Did you just finish your exams, and are you starting university after your summer break? Then it’s about time for you to relax and enjoy your well-deserved holiday! Although, with student life coming up, it might be wise to prepare yourself a bit too. This way, you won’t face any unwelcome surprises. To start your student life as comfortably as possible, we present you the ultimate guide to prepare for student life!
Student housing or dorm rooms
Where will you be staying during your study? Is your university close by, or too far away to travel to every day? Or are you simply ready to leave your parents’ house? Then find a place to live close to your future university. Make sure to start looking as soon as possible! The earlier you are, the more choices you’ll have. If you don’t have much to spend, it might be a good idea to find a place with roommates. This doesn’t only make it cheaper, but also a lot more fun! Decide whether you want to live with people of the same sex, the opposite or mixed. Search via channels like housing forums for students, local trading posts, social media, your own network, and apply for multiple renting services. Also make sure that people know you are searching for a room and that they’ll be able to contact you if necessary. The hunt for a room is similar to finding a job, so get out there and search!
What you need to keep in mind when finding student housing or a dorm?
Unless you’ll arrive in a room where roommates have already decorated the place for you, you’ll probably need to buy furniture. When you’re arriving in a fully furnished place, you might need to pay a deposit. If you need to buy your own furniture, ask around if people have some items they’re not using which you can buy from them. Make sure to have content insurance, as this covers any damage from fire and theft. Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen!
How am I going to pay for everything?
Student life, unfortunately, is not free. If you are not blessed with parents who can support you financially, you’ll need to find a way to pay your expenses. Make an overview of every amount that comes in and goes out, so you know how much you’ll spend and have each month. Also, it is a great idea to start a job to support your studies. This way, you will earn some money and you can build your CV with your obtained experience.
Apply for a student association
This one can’t be missed in this guide. Did you move to a new city where you don’t know anyone, or are you simply looking for something extra next to your study? Try to find a student association! This is an association of people who study in the same town or at the same school. A lot of activities will be held like going out, festivals, get-togethers and sports. Most of the time, there will be a weekly gathering. Once you become a member of a student association, it is expected from you that you will attend the weekly gatherings. For those events and membership, you will pay contribution. The benefits of joining a student association are that you’ll get to know a lot of new people, and you’ll start building a network. There is a wide variety of student associations, so pick one which suits you the best and which makes you feel comfortable!
Get to know your (new) town
Most likely you’ll have visited your new university when you were still looking for the right school to go to, so you’ll know where it is. Make sure to travel to your new school during your break, to find out what your travel time will be. This is a must when you’re moving into your own room, as you probably won’t know the routes just yet. Also, go explore your new city! Try to find the nice places to go for a coffee, where to pick up your groceries, the best places to study, and where the best takeaway restaurants are. Also, we advise you to attend the introduction week your school will organise. You might need to pay for this, but you will get the unique chance of getting to know your students in an informal way. Maybe your fellow students live in the same city as you, and you can explore the city together.
Prepping for your study
You’ll probably receive a message from your school about your study with an information guide and supplies you’ll need, like a list with the necessary books. Make sure to check if people you know might have those books second hand. This way, you will still have the books you need, but for a lower price! When doing this you need to make sure that the books are the right edition. Also, make sure to complete all the steps communicated to you by your school. Usually, it will show you how to create a school account to access the school platform and your student mail. Check your schedule and courses in time, to make sure you’re extra prepared, and take the time to create a nice working space at home so you have a great (head) start for your new academic year!
Next to the fact that you are going to enjoy your summer break to the fullest, you can also work on your CV. Take a summer job to earn money, follow a language course, do volunteering, or find a hobby. If you are moving out, this is the time to decorate your new place and feel at home there. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax this summer break, as you won’t have as much time to do so once university starts. Keep in mind that that going to university will be very different from going to high school. You’ll get more freedom and responsibility to succeed in your studies, you’ll find out more about social life and you’ll need to work to finance your expenses. But, most importantly, you need to combine it!
Most students say that being a student is the most beautiful time of their lives. If you follow all the tips from this guide, it will all work out well. So, enjoy your new student life!
Written by Jacinta from XL Studenten Uitzendbureau, translated by Merel
Dutch student who is following the International Business and Management studies. Living near Amsterdam in a very small village, and traveling to Amsterdam from Monday to Friday to work at StuDocu as an intern! Love to write, draw, and listen to music.