Screen and Film School Brighton student, Lucy Rollinson-Payne, shares her advice for new starters.
September is fast approaching… but what comes after?! This blog post is going to act as your new student survival kit so you can feel as comfortable and positive as possible- a feeling that we are all searching for in these times!
Firstly, (what some people would call) the boring admin tips and advice. Research into where your local GP is and sign up there – it’s not too complicated of a process and often once you’ve gone in to register, you can do a lot online. You’ll most likely need proof of address – so ensure you bring that with you.
In order to not be hit with a huge Council Tax bill – take the time to fill out a form online to state that you’re a student and aren’t required to pay it. It takes about 15 minutes and you’ll need proof that you’re a student – often a picture of your student ID and acceptance letter. This is a super important task to complete as soon as you move in.
This next one sounds obvious, however, check your bin days! There is nothing more annoying than missing a week of rubbish being taken – so ensure you go on the city’s council website, put in your address and see when your rubbish/recycling days are. It is also really important to recycle, so please make the effort.
Make sure you’re licensed!
TV licensing is also something that you don’t want to risk being fined for. Despite this being a rather old concept, it’s still important to state whether you need or have a TV licence regarding watching terrestrial television channels. If you’re just going to be watching television via streaming services, you don’t need a TV licence- but you will need one if you are using the streaming services to watch live broadcasts. There’s a form that you can fill out online stating that you won’t need one, this means that you won’t be fined for “not having one”.
Bills and budgeting
Once you’ve set up new utility bill accounts in your name (another very important thing to do right away) – I would spread the responsibilities aka different bills to different housemates. Then set up direct debits to each other via online banking for when the different bills would come out of different accounts. Personally, that’s how I have done it in my household, and it has worked effectively. Budgeting is a very important part of student life; it ensures that you will be able to afford both the necessities and the ever-so-important social life. If done right, having a budget doesn’t feel like too much of a limitation.
The most useful thing for me was creating a Monzo account. This is an online banking service (you also get a bank card and it’s an amazing coral colour) where you can see how much you’re spending and separate it into categories- it is such a great tool. You can set monthly budgets for yourself, and what I found the most useful is that your payments are rounded up and the “pennies” which have been saved get put into a savings pot. This is a really easy way to quickly save up money without even realising it. I saved up £40 without realising it in a couple months – with this I was able to buy something to treat myself. I would often move money from my main bank account into my Monzo account every month.
On the topic of money and saving it specifically – take your student ID with you everywhere. Almost every pub has students deals and discounts, along with many popular retail stores. Often it’s 10%, 25% off etc. – so it’s definitely a handy thing to remember to take out with you wherever you go. You can also get into many different places for free such as the museums and art galleries.
Regarding student ID, also make sure that you take advantage of online deals. Sign up to UNiDAYS as there are so many deals on there – including a discounted Spotify premium, 10% off Apple, discounted Amazon Prime and so much more! All you need is your University email and details to sign up. Anywhere you can save money is the best when you’re a student – a stereotype which is 100% true.
I hope that these brief tips for your new student survival kit comes in useful and provides you with a sense of confidence ready for September!
Stay excited, stay positive and most importantly – stay safe!