Leaving home for the first time
For many students, going to uni is a major milestone in their lives. But it also comes with another one – leaving home.
Life’s usually pretty good when you live at home. The cupboards tend to be full, the fridge is never empty, your washing gets done, meals are cooked and, if you’re lucky, you get full reign of the remote control.
But you’re going to have to move out at some stage, and that time usually comes when you head off to uni. It’s an exciting, if slightly daunting, experience and there’s plenty to organise before you go. Here’s just a few of the things you’ll need to plan for.
Most of us are independent enough to have our own bank accounts set up, but make sure you’ve got one that meets your needs. As a student, you’ll be eligible, but it’s important to research which bank has the best account for students. Things to look out for are no/low fees for going over your overdraft limit, and on that note, making sure you have an overdraft facility for those emergencies.
If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your phone, now may be the best time to do it. Living away from home you’ll soon find your mobile is essential – how else will mum be able to get hold of you? But seriously, if you want to be independent, a mobile phone is a good safety net allowing you to call people in the event of an emergency. It could also be your lifeline to meeting up with mates at uni, particularly when you’re all in different classes. Nowadays you’ll rarely be able to look around to not find someone’s head buried in the latest iPhone.
What’s going to be your means of transport as a student? Do you have a car, a bike, a rail card or a bus pass? Perhaps you’ve got a scooter, a skateboard or you simply beat the feet. All of these forms of transport are perfect for getting around as a student, either to and from uni, back and forth to town, home at night after working your part-time job, or going back home for a long weekend. But, when you’ve left home, mum and dad won’t be on hand to drive you around, nor will their car necessarily be available on the weekends, so make sure you don’t end up stranded.
While living at home chances are you’re covered under your parents’ insurance policy. This is likely to include car insurance, property insurance and possibly health insurance as well. So when you move out of home these are the kinds of things you’ll need to organise. Insuring your possessions is important; as is having medical care should something happen to you – although this is becoming increasingly expensive, so as long as you ensure you’ve signed up to the local GP you’ll be fine. If you own a car, then you’ll need insurance for that as well – and don’t forget roadside rescue!
What to buy
This will depend on where you’re moving to. If you’re leaving home to go and live in halls of residence, most of the things you’ll need will be provided for you. But, if you’re moving out of home and into a flat with friends, you’ll need to kit it out. You don’t have to buy everything brand new; charity shops are great for second hand furniture, but don’t get too carried away. Only buy what you need, otherwise it can become expensive and you’re likely to run out of room!