Welcome to Leeds! Here’s a list of our top tips for First Year

Congratulations! We can’t wait to see you on campus

So, you’ve made the great decision to firm Leeds for your degree, and now you’ve got the results to get in. But you’ve realised you’ll be moving away from home, saying goodbye to family, friends and pets. What now?

You’ll soon realise you’ve got to adjust to a completely different lifestyle: living away from home for the first time and even cooking for yourself every night (or dealing with the cost of ordering Deliveroo). And of course, there’s moving into accommodation, freshers week, finding your way around, libraries, etc.

The Leeds Tab is here to help! We asked our current first years for their top tips for incoming freshers.

Your sleep schedule will never be the same

Yes, we all know our sleep is important, and you should be aiming for at least eight hours a night, but realistically, at university, anything over five hours is solid.

From a normal sleep routine of 11pm – 7am, you will more than likely end up sleeping no earlier than 3am, and waking up for your 9am will be the biggest struggle in the world. God knows how you used to be at college for 8:30am every morning.

You might not get on with all your flatmates, and that’s very normal

Yes, the prospect of moving into university halls is a scary one, but remember, the allocation of flats is completely random so you end up living with a group of strangers for the first year. You might not see eye-to-eye on certain topics, or speak to them much at all, but this is pretty common in university.

There seems to be a massive expectation that you become best mates with everyone in your flat, but that’s not true at all. You can still be friendly with them, but your flatmates won’t necessarily be the people you become best mates with at uni and move into a house with in second year.

Don’t buy the freshers wristbands

The idea of a freshers wristband sounds incredible in essence, with all these fantastic events for SUCH good value. But realistically, the events on the wristband are often the least popular ones, and the likelihood of everyone in your flat buying the same wristband is minimal, so it is very probable that the £30 you spent on the wristband will just go to waste.

The assignment messages never go away

You’ve just chosen your accommodation for Leeds and joined the WhatsApp group chat. Suddenly, you are being bombarded with messages like: “We will write your assignment for you💯, low costs and fast turnarounds.” As annoying as they are, you better get used to them, because they NEVER go away. You can remove them from the chats as much as you want, another will join straight away. Remember, do not ever use their services, as it is a serious university offence which could result in disciplinary action.

Sorry Kate, but we really don’t need you to do our essay for us

Circuit Laundry is AWFUL

The one purchase you should definitely make for uni is a clothes airer, because when Circuit screws you over for the third week in a row and your clothes come out dripping cold and wet, not even two cycles in a dryer will fix them.

Stop wasting your money on the dryers and just let your clothes dry on a clothes airer – but please make sure to leave the heating on and your window open when you do, or you’ll have some nice mould growing in your room soon after.

Don’t shag your flatmate

Seriously. Don’t shag your flatmate. It will just make it incredibly awkward and you will want to avoid the kitchen at all costs, making others in your flat pick sides. Find someone else.

You will get lost

Whilst the Uni of Leeds campus isn’t the biggest in the country, it’s certainly one of the coolest (no bias). Entering Eddy B on ground floor will actually mean entering on Level 8, there are more stairs then degrees and the Union is the biggest maze of all time. And don’t even get me started on trying to find your lecture hall in Roger Stevens.

Come with an open mind

The people you meet at freshers week may not be the people you move into a house with in second year, and your flatmates may not be your best friends. Remember, there are so many students in Leeds, so you will find your people eventually.

Everyone knows everyone

In the days where parties were legal, you’d turn up to a random flat and instantly see someone you know or know of. It’s a weird concept, but you soon work out that everybody knows everybody at uni, the amount of shared mutuals you have will be insane.

Your diet’s going out the window

The current five-a-day you eat at home will be a rarity at uni. Aldi’s 35p pasta and 18p pasta sauce will be your new fave, with a splash out for some pesto to change it up. You will eat at strange times: we often find ourselves cooking dinner at 11pm some nights and you are more likely to win the lottery than eat breakfast.

You will be living on £13.42 for the last three weeks of term

Whilst splashing out on new clothes and drinks for the first few weeks after your loan has dropped feels brilliant, you’ll soon realise you’ve spent a bit too much, and will be living the luxury of super noodles and toast for the last week of term.

Expect to pester your parents for money at least once a term

You will definitely find yourself messaging your mum or dad “will you transfer me £20 for an Aldi shop,” at least once a term. But if they do fall for that trap, the £20 will either be spent on takeaways or drinks on a night out, leading you back to square one.

Aldi will be your new best friend

With some Leeds students never stepping into an Aldi before uni, you will quickly realise how much of a haven it really is. Tamova Vodka will be your new drink of choice, and you can mix it with their 18p diet cola. Nothing beats their rip off crisps or their bargain prices for oat milk, but the fruit does go off really fast, so stick to Morrisons for that.

Chicken is really expensive

Who knew that 1kg of chicken would set you back nearly a fiver? If you’ve ever wanted to go veggie or vegan, uni is the perfect time, you’ll save a hell of a lot of money and time too.

Defrosting chicken in the microwave will be up there with one of your least fave pastimes along with the dreaded Circuit Laundry time of the week too.

Push yourself out your comfort zone

We know moving to university can be very daunting, especially in a pandemic when there is uncertainty with contact hours, in-person learning and regulations in accommodation, but you’ve done the hard bit now by getting into Leeds.

If there’s one piece of advice The Tab Leeds can give you, it’s that everyone is in the same situation, so you are not alone. Even if you don’t want to, try and meet as many people as you can in the first few weeks to make a few familiar faces, and then from there you will be ready for university.

Go out as much as you can

As cliche as it is, and as much as your bank account will hate you, try and take the most for any social opportunities in the first semester. Drinks with the flat? Golf with your course mates? Even if you don’t fancy it, putting yourself out there will help you form new friendships, experience new events and meet new people. Rip your overdraft though.

Your levels of hygiene will not match your flatmates

You might come to Leeds with comprehensive knowledge on laundry, washing up, keeping your kitchen clean, but I promise that at some point you’ll walk into your kitchen and want to walk straight back out again.

As much as you pester your flatmates on the group chat, there will always be a dirty pan or two sat chilling in the sink and some food going mouldy in the fridge.

You will appreciate home a bit more

The countdown to independence is a fabulous one, but the little things at home will be the things you miss most. Parents offering you a cup of tea, your pets and having a kitchen you can walk round barefoot in are just some of the things we all miss.

Keep your bread in the fridge (or freezer)

Sounds weird. But trust us, keeping your bread in the fridge (or freezer), will make it last much longer. It goes off a lot faster than you’d think, especially if it’s only for you.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

The A to Z of all thoughts Leeds Uni students have had this year
Five Leeds student podcasts you should be listening to
Two week celebration on UoL campus to take place instead of graduation

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