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You made it!

Week 52

2 September 2024

First of all, give yourself a HUGE round of applause, because you've made it! 52 weeks ago you started your journey to university and you've done it! From writing your personal statements to baking some pies, we've covered it all. In the next couple of weeks you'll be getting ready for Freshers week, so lets do it!

The best bits

Each week our awesome 52 Things guides and current students here at Solent have brought you their hints and tips for getting ready for university. We've rewatched them all and popped them into this quick video of their best bits of advice to get you ready for the next three years:

Still need some advice?

If you still need some advice, don't worry, we've split the articles into categories and added some quick links to them.

However, if you have any questions you can't find the answer to, feel free to use our live chat at the bottom of the screen, or contact us on Facebook, Twitter or email and we'll point you in the right direction!

Before Freshers

You'll be starting uni soon, so It's time to get organised!

Before you arrive it's worth checking through your emails and getting all the information you need so that you're ready for when you arrive on campus. Your university will send you some enrolment instructions which should have all the information you need about what documents to bring and what you'll need to do to fully enrol at the university.

If you're moving into halls, you should also have received some information about what day and time you need to move in. Make sure you've packed everything you need (we have a handy list here) and that you're ready to go. There will be people on hand to help direct you to where you need to be, and, if you ask nicely, maybe help with some heavy lifting.

You may have to pre-register before you arrive. This should just be a username and password with a link. So simply log on and fill in the information needed!

You'll also receive a timetable for your first week. As part of that week, there will be an allotted time for enrolment. It's important that you attend at the time allocated. There will be some rumours that you can't get your student loan until you've enrolled. But everyone will get it on the same day, regardless of what day they enrolled, so it won't make it go any faster!

You may need to bring some ID and your student finance (or sponsorship) forms and if you have any qualifications that haven't been verified by UCAS. Also, make sure you've done your hair because you may be getting your campus card picture taken!

Also, make sure your vaccinations are up to date before coming to uni. Although not many things will protect you from Fresher's flu, its wise to make sure you're vaccinated against meningitis.

Freshers Week

Freshers week or fortnight (depending on where you go) is SO much fun. From the day you arrive there will be so many activities to take part in. There will be a range of night outs to suit all tastes, plus a load of day time activities on and off campus.

But whatever you end up doing, make the most of it. It's a great chance to meet new people, discover new things and get your university life off to a great start!

You should one hundred per cent attend your freshers fair. It'll be FULL of companies giving away freebies. Nine times out of ten, Dominos will be there handing out free pizza and there will be so much free stuff from local and national businesses, discounts, and competitions to win some exciting things. You also want to head over to your clubs and societies fair. We covered it last week, but it's where you'll go to sign up for all the interesting sports clubs and societies. 

It might sound boring, but head to your university library talks on how to use the facilities. It'll come in really handy once you start getting your assignments. There should also be course talks, which will give you an overview of what you'll be studying and you'll get to meet your classmates and lecturers so they're definitely worth attending too.

You should also check out the support on offer at the university. You'll never know when you need it. Whether its university-run services or the students' union, make sure you check them out. You may need to visit them later in your time at university, so make yourself familiar with what's on offer beforehand.

Beyond Freshers

Once freshers is out the way, it's time to start your university journey. There are a few important things to remember, but the most important is to make the most of your time at uni. If there's something new you want to try, try it! Before you know it you'll be entering the world of work, so make the most of the experiences on offer.

Make sure you ask for help when you need it. There are teams on hand at university to make sure you're fully supported in your studies, whether its personal issues or you're struggling with you workload. It's okay to ask for help.

Remember to look after yourself. It's okay to say no to a night out and just watch a film and have an early night! Make sure you eat a healthy diet and do a bit of exercise each day. Stay on top of your workload and keep learning at any opportunity.

But most importantly, make sure you focus on your studies! It's what you're there to do! Attend all the lectures you can, learn as much as you can and make connections with your lecturers and classmates. You want to make yourself as employable as possible when you leave university, so study hard and get a ton of work and life experiences. Find a good balance between a social life and studying and you'll be set!

And if you're really into planning for the future, you may want to think about postgraduate studying! It usually offers better career opportunities (and sometimes money!). You can find out more about postgraduate study at Solent here, or by exploring your chosen universities website.

Six tips to stay safe

As you may be in a whole new city, surrounded by new people, and you may be having your first taste of independence, it's always a good idea to make sure you're keeping yourself safe.

  1. If you're heading to Solent, we run a campaign called Ask for Angela, it's run in partnership with Solent Students' Union, Southampton University Students' Union and with local bars around the city centre. If you need to get out of an uncomfortable situation, simply head to the bar and ask for Angela. The staff will order you a taxi and make sure you get home safe.
  2. It's always a good idea to take some extra cash out with you on a night out and hide it about your person (whether that's in your sock or your bra!) this could come in handy if you lose your bag on a night out and need to get home.
  3. Make sure you always walk with a friend when it's dark. It's coming up to winter so it'll be darker in the evenings. So if you're pulling a late one in the library or your popping to the corner shop, take a mate!
  4. If you're bringing a bike to university, make sure you mark it property with a UV pen so it can be identified. Make sure you lock it up too. There's plenty of bike sheds around the university. And, if you're bringing some fancy electronics, make sure you register them with immobilise.
  5. On a night out, never leave your drink unattended. Make sure you've got a free hand to keep hold of it.
  6. When leaving your house, make sure you've locked the front door and closed all the windows. Even the tiny ones upstairs!

Final tips from 52 Things

Here are some final tips from some of the people who have written the 52 Things articles. We've been on this journey with you and it's reminded us of our time at university so here are our tips!

"It might sound far too sensible, but try to budget. It’s no secret that students live on limited funds, and unless you want to be living on 39p noodles for the last few weeks of each term, just a few simple things can help you manage your money. Getting a part-time job is an obvious suggestion, but drawing up a budget plan (and sticking to it!) for your student loan will help too. Plus, you can get tons of discounts using your NUS card, and local stores will often do student discounts and promotions, so get clever and keep an eye out!" - Nat.

"Start your assignments as soon as you get them, the ones I submitted after pulling an all-nighter at the library got a way lower mark than the ones I started weeks before they were due in." - Kate.

"Get involved in as many societies and clubs as you can. It'll make your uni experience a lot more enjoyable and it gives you an opportunity to meet like-minded people. Try something new as well as something you're more comfortable with!" - Mike.

“Don’t be afraid to speak to your lecturers if you need help. While the style of teaching at university is different from school or college, the course leaders are there to help. If you're struggling with a particular area of your course it's best to speak to them early on so they can help you. The only difference is that you may need to arrange a meeting with them rather than the other way around, so be as proactive as you need to be!” - Mark

"Make time for self-care. While it may seem like everything needs to be done now, unless it’s an impending deadline, it really doesn’t. Uni can get stressful so take the time to destress and ease any homesickness you may have. A call home usually worked wonders for me!" - Kayleigh

Tasks for this week

  • Make sure you check your emails for you accommodation and enrolment information.
  • Get all your last minute preparation done for the start of freshers.
  • Get ready to make the most of the next three years!