster University Freshers page on Facebook, then join your course group chat and accommodation. You never know, you could find one of your closest friends tucked away in a university group chat.

If you're already at Lancs, make sure to ask any questions (or be added if you aren't already) into your course group chat – this is very handy for exam season or if you have any questions about coursework and tests.

Learn to cook!

Another one high on the priority list: learn to cook! You do not want to be spending loads of money on food on the on-campus takeaways and restaurants, like Pizzetta and GoBurrito, too often, because you could find at the end of the month you’ve blown your student finance and can’t afford a train ticket home!

Learning to cook does not have to be hard, for me the majority of food I cooked in my first term revolved around pasta – as long as you can boil a pan of spaghetti and you’ve got some cheese and tomato in your fridge (maybe a bit of basil if you’re trying to push the boat out) then you are fine.

OR if you're home for Christmas, waiting around for term 2, ask your parents to give you a quick tutorial on how to make a stir fry, chilli or a curry! They'll save you a lot.

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Part-time Jobs

Although this may not be a priority for everyone, for me getting a job was a high priority for university. If you are looking for a job, make sure you are looking and applying before-hand as it can get competitive for jobs when you reach university. Nevertheless, if you can’t find a job beforehand there are always jobs available on campus through the Employment and Recruitment Service when you start your course.

Make sure to check out the Lancaster University Employment website for jobs around campus, such as bar jobs, working for the student's union and so on! Remember: having a job is not a priority, but it helps having that extra bit of money!

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Working for LUSU could be an option!

Pack wisely

This goes without saying but remember to pack everything you may need for your first term at university. Especially as your first term will cover the winter months, woolly jumpers, thick tops and warm socks are needed in abundance!

There are several websites that offer a great list in detail of what you may need throughout your time at university (I personally recommend checking the Save the Student website) from boots to books and socks to snacks!

This goes for everyone coming back in term 2 – do you really need those 10 pairs of wooly socks your Mum bought you or the endless pile of chocolate you got off your grandparents? Make sure to bring back the essentials and a few goodies, so that you can actually get the train back to Lancs.

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Make sure not to overpack too!

There isn't really one set way to prep for starting uni, but these tips should give you a starting guide or even if you're going back for a second term, remember to pack wisely, check out some on-campus jobs, make use of social media to reach out, budget and try to stay on top of your workload!