There are lots of things about starting university that are really exciting – but also pretty scary! One of those things is moving out, for a lot of people, university is your first experience of moving away from home and away from your parents or guardians, and that’s a pretty big deal.
I remember before I moved to Brighton to train at ICTheatre, the longest I’d been away from my home and family was probably about two weeks, which meant becoming a ‘grown-up’ and living in a house with a load of strangers was a pretty stressful ordeal. So today I’m here to give you some tips on how to prepare for moving so that you can feel as calm and prepped as possible when the big day comes.
Make a list
It is so difficult to know what to pack and buy when you make that first move into your university accommodation. And you will likely forget things or bring things you definitely don’t need. It’s all part of the learning process – but I do suggest making a list of the ‘must have’ items before you start the process (we all know I love a list).
When studying at ICTheatre, dance uniform and ‘all blacks’ are part of your essentials, so make sure you’ve packed all of them and you have space to store them before you get to your ‘night out’ clothes (still important of course, but not as high on the priority list). Find a full uniform list here.
Don’t forget to think past your bedroom – depending on your accommodation, you’ll need to bring kitchen utensils, plates and cutlery, an iron – all the stuff we take for granted!
Now, I KNOW that one of the most exciting things about moving out is the furniture shopping you get to do beforehand (any excuse for a trip to IKEA…) and it can be easy to get carried away buying one of everything from your local cookware section. But try to be organised first, if you’re lucky enough to know the people you’re moving in with (whether that be in person, or because you’ve connected through your accommodation agency) reach out to them and check what everyone else has before you go shopping.
If two of your housemates have an iron and they don’t mind sharing, it doesn’t make sense to bring a third, does it? Not only does this mean you’ll have all the essentials when you move in, but it will also save space in your communal areas – because in shared living spaces, there’s never quite enough storage…
Plan for Shopping
As I mentioned above, there’s a very good chance you’ll move to your new accommodation and realise you’ve forgotten something pretty major – for me, it took me a few weeks to realise I had no way to dry all the washing I had to do and had to buy a clothes horse, pronto!
If it’s possible, try and keep some money aside for these unseen costs – something is bound to come up, and with that new student budget to manage you might find yourself waiting a while before you’re able to buy one… believe me, going to Primark and buying more socks is NOT the sensible solution for not being able to do your washing.
Make it Homely
If you’re anything like me, the homesickness is going to hit you hard when you move out – especially after freshers has come and gone and you’ve settled into the madness of drama school.
There are always so many factors that mean popping home for the weekend isn’t an easy option, so when you’re packing try and remember those home touches that will make your space feel more like your own.
Pictures of your family and friends, your favourite cosy blanket, the same candles that are used in your house – all these little details are going to help you feel less lonely when the hard times come, as well as making your accommodation feel more like a home from home.
Know the Area
As daunting as a new city can be, moving can also be so exciting – there are so many new places for you to explore. This place is going to be your new home for the next three years, and no doubt you’re going to discover so many places that become your favourite hangouts.
To ease yourself into your new space before you get there, research the area and get to know it before you move – find out your local bus stops and travel routes for places you’ll have to go frequently, have a look at which stores you might do your weekly food shop in, locate the closest doctors surgery to sign up to.
Having this groundwork covered when you arrive will help you find your feet in a new routine quicker, leaving more time for fun! Maybe even plan a day trip to explore if you can – what better way to get excited for your new future than visit the place you’re going to call home?
Connect with your Housemates
There’s a very strong chance you won’t know some or all of the people you’re moving in with; especially in your first year. This can be an added stress – your housemates may be some of the people you spend the majority of your time with. If you’ve been connected with your fellow housemates via ICTheatre or your accommodation agency, it’s a great idea to get to know them a bit before you all move in.
Set up a group chat, maybe organise a group video call so you can get to know each other together or even meet up if you live close enough. This means that when you get to moving day, you’ll be greeting a familiar face – and if your new housemates are on the same course as you, you’ll have someone to face freshers week with as well.
The friendships you make at uni can be friendships that last forever – so why not get a headstart?
However you may be feeling about moving to your new accommodation, I hope the primary feeling is excitement! This is such a big step into ‘adulthood’ – I know, weird – and you’re sure to find your feet in no time.
Until then, I hope these tips help you in your preparation so you don’t feel completely headless when you move. (Just so you know, ‘completely headless is a phrase I just made up, and I’m very proud of it). I know a bit of headless-ness is to be expected, but it can certainly lead to some spectacular moments too.
Interested in joining ICTheatre? You could still be a part of the family this September, find out more at ictheatre.ac.uk/clearing
Author: Charley Morgan, ICTheatre Graduate 2020