Back in September 2018, I moved away from my home town of Beverley, East Yorkshire and into student accommodation in Leeds city centre. This was a massive jump and I was really out of my comfort zone. However, living in Unite Students accommodation meant that I soon found settling in a bit easier. And once I’d decorated my flat and gotten to know my flatmates, it actually felt comforting and homely.
I have to admit, though, that the initial feelings were a bit scary and unsettling. So, I have some tips and tricks that might come in handy when you move into student accommodation later this year.
My main tip, which may seem obvious but is so easy to overlook when you’re researching the actual university and working hard to get the grades, is look around the city! This is the place that you’re going to be spending the next three years of your life, and it’s so important to get a feel for what it will be like to live there. I came to look around Leeds three times before moving in, even though I’d already made many shopping trips there throughout my teenage years.
Learn your way around the city, look at the transport links, not only in and out of the city, but to and from your accommodation and your university campus as well. The last thing you want to feel when you move there is completely cut-off because you don’t know which bus or tram to get. A little bit of research before you get there can make such a difference in those first few weeks!
Additionally, something I think isn’t spoken about enough when you’re applying to universities during sixth form, is find out what the city is like. Leeds is very much a student-friendly city, with most of the city centre being a mixture of campuses, accommodation blocks, and various pubs and bars (many of which have become my new favourite places to spend time away from the textbooks and the lecture halls). If this is important to you too, go and have a look before you start at the university or even on an open day. The social side of university is so important and having a look at which restaurants or pubs are near your campus can give you a real feel for what student life will be like once you move. Because, trust me, there is a lot more to student life than just lectures and work!
Also, I think it’s important to check out what your university really has to offer. See what facilities are going to be available to you once you start there. I know when I applied to Leeds Arts Uni, one of the first things I asked about was their photography equipment and studio spaces because, although their prospectus looked great and really sold the course to me, I wanted to see it first hand before I made a final decision.
So there you go. It might not seem like much but, speaking from experience, I can tell you these things can make a huge difference to how you feel during those first few weeks in your new home.
For more tips and tricks on moving away from home and into student accommodation, check out the video I posted over on my YouTube channel.