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5 Things To Do When You Start University

So, the day you’ve either been dreading or eagerly counting down to has arrived, move in day! You’ve lugged your belongings up the stairs that felt like Everest, hugged your parents goodbye, and had that first awkward conversation with your flatmates. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of welcome week, here are five things to do that will make your transition to university a bit smoother:

  1. Register with a doctor. You’ve probably registered with one back home, but it’s best to register with a doctor closer to your campus in case you fall ill. Given the pandemic, it’s even more important to stay on top of your health. Most universities have their own health centre to make it easier for you, which often include additional services such as counselling and support with quitting smoking. Your residence advisor will probably know where yours is and how to register. 

  2. Cut a spare key. If your accommodation gave you a key for your room, you will want to cut a second key in case you lose the first. Losing your key can be quite expensive as you’ll not only need to call someone to unlock the door, but you’ll also need to ask for a replacement. There’s a fair few locksmiths around London so shop around for the best price and then get a spare key as soon as possible. Make sure you keep the spare key deep in your bag or with a trusted friend and not in your room, because it will be pretty useless if you’re locked out. Your future self will thank you for this.

  3. Visit key places. You probably saw a snippet of your local area on your way, but now you’re all settled in make sure you explore it properly. Look for the nearest station or bus stop, the nearest ATM and the nearest grocery store for when there’s nothing but expired milk in the fridge. Don’t forget to explore your residence too. Find out where you can collect your post, where the common room is and where the laundry room is. You might want to do these things with your flatmates too, which leads me onto my next point…

  4. Bond with your flatmates. You’ll be sharing the same space as these people for a whole year, so it’s good to make an effort to get to know each other. You could all go out for a bite to eat or see a film. If you’d rather stay home, you can all cook together or play a game like Cards against Humanity or Cluedo. In the midst of all this fun, it might also be a good idea to draw up a cleaning rota so you’re not all arguing over whose turn it is to do the dishes.

  5. Sort out travel discounts. If you live quite far out from your campus, you may want to invest in a 18+ Student Oyster, which helps you save 30% on travelcards. But the deals don’t stop there! You can also get a 16-25 railcard, which provides ⅓ off train tickets and even discounts for restaurants and theatres. The 16-25 railcard comes free with a Santander debit card. You can even link the railcard to your oyster card at any underground station, which will give you 34% off off-peak underground and DLR fares. If you do get an oyster however, make sure to register it so if you lose it you don’t lose the money on it as well.

I hope everyone reading has found these tips helpful. Despite the pandemic, welcome week is an incredibly exciting time and I hope that you make the most of it. Good luck for your next few years!


Helena is a first year at King's College London, studying global health. Though her family lives in New Jersey, she grew up in South West London. In her free time, she loves creative writing, making too much pitta bread and watching true crime documentaries. She loves sunny weather and is always looking for an excuse to head to the beach.
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