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Yes, there are still a couple of months of summer to enjoy before going back to university. However, while it has always been important to get ready for the first day of your new year in advance, this year there is much more planning to do.
The Covid-19 emergency has thrown a spanner in the works even for those families that have been the least affected by business closures and health issues. For university students bound to graduate into a recession, the past two years have been filled with challenges.
After all, how do you juggle the financial repercussions of the pandemic, a constant stream of deadlines and assignments, and a limited social life?
Nobody is doubting that the past months have been incredibly hard – but the new academic year is about to start, and you need to take your future into your hands. Here are 8 simple tips to use as a checklist and get everything ready in advance.
Understand Testing Requirements
While the vaccination program in the UK is yielding positive results, campus life can come with its own set of health threats – especially during the pandemic. Undeniably, university campuses are special places where students can share ideas, grow, and feel inspired. However, without the necessary security measures in place, it is easy to spread the infection and create long-lasting consequences for all.
Luckily, most universities around the country have introduced strict sets of rules and social distancing measures aimed at protecting staff and students alike. Among these rules are also precise testing requirements.
Most campuses carry out testing campaigns on-site, but they might also ask you to present a negative antigenic or PCR test before heading back to your campus. Since each university has different requirements, make sure to get in touch with yours and get ready before traveling.
Find the Most Suitable Accommodation for Your Needs
The question of accommodation is always one of the most important and pressing ones – for all students! After all, the place where you live during the academic year can impact your social group, chances to socialise, and access to facilities and entertainment. And, of course, these are all vital components of a student’s life at university!
While in the past years you might have opted for a less comfortable accommodation option to be closer to your friends, this year the two factors should be weighted evenly. Of course, your social life is important – but you will also want a safe place that can help you focus and overcome the added challenges of the upcoming academic year.
For example, the students attending Bournemouth University can benefit from luxurious and eco-friendly en suite accommodation options that promote social distancing, focus, and wellbeing.
Connect With Others
As we have seen, there is no denying that the academic year ahead is going to be one of the hardest yet. However, you need to remember that you are not alone in this situation. And, possibly, there is no better place than a university campus to find a supportive community that can help you make it through the hardest moments.
After you have settled in, make sure to get in touch with your local student union and take part in the student life in your campus or city. From events to forums and clubs, you can join the right community for your individual needs – just keep an eye out for the right people!
Look for the Support You Need
Whether that’s financial or emotional, everyone requires support in the hardest moments. And, when at university, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and out of balance – especially as you are making important decisions and trying to find your feet. However, universities are great places to find the right level of support.
From counselors to student hubs, you can find someone to help you with any issue, from personal to academic problems. Just get in touch – they are there for you and they know how difficult the past months have been.
Understand Your Financial Needs
The matter of finances is a crucial one for students. When signing up for university, you know that you are bound to be skint for the next few years. And, you will likely need to learn how to juggle a side job and your deadlines. However, understanding what your financial needs will be over the next 2-to-5 years can give you a clear idea of how to address them.
In any case, any smart financial plan includes:
- Reducing expenses – as a student, you are likely to be spending most of your budget on entertainment, rent, and food. However, there are always ways to limit these expenses, starting by making a weekly budget, eating in, shopping smartly, and switching to the right accommodation for your needs.
- Find alternative income streams – most struggling students at some point realise that they need a side job. If there are no opportunities on campus, you might opt to work for a local cafe, shop, or supermarket. But don’t forget that, as the world continues to change, an increasing number of virtual side hustles and online part-time jobs become available.
- Find student support – from grants to loans, there are plenty of programs that can help students get back on their feet after financial struggles. And, if you have suffered the financial consequences of the pandemic, don’t forget to ask for additional support funds that have been established over the past two years.
Whether you are thinking about buying a house or just surviving the months ahead with some savings left, there are plenty of ways to keep your finances in check.
Leverage Virtual Tools
There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed forever how we see university. Of course, students will continue to attend courses in person, also because of the added value of a direct relationship with their tutors, peers, and surrounding community. Yet, students have also started to appreciate more the importance of virtual tools for remote learning.
From Zoom calls to online learning material, there are plenty of tools you can use to keep up with your work from anywhere and at your own pace.
Pay Special Attention to Keeping Healthy
The pandemic has made us all realise how important it is to put a special emphasis on our health. And this does not only mean going to the gym and working on that perfect six-pack! Yet, students are known to lead a not-so-healthy life. After all, university life is characterized by late-night studying sessions, parties, cheap (and often unhealthy) meals, drinking a lot of coffee, and uneven sleeping patterns.
At the same time, all of this can catch up with you and can affect your immune system. So, staying healthy and safeguarding your well-being should be a priority during the upcoming academic year. From basing your diet on whole foods to filling your fridge with vegetables, reducing stress through meditation, exercising, and maintaining regular sleep patterns, there are many ways to look after your health that don’t cost an extra penny! And, of course, make sure you drink moderately – alcohol is your immune system’s number one enemy!
Remember That Things Are Different!
If this is not your first year at university, you know that there are challenges, but you also know what you can do best and how to manage stress to obtain the best results. However, the last year has been unique and came with specific challenges. So, you should not expect everything to be exactly the same as in your past years – including your ability to concentrate, motivation levels, and results.
As we have seen above, there are plenty of options to find support, but make sure to also be kind to yourself if something does not go exactly as planned. With some patience and determination, you’ll be back on your feet in no time!