24 October 2014

Dear Fresher...

Currys are asking bloggers to publicise three student hacks for new university students and I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what I've learnt so far.
It seems almost impossible to boil it down to three tips - I was given so many by my friends before I came. There is an abundance of posts offering advice, so I thought I'd share three that I hadn't been told before coming; one tip about food, one about social life and one about studying.

#1 Food Hack:
In an ideal world you would share all your meals with everyone in your house, as this is normally the most economical option. However this is rarely possible, especially every meal as people's timetables and food tastes vary wildly. Still getting together a dinner club can save you time, money and is socialble. Keep it small and share the costs each week.

The biggest problem when cooking for one is your ingredients going out of date before you can finish them. Frozen food is your friend and I'm not talking oven chips and ice cream. One of the best purchases that we have discovered is frozen sliced pepper. This bag from Sainsburys is great value and you just chuck them in frozen and they cook in no time. We add them to spaghetti bolognese, stir frys, curries and bakes. Similarly frozen chicken is cheaper, lasts much longer and already frozen individually, so you don't have to try and saw packets of chicken breast in half (see below).
This hack also applies to fruit - frozen grapes will blow your mind and freezing bananas means you can make this.

#2 Socialising Hack
Spread your social roots far and wide. OK so everyone will tell you to get involved in as much as possible from sports to societies. Make an effort to go to at least 4+ taster sessions in sports or activities that you have never tried. Even if you don't go to a session after that it helps you spread your roots and meet as many people as possible. Similarly each lecture try to sit in a different row next to someone new. Don't forget to smile and say hi!

#3 Studying Hack
When it comes to studying you need to find your groove. The best thing about university is you determine your schedule. There is no one way to success. I use a combination of a To Do list and a whiteboard with my schedule works for me. I like routine so try to get up early even if I don't have a lecture and make the most of a quiet flat. Nothing worse when are your friends are outside your door and you get FOMO while you try to get some work done today. Other people find that working together in the kitchen means that they are more likely to concentrate, or that the library makes them focus. So remember the times when you're most productive and maximise it!
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