The Iglu Guide | Blog

Moving out – the art of independent living

For many students, heading off to university might be the very first time living away from home. But once that initial buzz of excitement has worn away, it can sometimes feel quite an overwhelming prospect. As well as enjoying your first taste of independence and freedom, you’ll have to juggle the demands of academic study alongside feeding, clothing and caring for yourself. It’s a lot – and some students will need more help than others. To get the best from this real-world experience, make new friends and develop as an individual, here’s what you need to know.

Choose the right student accommodation

Ensuring you have a safe and comfortable place to live is a top priority. Think about what’s important to you as a student and the type of accommodation that will suit you best – whether that’s an independent rental, an all-inclusive option or something in between. You may feel happier about sharing a living space with other students at first, rather than managing the transition entirely on your own. Consider convenience factors such as proximity to university and transport links, as well as general neighbourhood safety. Choosing accommodation with a built-in student community like Iglu can often help you feel more supported, particularly if you are arriving from overseas. Getting this part right will help you feel much more settled, and you can set about making your student accommodation feel just like home.

Stay organised

Living independently is all about organisation. If you’re on top of your university study, that gives you plenty of time to plan out all the other aspects of your life. Have a designated study area set up in your room, keep a study diary and get into a routine from the outset. Knowing when you have to get work done and when you don’t gives you the freedom to make other arrangements – such as getting to the supermarket and doing your washing. A large part of the student experience is about learning to be independent, and building up important skills that will benefit you for the future. Organisational skills are crucial to being a successful adult, and student life is exactly where you learn to make it happen.

Understand the basic tasks

It’s not all social and play when you head off to university. Sadly, there are many daily tasks that have to get done so that life keeps trucking along in the right direction. Keeping all these balls juggled up in the air will help you enjoy your time away from home much more.

  • Personal care – Make good friends with your shower and use it every day, even if you don’t think you need to. Everyone will appreciate this small act. Stay on top of your dental health and avoid gorging out on cheap junk food. Instead, aim for a balanced diet that incorporates regular exercise, and don’t fall into that student trap of letting it all slide as soon as you get to university. It’s not difficult to make healthy and nutritious meals even if you are on a student budget. Starting out with good intentions will impact your entire student experience – even if that’s as simple as walking to university and back. Invest in your body now and it will return the favour later in your old age. Promise.
  • Washing – Ever wondered how your dirty clothes end up clean, and folded back in your drawers? You’re about to discover how. It’s not just you that has to stay sweet smelling, your clothes will also need to go through the wash on a regular basis. Try some practice loads at home before you move out to get to grips with how the machines operate, and remember to separate out coloured clothes from the whites. Most importantly – read the care labels on anything unfamiliar! There’s nothing worse than fishing a new item out of the wash to find it looking considerably smaller than when it first entered the machine. The last job is to dry everything off, fold it up and put it away. Repeat this endlessly, and you get the gist of adult life. Still unsure? Try this for a comprehensive guide.
  • Shopping – Beware the Aladdin’s Cave of treasure that is your local supermarket, with its endless diversions, naughty treats, and seemingly too-good-to-be true offers. Always take a shopping list along and try not to deviate from the written word. Make sure you understand how to store food; some items need to go in the fridge, others in the freezer and some in the pantry. If you shop with friends, you can take advantage of special offers and buy more items in bulk such as loo roll and cleaning items. This will save you time and money. Find out more about how to get what you need and stay in budget.
  • Cleaning – Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that you are now in charge of your own cleaning. The best way to go about this is to do the jobs as you go along, and prevent a huge build up. This is especially important if you are sharing accommodation facilities with other students. It’s all very well to leave your own room in a mess, but that approach won’t fly in any shared areas. Leave the space for other students how you would want to find it yourself – that means emptying bins before they overflow, cleaning up after every meal and showing consideration to others. And if you’re getting a bit behind, motivate your housemates to join you in a good spring clean.

Stick to your budget

Moving away from home means that you are now officially in charge of managing the budget. Each semester you will need to allocate an amount of money towards bills, food, living expenses, utility costs and rent – and make sure that there is enough to go around. Before you leave home, make sure you understand how much money you will need to live – and whether you should think about supporting yourself with a part time job. Student life can be pretty expensive, but once you are in the swing of it all you’ll soon discover the tips and tricks that will save you money along the way.

Stay safe

Living independently means being in charge of your personal safety. Even if you live in a safe area, always travel in a group at night and make sure there is always someone who knows when to expect you back. Accommodation providers like Iglu are purpose built for students and always have your personal safety as a priority, with 24/7 security and on-site personnel at all times. This is particularly reassuring when you first arrive and are finding your way around a new city for the first time.

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