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Living independently

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Whether you have now been accepted into Kent or if you are finding the idea of living away at university for so long quite daunting, being prepared with tips and tricks will hopefully give some reassurance and make living independently that little bit easier.

  1. Don’t think that going to university by yourself means that you will be by yourself. Moving to university will give you and your fellow flatmates something in common. Everyone at university are nothing but understandable (and will have plenty of tea and biscuits).
  2. Find the right bank for you. Banks will offer student perks like shopping codes, vouchers, and free rail cards. Don’t let these guide your decision though; you need to find a bank that is best for you and for your future (one that preferably has 0% overdraft). With this point, be aware of your money and make budgets. Top tip: set up a separate Student Current account that can be used for bigger costs like rent so you can clearly see if and when you have enough money to pay your rent.
  3. Get tips from your family, friends, and the Internet about washing, cooking, and cleaning. Buy your own basic kitchen essentials to avoid problems like flatmates not washing up communal items, but not too much as you don’t know how much room you will have and a few weeks in you may agree to collectively buy items.
  4. Buy a planner. Get your emails and your timetables linked to your phone (which you can do at Kent) and give yourself aims for the end of the week instead of the pressure of daily tasks. Top tip: Get a list of recommended reading but only buy books if necessary and remember the library is a great resource and you can buy second hand books for a considerably cheaper price.
  5. Go say hi to your flatmates and neighbours as soon as you are dropped off or are finished unpacking and are wondering “WHAT DO I DO NOW?!”. Knock on doors, buy a door stop (essential) and start meeting people to avoid that feeling of being alone and out of your usual environment.
  6. Take control of all that free time! Go to talks in your first week, learn about opportunities and get excited about the time you’ll spend in Kent! Top tip: go to the Freshers Fair to find people who share the same interests and sign up to anything that catches your eye.
  7. Explore the city you will be living in for some time! Find out deals, invest in a 16-25 railcard if you travel a lot or buy a bus pass for the year. Get familiar with bus routes and bus times, find where the nearest supermarket is and what spectacular things Canterbury holds like its cathedral, food places and all its events.
    8. Finally, if you find that you are struggling to adapt, University of Kent has a great student support service that are always helpful if you need a chat, which can be found near Keynes College.

By K.A. Prestwich, Kent University

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