You've dumped the last box of your worldly possessions on the bed of your new room, introduced yourself to your housemates and watched your parents drive away, it is the start of many exciting years as you embark on your university degree. But before you let the excitement of your new surroundings get the better of you, there are some important tasks that you should take care of to ensure a healthy and happy student life.
Make sure you register with the doctor and dentist on campus and know where their offices are. Don't leave it till you are at death's door before discovering where the medical clinic is!
On a similar note, if you do have any medical conditions or allergies let your housemates or roomies know about them and what they can do if you should have any difficulties in controlling your condition. While it may be great fun to all cook together, if someone has a potentially fatal allergy this is information worth knowing before you sit down to eat.
There can be a lot of emotional turmoil associated with the upheaval of starting university life and studying for your university degree. Most campuses offer some form of counselling service that can offer support and help with emotional or psychological problems. Don't be afraid to ask for help, it's what they are there to do.
If you are feeling really energetic you may want to find out where the university health centre or gym is. It is also worth checking out local gyms/fitness centres as they usually offer good discounts for students.
Lots of help is also available to make sure you keep control of your student finances. All universities will have a finance office that can advise and help students with money matters. They will also have details of undergraduate scholarships, grants and loans as well as information on finance for international students and study abroad scholarships. If you do get into trouble with loans and debt the student finance office can help put you back on the right path.
Sorting out insurance for your possessions is also a wise idea. Many companies have special student policies that cover items you are likely to keep in your room such as televisions, computers, laptops and stereo equipment. If you are studying in your home country and your parents have household contents insurance there can often be a special proviso written into their policy to cover your possessions in your university housing.
In the UK if you wish to have a television in your chosen accommodation (either in your room or shared in communal living areas) you must remember to buy a television licence. They cost around £125 and it is illegal to watch television without one. There will be licence inspectors that call in at your accommodation to ensure you have a license and there are hefty fines or even imprisonment if you fail to produce one.
Finally, drinking is often the downfall of many students, have fun but don't get too carried away. Here are a few simple guidelines to drinking sensibly and playing it safe
- Pace yourself; alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks
- Eat before you start drinking
- Drink in groups, don't be left on your own
- Only drink once a week
- Don't drink if you're completely drunk
- Don't accept drinks from strangers and don't leave your drink unattended
- Look out for your friends and make sure they look out for you.
- Ensure you have a safe way to get home after a night out drinking, either a designated driver or get numbers of licensed taxis before you go out. Do not take unlicensed taxis or minicabs. If you are unsure do not get in, ask a nearby bar/restaurant/club to call you a cab.
- Familiarize yourself with the local town. Be aware of any areas that may be considered unsafe and are best avoided.