By Leah Haupenthal

We all know why we go to university or college; obviously to educate ourselves and help our future careers. But is that the only reason? Not really; most people you ask will say their time in college or university was the best and most exciting time of their lives, and that is not because of all the things they learned. I’m sure that’s because, even though students have a lot to do with assignments, exams and other college work, the time spent in university is a really unique one. You get to know a tonne of new people, you make new friends and of course you go out – and drink – a lot.

For lots of students who study away from home, especially first-years, it’s quite hard to get themselves settled over the first few months. So, we collected some tips for you to save money and make student life a bit easier.

#1 Buy all the supplies and organise your week in advance

Before the semester starts, get yourself all the necessary books, calendars, pens etc. Usually there are huge back to school sales on in places like Easons, or even Tesco. As well as that, there’s lots of DIY videos on YouTube or Nifty on how to get all yourself organised and how to get ready for your first day.

picture tip #1

It may sound like an awful task but try to organise your week before it starts. Just sit down on a Sunday maybe, if you’re not too hungover, and think about what you have to do in the upcoming week. Are there any assignments due, what will you eat, is there time for a workout, when will you have time for yourself etc. And if you can, try to write it down, as it really helps to remember things and keep up with everything going on, especially in very busy times.

Furthermore, try to get a lot done over the weekend, so it doesn’t pile up during the week. Once you get used to it and have the planning as part of your weekend, things will seem and become a lot easier, trust me.

#2 Try to meet lots of new people

College is full of new people who are in the exact same situation as you and don’t know anyone around them. So just try to have a little chat with someone and you might become friends. Because in college, having lots of friends, means being invited to lots of house parties, which means getting to know even more people, as it is always easier to talk to someone after a couple of pints, obviously. As well as that, being part of a group of people may help you with your studies, because you can make a study group or just help each other.

And having people you can rely on and have fun times with around you is never a bad thing!

#3 The internet is your best friend

No matter what problem you may encounter, there’s always a solution for it online. There are so many websites that can help you to make your life easier. For example, take websites where you can subscribe to get vouchers for different shops. It won’t cost you a cent to subscribe and you can save a lot of money on groceries or other things. As well as that, try to subscribe to lots of DIY channels and quick food websites like Nifty or Tasty. There are lots of five minute dorm friendly recipe videos on YouTube as well, and trust me it’s worth taking a look at them.

#4 Know your town

Every town no matter where has its places for cheap food. In Cork some examples would be Wetherspoons or Ramen with their 6before6. As well as that, try to keep flyers from takeaways because nobody is able to cook fresh food every night, and most takeaways have some good student deals. Try talking to people who meet up in the town you study in; they will know good places to go where you can find some bargains or just hang out. Furthermore you should keep an eye on when your local shops have their sales, so you can get some lovely clothes or other knick knacks for half price or less.

#5 Money Money Money

For lots of students, having a part-time job is very stressful, but essential. But one good solution I found for myself is to either apply for a grant if you’re eligible, or try to get a Christmas job over December. It is quite easy to get one as every shop is looking for Christmas staff. Sure, December will be the most stressful month of the year then, but you will have a lot of money for the upcoming few months, without having to work after Christmas. And to be honest, isn’t December stressful anyway, so what does a little extra pressure really matter?

#6 Don’t ever forget your student ID

A student ID is the most precious item you have as a student. With that you can get so many discounts in places that you’ve never even thought of, so always ask if they do student discounts. As well as that you can get into clubs on Thursdays, which is absolutely brilliant because they usually are for over 21s only.

#7 Coffee is life

I personally don’t even like coffee, but I’ve found that it helps a lot with late study nights or assignments that are due the next day. One lovely coffee that even I as a non-coffee drinker really enjoy would be the sachets of the Nescafe Caramel Latte. It is absolutely beautiful, doesn’t taste like coffee but keeps you awake, so it’s perfect for people who don’t like coffee – or energy drinks. If you don’t want to buy the already flavoured coffee for whatever reason, you can also get yourself flavoured syrups like cinnamon, caramel or chocolate and add that to your coffee to have some variety.

coffee 2

That’s all I have for now! I hope that you haven’t heard all of those tricks above before and that they might help some students – like myself – even just a small bit. But obviously everyone has to make their own experiences and learn their own way how to face college life away from home, but I hope and believe that everyone will have an amazing time in college or university!

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