This time next year Minxy and I will be visiting secondary schools and selecting which she will be attending. It's a big step, one that I've been really dreading as a mum, as it's the end of an era with her growing up into a young lady and becoming more independent.
Where did my baby go!?
Where did my baby go!?
It got me thinking even further into the future and the idea of her heading off to uni - what advice would I be able to provide when she does eventually leave home to begin a journey, by herself, in further education...
- Learn how to cook and clean before you move out as mum and dad won't be around to clear up after you and make your meals. Living on fast food is expensive and unhealthy so definitely not the way forward. Try to ensure you know how to create a few dishes and take advantage of the freezer so there is always something available if you are short on time.
- Try to live on a budget before you leave home so you are aware of how much you need each week, and keep a note of what you spend. You may be surprised by where your money goes but it's the best way to work out if and where you need to cut back. Your social life will have to come second to the essentials like bills unfortunately so make sure you can afford them!
- When selecting your university be sure to visit a variety and when you have chosen your favourite ones return a few times if possible to get a proper feel for it. You will be there for several years so you need to be certain that it's right for you. The same applies to the accommodation - you need to make sure it is suitable and that you will be happy living there. Take someone close with you for their opinions and try to speak to other students and visit the local area too.
- Get some info on student bank accounts and see how you you can make the most out of student life with great discounts and even a fee free overdraft. Every little helps. You will need an account before you receive your student loan so make sure you open one as soon as you have your place confirmed at university. It may be worth getting a part time job so investigate what is available in the area before you move as other students will be seeking work also.
- Think about transport. If you are taking a car where will it be kept, will there be parking fees and will you be risk becoming everyone's taxi! Look into buses and train routes and see if you can receive reduced passes. Also try to work out when you will be going home and how you will be getting there and back - you need to make sure you will be able to move everything you need.
- Think about what you will need and stick to it. Some universities supply items that will be required so investigate before purchasing things like bedding, bins and ironing boards. Also check what is and isn't allowed - some items are not permitted!
- It's natural to be apprehensive, and feelings of joy combined with worry are normal. Just remember to reach out to family and friends if you need a helping hand with moving, finances or anything at all as that's what they are there for. Seek support if you need it, never be afraid to ask. Most importantly enjoy yourself!
What tips do you have for someone starting university?