Student survival guide

Maya Driver

Going to university for the first time is, for most students, an experience like nothing else they've ever encountered before. For some it will be their first time living away from home having independence and freedom, but even if you've had a gap year beforehand, you'll still find university life unusual and it may be difficult to adjust. Here are a few tips to help you survive your first days of student life.

Teaching yourself a few basic cookery skills will be invaluable unless you're lucky enough to share halls of residence with a Jamie Oliver in-the-making. You needn't learn anything flash, but as long as you can make a few simple stir frys, soups and pasta dishes (such as the ubiquitous tuna pasta à la student) it will save you from 3 years of fast food hell. With this in mind, you should definitely bring a few items of kitchenware with you to your new home: some cheap saucepans, utensils and crockery that you don't mind getting bashed around and going awol.

You'll need to learn to share and be diplomatic because you'll most likely be moving in with an assortment of new people who will have different approaches to domesticity from you. If you're going to be sharing a room or kitchen, it's a good idea to have a chat about ground rules or rotas. For example, you may decide that each person only uses their own things and does their own washing up, or you may choose to gather all your belongings and use them collectively and share out the cleaning chores too. However you choose to do things, if you decide as a group beforehand there'll be less arguments later on.

When moving into your place, even before the semester begins, start introducing yourself to flatmates and other students in your area. You're going to meet a lot of people over the next few weeks but you might as well start making friends straight away. Maybe instigate a flatwarming party with your new neighbours? Once the semester begins there are so many opportunities to join clubs and societies and you're bound to find something to cater to your interests and all societies will have welcome dos that will mostly consist of beer, beer and more beer - a great way to break the ice and meet people. Just be careful you don't overdo it! Get out there, meet people, make friends and enjoy yourself! The studying and the rest of it will be a breeze once you're settled and happy at uni.