Thinking about moving student homes soon? Here’s everything you need to know about moving to university during the pandemic.
Moving to university is always a hard task, let alone while practicing social distancing. It’s likely that the first semester of your studies will be a bit different to normal, but what can you expect from university this year?
We’ve put together a guide on how to make the most of your university experience in the upcoming academic year, including everything from moving home to meeting new friends online. Here’s what you need to know.
What's in this guide?
Looking for some specific advice? Here's what's covered in this guide.👉 How are universities operating?
👉 How to move to university safely
👉 Deep cleaning your current home
👉 Your moving in checklist
👉 When you get to your new pad
👉 Getting to know your course mates/housemates
👉 Getting the most out of university events
👉 How to make the most of online lectures
How are universities operating?
A lot of things are uncertain right now, including what universities will be like during the next academic year. With social distancing in full force, methods of teaching changing, and guidelines being constantly updated, studying will undoubtedly be a bit different to start off with.
Most universities are opting to take some of their lectures online, with seminars being conducted in smaller groups. This means you’ll still be able to go full force ahead with your studies, but your contact time will be far less than usual. We have tips on how to study remotely later in this guide.
How to move to university safely
Before you move to university during the pandemic, be sure to check the government’s most up-to-date guidelines. At the moment, guidelines state that anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice. Guidelines also state that you should contact your letting agent or landlord if you’re worried about the risk of infection.
With this in mind, as long as you practice social distancing and don’t split your time between your family home and student pad, you’ll be safe to move to your university home. However, you should not move to university if you are:
- Have recently tested positive for coronavirus
- A vulnerable person
You can check the government’s more up-to-date guidelines here.
Deep cleaning your current home
If you’re already in student accommodation, you’ll need to give it a good deep clean before moving out. This is a pretty daunting task, so it’s best to spread it out over a few days if you want to get your deposit back.
We have a guide on how to deep clean your student home available here, for those wanting an in-depth to-do list. This covers everything from how to deep clean each room to a deep cleaning checklist. Plus, we have a few extra tips on how to ensure you get your deposit back for good.
Your moving in checklist
If you’re moving to uni for the first time, congrats! You’re about to have the best time of your life (no matter how hard coronavirus tries to intrude). To give you a hand, we’ve put together a checklist of things you’ll probably need to bring with you when moving to university this year. This list is also worth considering if you’re a year or two into your studies - you never know what might come in handy.
- A clothes airer will be super useful at university. If you don’t have one, you’ll be begging your housemate to use theirs. The luxury of a tumble dryer isn’t common in student pads, and an airer makes everything so much easier.
- An extension lead is a must. We all have a billion things that need charging nowadays, and your student home probably won’t have enough plugs. Plus, it’s a HUGE pain when your socket is nowhere near your bed.
- A toilet plunger will come in handy when you least expect it. You might think you can get away without one, but you’ll be kicking yourself when the time comes and you missed it off your checklist.
- Earplugs will save your sleep schedule more times than you can count. Students are usually pretty noisy, and your new housemates might have a completely different sleep schedule to you. Having some earplugs on hand will be a lifesaver.
- A doorstop is usually worth bringing to university. Doors in student accommodation usually close automatically, which can be a pain when you’re trying to get to know your new flatmates. Grab a few doorstops before you move so you can really get the full student experience.
- A deck of cards will go down a treat. You’ll use these again and again to play Ring of Fire throughout your years at uni, and it’s always a good idea to have some nearby.
When you get to your new pad
When you get to your new home, there are a few things you should do before getting settled. Here’s a quick checklist so you can get everything covered:
- Take meter readings. If you’re moving into a private student home, you’ll need to take meter readings as soon as you arrive. This way you make sure you’re not paying for more than you’ve used. Take a photo of your meters for future reference.
- Sort out your bills. If you haven’t yet sorted out your bills, you’ll need to get this done as soon as possible. Ideally this should be done around 2 weeks before you move in (or you face having a few weeks without WiFi!). If you fancy going all inclusive, we can help with that.
- Make a snag list. Write down everything that might be an issue with the property (and take loads of photos, too). This way you don’t run the risk of losing some of your deposit at the end of your tenancy. Send these to your letting agent so they’re on record, and any major issues can get solved quickly.
Doing a big food shop is always a good idea first thing, so head to a supermarket if it’s safe to do so. Grab all the essentials, including all the things you might forget. Here are some basics that you’ll probably need straight away:
- Bin bags
- Washing up liquid
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Milk (for that cuppa!)
- Toilet paper
- Hand soap and hand sanitiser
Grab some food to last you a few days (don’t go all out, even though it can be tempting!). It’s best to start of small so you don’t waste any food in the long run. If you can, arrange to cook with your housemates for the first few days – it’s cheaper and a great way to get acquainted.
Now the boring bits are out of the way, it’s time to have a blast! Get to know your new housemates (or reminisce with your old ones), unpack your room, and get yourself organised. Beers in the garden, anyone?
Getting to know your course mates/housemates
Universities going online mean that you might struggle to socialise with your new course mates in conventional ways. Luckily there are a bunch of online resources to get to know people from your uni.
YourFreshersGuide has WhatsApp and Facebook groups available for cities across the UK, so it’s worth checking these out to get the inside scoop on your university. You’ll get a chance to see what students studying near you are saying, and you could even make a friend or two.
It’s worth searching Facebook for any groups dedicated to your university or course (or you could even make one yourself!). This is a great way to get to know people before you start studying, and it’ll mean you have some friendly faces around campus.
Due to social distancing, you might struggle with meeting new friends face-to-face, so why not set up some video calls instead? From Zoom, FaceTime and even Facebook Messenger, there are loads of ways to get in touch. It doesn’t have to be super formal either; play a virtual drinking game like Ring of Fire to break the ice.
Getting the most out of university events
With Freshers events potentially going virtual, and online lectures being the new norm, you might think that you’ll struggle to get the most of your university experience. But there are a number of resources you can utilise to make the most of it.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye out on your university’s Student Union website, as these will be updated regularly with events throughout your time at uni. With circumstances constantly changing, this will be your best bet to stay in the know with virtual events or otherwise.
Check out Facebook pages related to your university to see if there are any welcome events going on ahead of your term starting. These could potentially be held online, but they’re a great chance to get to know your university and the people studying there.
How to make the most of online lectures
Most universities are planning on utilising online lectures next year in some form or another, meaning you might find yourself studying at your student home from time to time. Some people work great this way, but for many it can be a lot more difficult to focus.
There are a number of useful methods you can use to make the most of your virtual lectures. Here are our tops tips on making the most of your online learning:
- Stick to your schedule. Try to avoid skipping lectures with the excuse that you’ll watch them later. Naturally, you’re less likely to learn as much if your lecture isn’t live, so aim to watch them when they’re actually going on. This’ll help you to avoid getting left behind.
- Get an accountability partner. Whether it’s a flatmate or course mate, having someone to keep accountable with is more likely to keep you on the ball. Make a deal with one of your lecture buddies to keep each other on track, or even sit down with your flatmates and study together.
- Find the right environment. If your flatmate is blasting their music, you probably won’t get the most out of your lectures. Equally, if you’re trying to study from the living room with the TV playing your fave movie, your focus won’t be completely on your lectures. Find a quiet, comfortable space in your home which is away from any distractions.
You're all set!
Remember that virtual learning won’t be forever, and you’ll be back to the norm soon enough. By keeping in touch with new friends and staying on top of your uni work, you’ll be sure not to miss out on the full uni experience.