15 things you don't realise before starting university


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Whether you’re leaving home or not, university is a life changing experience. A first step into independence and the unknown… so it’s also a little scary! Don’t be caught out by these 15 things students wished they knew before starting uni.

1) You suddenly realise that cheese is a luxury

Cheese-welcome week

£2.50 for a block of cheddar! You notice how expensive a lot of things are when you start buying them for yourself, so remember to budget to keep your finances in the green.

2) Halls smoke alarms are… sensitive

smoke alarm

Designed to protect you against fires, harmful carbon monoxide and… toast. You’re guaranteed to set the smoke alarm off at least once during one of your cooking adventures.

3) Birmingham is big – really big

Me trying to find my lecture

4) If you don’t bring hangers you’ll have to actually buy them. Take a LOAD of coat hangers

Just another thing that no one really thinks about before getting to halls and realising that they have to hang all their clothes on the back of a chair.

5) Ear plugs are a godsend

You’re probably all for a kitchen party, but for the nights that you’re not up for it, a set of ear plugs will help you on your way to dreamland.

6) You can’t bring pets, even if they are giving you those ‘don’t leave me’ eyes

You’ll be getting your parents to set a camera up so you can Skype with your dog. He’s such a good boy.

7) There IS a difference between washing powder and fabric softener

Top tip: you can have washing powder without fabric softener but can’t have softener without washing powder.

8) You actually make friends pretty quickly

9) Never pay full price for a pizza

Vouchers are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Through your letter box, at uni, in the canteens, blowing like tumbleweed across campus… you get the idea.

10) Don’t keep your door closed those first few days.

Make the effort to get out and meet people You’ll miss out on a lot of bonding opportunities if you don’t engage early on. The best way to stop feeling homesick is to start feeling at home.

11) Your body clock is going to change

12) Don’t be shy at shops

Ask if there’s a student discount and get an NUS card.

13) Everyone wants to help you 

14) Buying used

Used books from websites is cheaper and just as good. Save pounds on your reading list.

15) Welcome week isn’t the only time you get to join societies

Make sure you don’t just join everything because you think you aren’t going to get another chance.