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Harriet’s Top Tips for Starting University

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

A few years ago I was at home thinking about how I was about to move away from home to a city I’d briefly visited 2 or 3 times prior, so to say I was nervous was an understatement for sure. I know how daunting it can feel in the lead-up to the start of university, now more than ever, so I’ve compiled my top tips for starting university…

Firstly, I’ve figured out that the easiest way to feel a little more prepared was to get everything ready. I followed a checklist by The Student Room to make sure I’d gotten everything I needed (and definitely more) and packed what I didn’t need in the meantime. I also checked the important stuff, such as what documents the accommodation agency needed to get my keys. Then, I kept myself busy by spring cleaning the things I didn’t need at home or at uni.

If you need to fill even more of your time, practice all the ‘adult’ skills you can. Get an easy recipe book (I got the one below) and practice some of your favourite recipes from it. Don’t neglect other skills you need to master like using the washing machine or, if you’re short like me, making up a double bed and reaching the tall kitchen cupboards yourself.

Picture of "Nosh for students" book

Next, I set out to find some of my coursemates to get to know them before we met. There were no groups and such back in 2017 so it was initially a little difficult. I thought I’d make it easier for you all this year by creating an official group ran by us at the Students’ Union for you to find your coursemates before you move to Plymouth and help you to make some friends before you come along to Freshers events, turn up for the induction and initial sessions, and ease those first-day nerves.

So, you’ve found some coursemates, now's time to find your flatmates too! Host have official groups linked to each of their Facebook pages so that you can find them, you can find links to all of these on our Facebook group if you need them. It’s great to get to know your flatmates beforehand too, because it’ll make it that much easier when you meet in the autumn. When you all first move in together, spend a few days/nights getting to know one another better and form that flatmate bond. Don’t forget that it’s important to keep an open mind, there’s no guarantee you’ll absolutely love all your flatmates right away but remember that you were paired together for a reason!

The best way to help you settle into the PCA community and get to know more people is to join in with Freshers! Though the past couple of years have been different, we want to give you the best possible introduction to the college and the Students’ Union possible, so Paige (Student Union Manager) and I have been working hard to plan events and activities for you all to enjoy. We’ve extended Freshers so it’s over several weeks rather than just one and we’ve organised events both on campus as well as around Plymouth and the wider local area, as we want to give everyone the opportunity to join in. You can find all of our Freshers events on our Eventbrite.

Lastly, explore wider Plymouth. Get to know the city, see the sites and figure out some great takeaways. You can also find my guide to Plymouth in the "New to PCA" section of our blog too, so look out for that!

Talk soon,

Harriet Moore

Student Union President

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