Written by Diane Pognan, BA Film

Whether you’ve just finished first year or are in the process of preparing for your final year at university, there are a few things you’ll need to think of before transitioning.

Choosing and finalising your modules

Before beginning the next year, you’ll need to select the modules you’ll study next year to ensure that you’ll have the correct amount of credits to complete the year and, eventually, your degree. While during the first year most of your modules are compulsory, you’re given more and more freedom and options as to what you study after this. So, spend some time researching which modules are available to you so you can make choices which best suit your interests and that will hopefully allow you to spread the workload across the three terms. This is really important – you don’t want four modules in one term and two in another!

If you’re going into second year it may also be worth looking at the modules available to third-year students for any prerequisites you might need for those of interest to you. This way you can think ahead and make choices for second year based on what you want to be able to study in third.

Before heading off to a tropical island with zero internet for the summer, check that you’ve definitely secured a place on your chosen modules. If a particular module is oversubscribed, you may have to select a replacement module (or two), so make sure you have backup options and the right amount of credits.

Moving into a house from halls/previous house

If you’re going into second year, it’s likely that you’ll be saying your farewell to halls and be moving into a house with some of your pals. If not, great! You already know how halls work. But, if you’re moving into a new house, you’ll need to plan and organise quite a few extra things than you wouldn’t have to think about in halls. These include:

  • Room allocation: Try to find the fairest way to allocate rooms between you and your friends to avoid starting WWIII. A good way to do this is to write the names of all your housemates and the various rooms on pieces of paper. Fold them up, and pair them randomly. Then, let the reveal begin!
  • Bills and Wi-Fi: This is fairly important if you want electricity, warm water and an internet connection (which I assume you will!). Find the companies and the deals which work best for you. It might even be worth calling them in person for better deals than you would find online… if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • Inventory: When you move in, you should be sent an inventory by the agency covering the current state of your house. You may have a short amount of time allocated to make changes and flag any discrepancies before the agency considers that no further amendments are necessary to what they’ve sent. Ensure that you take photos and report any issues before fully moving in to keep track of any problems and to hopefully get your full deposit back if you aren’t the one to have caused damages. Chase up any issues straight away to ensure that the agency fixes them before it’s too late!

Sometimes moving in with people can be difficult. To preserve peace and sanity, perhaps think of organising a cleaning rota, or a basic set of ground rules to avoid unpleasant quarrels (e.g. clean the hob after use, ask before using something belonging to someone else).

Ultimately, have fun! It’s not often in life that you get to live with a group of your friends so enjoy it while it lasts.

International students – storage over summer

This one might be more suited to international students, or those whose ‘home’ is abroad. If you don’t live in your country of study, you may need to investigate summer storage possibilities if you’re unable to take all of your belongings home with you.

Various options exist: you could opt for an open-access self-storage locker facility where you can come and go from your items, useful if you will be back and forth sporadically. Or, if you’re moving from one location to another but leaving for a longer period of time, it might be best to go for a pick-up/storage/drop-off service where you are sent all the packing equipment you will need (cardboard boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.). Once they’re packed, your boxes will be picked up, stored and then delivered to a different or same location at your chosen time. You could also ask housemates who live nearby if they’d mind taking a few of your belongings home for the summer (if you get on well and will be living together next year!).

Reading/homework

There’s no summer holiday like a university one! Ergo, you’ll probably have some work to do. Check your reading lists for your modules once they’re set so that you’re ready and prepared for your first classes when you go back in autumn. You don’t want to be overwhelmed at the last minute!

Planning societies you want to join for the next year

A great thing about university is the huge variety of clubs and societies you can join. First year can be a bit daunting because of the sheer amount of changes happening in your life so, if you’ve shied away from a few societies in the whirlwind that is first year, use the opportunity of knowing your surroundings and environment to explore something new. Maybtry something a little bit out of your comfort zone and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Jobs and internships  

Summer holidays are always a good time to find jobs and internships, particularly if you’re short on funds or looking for experience to further your degree and CV ready for the real world. If you’re having trouble finding something suitable on your own, try finding a careers centre at your university or even asking one of your lecturers if they know of any opportunities that could be beneficial to you. Building experience and developing your CV will always be useful towards your future career.

Now you’re all set for next year, go enjoy a nice summer holiday and soak up some vitamin D!