How to Reset after a Year of University
I’ve written lots of posts about heading to university for the first time, but I’ve never actually covered what to do after your first year is done! It can be tempting just to dump everything and enjoy your summer, but I’ve put together a few practical tips on how to get organised for September.
1. If you’re moving out to a new place
If you’re getting a house in the student area, chances are that you’ll have to move during the summer. After you’ve got everything in your new place, please set up your room before you head home for the summer. Staying in your new house? Obviously then you would unpack your room, but lots of students leave the bulk of their unpacking for when they return in September. This can be a stressful process, especially if you then realise you are missing things, some of your stuff is broken, or you just generally hate moving.
2. If you’re moving home first
I lived in halls beyond my first year, so I had to pack up the car each June when the university year came to an end. I found it helpful to pack things up logically, keeping all my kitchen stuff together and throwing away or donating anything that was rubbish or that I didn’t end up using. It’ll all be easier to store, especially if your home doesn’t have a garage or a shed to dump everything. I know some students choose to rent a storage unit together over the summer, so that’s something to think about if you live a long way from your university.
3. Organise your files
Whether you favour paper or digital notes, get all of that stuff organised before September. Put everything into logical files on your PC, then back everything up to the Cloud or an external drive. This means that nothing will get lost, especially if you end up getting a new phone or laptop. With your physical notes, discard what you don’t need and condense everything else down into folders that you can take with you next time.
4. Stock up on what you need
As you pack, make a list of what you need to replace, and then do a quick shopping trip whenever you have the cash. Then you can pack your new items up with the rest of your stuff to take back to university, and nothing gets forgotten. Also, if there is anything you’ve never used, now is a great time to declutter, especially if your new room is going to be smaller than your previous one. Get rid of clothes you’ve never worn and ditch the kitchen gadgets that clog up your cupboards.
5. Sort out your finances
Have a look at what you spent last year, and what you want to spend in the coming year. Cancel subscriptions that are surplus to requirements and think about where you can save money. Can you switch to a cheaper supermarket? Will you commit to cooking more and limiting your takeaway addiction? Will you party less? Can you sell some of your old stuff? These are all questions to ask yourself when you want to save some much-needed cash. It’s true that your first year will probably be the most expensive year of university since you’re meeting new people and making the most of your freedom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recoup some of your savings in the coming year.
6. Take some time away from the university mindset
Enjoy living with your family again, or at least take some time away from the books. You might want to get yourself a job if you’re low on cash, and the summer might be a great time to get an internship or do some travelling. Studying can be really intense, so be kind to yourself and relax!
7. Set some academic targets
You don’t have to write these down or make a declaration to the world, but try to have a think about what you want to achieve at university in the coming year. Once you get your results for the year, see if it’s what you expected or how it will impact your study habits next year. You may have fared pretty well, giving you some breathing room to try some new activities. However, there may be certain modules that have bombed, and it’s important to take responsibility for that. If there is a genuine issue in your personal life, it may be worth getting in touch with a student advisor at your student services, an academic tutor or even the head of department, to try and make plans that will help you to succeed. If you’ve done really poorly, you may have to retake the year in order to prove that you will be capable of finishing your degree. These can be tough conversations, and it may be worth asking yourself if this course, or just university in general, is right for you.
I don’t mean to end on a sad note, but it’s always worth being honest with yourself about what you want from your future. On a lighter topic, congratulations for making it to the end of the year! Try and take some time to relax and reset for another busy year on campus, Covid-19 hasn’t made the last few years particularly easy, so a massive well-done to getting to the end! If you’re graduating this summer, do make sure to check out my post where I detail all the pros and cons of attending your ceremony, which I’ll link to this one.