Getting the most out of student life: A how-to guide

Aug 13, 2019 by

Leaving home and moving away to university is likely to be one of the most difficult moments of your life. For the first time in your life you won’t have the safety net of home surrounding you anymore and despite the fact we all claim to be independent, sometimes we’re simply not. It’s a fairly overwhelming experience to get free roam of your own life. The first few weeks will be a whirlwind with the ‘3 Ps’ becoming a staple of your everyday life: pasta, pizza and pot noodles. Freshers events fill your evenings and sleep will fill your days, but as much as the social aspect will contribute to an unbelievably quick first semester, the reason you’re there soon establishes itself — the dreaded education.

The first five days are awash with icebreakers and trying to find your way around. But then, the deadlines start to slowly fill your calendar and the nights out lessen themselves. Five a week becomes three.

Managing your life is by no means easy, no matter how old you are, but doing it for the very first time can be daunting. So, if you’re heading off this September to do a whole lot of growing up, we suggest looking at our definitive guide to student survival.

Venture beyond your comfort zone

It may sound hard, but to get the most out of your time at university and enjoy your experience you need to get involved. Put yourself out there, as Snow Patrol once sang, ‘This is your life, this is your time.’ Sign up for clubs, go along on course nights out and most importantly, try with your flat mates. It can be incredibly scary moving in with new people for the first time, but remember, they are in the exact same boat as you.

Of course, if you aren’t enjoying yourself then don’t just bottle it up, and definitely speak to someone. Again, universities provide free counselling for students, but don’t give up until you’ve given it your best shot — nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Getting from A to B can be rather tricky at the best of times, especially if the weather’s miserable and the campus isn’t on your doorstep. Most inner-city campuses tend to be okay in this regard, however if you’re living or studying on the outskirts, taking a car with you might be the more economical option. The Renault Clio has established itself as a firm favourite amongst the student population, thanks to its low insurance costs and its positive relationship with parking.


More often than not, the hardest thing about university managing and sticking to a budget. Just like cleaning and washing, no one enjoys doing it, but it is a necessity. The congratulations cards you receive, or the twenty pounds your grandparent stuffed in your back pocket before you left won’t last forever. Find out the different things you can do for free in your city, plan your trips home well in advance and don’t constantly buy takeaways. As much as salted chili chicken or a Texas BBQ pizza may be your favourite hangover cure, think of how many meals you could’ve made for the same price.


As mentioned earlier, the ‘3 Ps’ will prove to be a popular food choice, however, long days at university require brain food, and most of the time, the ‘3 Ps’ won’t be enough. Cooking on a meal by meal basis can often prove expensive and similarly wasteful. Meal planning is essential if you are to save both time and money. A packet of mince, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a few different vegetables and some spaghetti can be bought for £3, providing enough food for four meals. Freezing food is something you probably never did before, but at university it becomes an absolute lifesaver. Did you know you can freeze milk to prevent it from going off?


Let’s face it, nobody enjoys doing the laundry but the longer you leave it, the worse it becomes. Every time you take something from your drawer, adjust your habits so once you get changed, you put the dirty clothes into the wash basket. Red and white aren’t an advisable combination, unless you’re using colour catchers. Likewise, if you don’t know how to use the washing machine, guessing can be a rash decision. If the instruction manual isn’t close by, call upon your good old friend, Google.

Keeping fit

Near enough every university in the country will provide exercise facilities. It may seem like a lot of money, especially when you’re scraping pennies together to buy a pint, however it’s a worthwhile investment. Studies have shown that most students put on somewhere between one and two stone in the first year of university. The weight gain usually has been found to have links to drinking, stress and an unhealthy diet.

Together with indoor training facilities, university sports teams are an ideal way of maintaining a level of fitness. The wide range of clubs means you’re almost guaranteed to find something you like. It’s not just football, hockey and rugby anymore!

Undoubtedly, university will be the best experience of your life and the time will fly by. Make the most of it and by following our simple plan you might just be able to make things a whole lot easier.


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