Congratulations to all the Ballymena school students who have received the results that they needed to get into university. Going to University is a big step and whether you are heading overseas or to Queen’s, or to the University of Ulster there are some things which you will need to get in order before you go.
Things to do before you head to university
Here are our hints to help you as you prepare for your journey to university:
1/ Get your own bank account
We are starting with the very boring things first. Getting a Bank Account is vital for anyone who is going to be receiving a student loan. For more information about student finances please click here. All banks and building societies offer their own version of a student bank account. Many of them will come to your Freshers fair and sign you up with them. Before you sign up read this article which tells you what to look out for from a student bank account.
2/ Get an eye test before you go
If you are moving away from home then you may need to register with a doctor and dentist when you move. However many students move away to University and neglect their eye health for the next 4-5 years. If you are moving away it might be a good idea to book in for an eye test before you go. Then when you return home on your holidays you can book your next test to keep you up to date. We recently wrote about why it is important to get your eyes test regularly – you can read it here.
3/ Get a railcard / unlimited bus ticket
If you need to travel from halls or your rental house to University then consider buying an annual, or monthly ticket. A Railcar or unlimited bus ticket means that you will always be able to travel and usually when you add your expenses up investing in the travel card is cheaper than buying individual tickets.
If you are staying in Northern Ireland find out more from Translink.
4/ Update your tech
Technology has moved on quite rapidly over the past few years and Universities are very well kitted out with computers and equipment. Using the library means that you don’t have to download big programmes, such as AutoCAD, which could slow down your computer. Having a laptop at university is very useful – just make sure that you have protected yourself against any problems. If you would like some advice about Internet Security then please click here to listen to local business MCC Computers talking about the topic on Q Radio.
Make sure that you have a monthly phone contract instead of relying on pay as you go. It is much better as it means you will never run out of credit. Also keep an eye on your data and remember to sign into the free university wifi when you are in the building instead of using up all you data, and getting a big bill. Get a screen protector and a case for your phone to keep it safe.
5/ Don’t buy all the books on your book list
You can find your reading lists online and it is a good idea to take a look for this at the start of the year. Don’t buy al the books on your book list – there are better options. Firstly you can head to the library, however bear in mind that all the students in your class will be after the same books so get there quickly. Keep an eye on the university notice boards – especially in your department. Older students often sell their text books and will probably have the exact titles you are looking for. Also check online as many scholarly texts are published online in pdf format which you can view for free.
6/ Create your capsule wardrobe
Don’t be that student who always wear the exact same thing to class. While the student uniform is usually a hoodie and some tracksuit bottoms remember that at times you will be expected to meet lecturers, attend interviews and reviews. Have a capsule wardrobe which is easy to put together and make sure that you wash clothes regularly. Invest in a warm coat, a couple of pairs of jeans, stick to shirts over t-shirts and a few jumpers. Have a good pair of comfortable boots, trainers and flat shoes.
Click here to find out more about Capsule Wardrobes.
7/ Sort out what to take and what to buy there
If you are moving overseas then research your living quarters before you go. If you have a shared kitchen you you might not all need to bring your own cutlery and plates. Also wait until you get there to see what you need. If you know your new address you can easily order items online to arrive when you get there. For bedding we recommend Primark in Ballymena who have a brilliant range of duvet covers and pillow covers. Just take a look below.
Phew, that is probably enough to keep you going!
Our last few quick fire tips:
Print off photos of you friends and family to put up in your new room; Keep your room door open as much as possible to help you get to know your neighbours; Learn how to cook one basic meal which can feed all your friends at once (pasta bake, shepherds pie); Eat fruit; Always have a five pound note hidden in the back of your phone case (just in case); Add the local taxi firms number to your phone when you get there; Keep your bathroom products in your room or they will get ‘borrowed”; Never go shopping when you are hungry!
Please share this with anyone who is heading the university from Ballymena!