Your return to uni checklist

Imogen Clarke·24 September 2020·5 min read
Your return to uni checklist

With most UK universities beginning their Autumn terms somewhere near the end of September, it’s time to start thinking about heading back to class. Over the summer break, it’s easy to get out of your old routines, and with the added factor of the coronavirus, you may need to do a little pre-planning to ensure you can hit the ground running.

Make sure you’re all packed up

If you’ve spent the summer back at home, you’ll need to pack up and get ready to return to campus. This can be a little overwhelming, but try use the opportunity to clear away any clutter and get organised. Whether it’s your second year or your fifth, you’ll probably have some idea of what’s needed, so draw up a list to get prepared a few days before term starts. Gather up important documents, stationery and books, clothing, bathroom items and any household or kitchen bits and pieces you know you’ll need.

Get your finances and accommodation sorted

Depending on your situation, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready with any documents relating to student finance or loans. These documents might include:

  • A bank card
  • Insurance
  • A rough budget of the months ahead
  • Any student cards or rail/coach cards
  • Letters pertaining to your bursaries or scholarships
  • Proof of enrolment
  • Any important information about your accommodation

Whether you’re in halls or sharing with housemates, you’ll need to liaise with your university closely, especially if there have been major changes due to the pandemic. There are a few ways to make life a little easier, though. For instance, there are apps designed to help students split their utility bills. With an app like Glide, you can automatically split shared bills with your housemates and get the term off to a friendly start. If you don’t already, consider using a student budget app so you can get a clear idea of your spending plan over the months to come. Also consider how you get ahold of keys or access codes, and who to talk to about student life matters, such as a student advisor or residence tutor.

Get in the right headspace

Amidst all the planning to get back to work, many students can feel a range of emotions, from excitement to get on with new study challenges, to trepidation about what lies ahead. Covid has certainly brought its own challenges, leaving many feeling unsure about the future.

These feelings are totally normal, and can be managed with a little help. If you’re struggling, reach out to a trusted friend, a counsellor, or even an anonymous help line like the Samaritans. You may need a little time to work through the challenges and pressures that come with uni life – journaling, yoga, meditation and a little self-compassion will go a long way as you work through the transition.

Get familiar with the course material

Like most students, you probably vowed to get ahead with course material over the summer holidays – and then found yourself in September without having given it a second look! Take the time now to slowly orient yourself to the general study outline, and start diarizing important assignment, tutorial and exam dates.

Now’s the time to start planning out your study calendar – it’s a lot to take in, so start with the most important deadlines first so you know what to prioritize to stay on course. While you’re at it, familiarise yourself with any student forums, online messaging platforms and the like, so you know exactly where to find information and you can respond quickly to any correspondence.

Stock up and establish a routine

Do you need to stock up the shared kitchen with groceries or replace any broken appliances? The first days back at uni can be little chaotic, but you’ll settle in more quickly if you plan ahead to have a solid routine. There’s a lot to think about, but try to keep the same sleep routine and make sure you’re eating well and getting some regular exercise. The stresses of university life are much easier to deal with when you feel organised and have good habits to fall back on.

Finally, a lot might have changed over the summer and your uni may now have some updated Covid rules that you need to be aware of. Make sure you understand what policies are in place and doublecheck you know how remote learning, online tutorials etc. will work for your specific course.