Pair of shoes disgarded in fron of a home sweet home doormat representing new home, new beginnings, new start.

Moving away from home to start university may bring mixed emotions. New adventures can be exciting, but sometimes, taking the first step and adjusting to something new might not feel easy.

We’ve tried to help by covering some of the things you might need to think about as you prepare to start your university experience.

Prepare for the change from school to university

  • Without the structure of school hours, you will have to develop time management skills and plan your own timetable. It's important to put in the extra work, especially around exams, but also plan to have days off.
  • Your course will require you to do much more reading and writing than at school. Honing your academic skills – like using the University library, working through your course's reading list, and learning how to structure an academic paper – will help you to make this leap. We can support you with all of this and more at our Writing Cafe.
  • Know you can ask for help if you need it. The University offers a wealth of support to ensure you have the best experience possible while living and studying in Plymouth. 
Female student sitting with classmates at laptop smiling
Student ambassadors helping new students move into their halls
Staff and students team up to help new students move into their accommodation

Pack sensibly for university

Course materials, important documents, kitchen utensils, clothing for all seasons, endless sets of chargers...the list goes on.
  • Make lists to ensure you don't miss anything important
  • Organise your items and pack early to avoid last-minute stress
  • Lighten the load by forgetting about things you can buy later

Develop healthy budgeting habits

Whether you receive the full student loan allowance or not, it is sensible to think about your spending limits before you start university.

budget. money. getty
Penne pasta with spinach basil pesto sauce

Learn to cook some go-to meals

Knowing your way around a kitchen will give you the flexibility to eat at times that fit your lifestyle and timetable, and can help you plan and budget for meals.
  • Build confidence before you start university so you don’t have to worry about learning as a student.
  • Start simple (you don’t need to be a gourmet chef to survive and eat healthily).
  • Consider batch-cooking so you can get the most out of your ingredients and save yourself time and money in the long-run.

Prepare for more independence

University might be the first time you are fending for yourself, doing your own cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
While you can figure some things out later, it’s worth practising your housework skills before you leave home so that independent living isn’t a complete shock to the system.
Onsite laundry facilities at Astor House
Student in halls of residence accommodation

Give yourself time to adjust

Feeling anxious before you leave home, or a bit homesick after you start university, are both common emotions. Homesickness can affect anybody, regardless of whether you’ve moved half an hour away or halfway around the world.

I was quite an anxious person before I went to university, and being thrown into a random flat with strangers worried me.

“Going to the University of Plymouth helped me come out of my shell, which is something my friends noticed after my first year.”

Nina, fine art and art history graduate
Nina student blogger

Insights and advice from students

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Our student bloggers share an authentic perspective of life on campus along with insider tips and application advice.
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