For many students, university is the first time you’ll experience living away from home- which can be daunting! Whether you’re in halls or a house, living in student accommodation is one way to embrace university life.

First year Children and Integrated Professional Care student Hannah shares her experience on living in halls.

University is said to be the best time of your life and although not everyone will experience student accommodation, but for those who do, I strongly advise you to enjoy every second of it.

Living in student accommodation is the best way to gain independence, make friends that will last a lifetime and be skint! You will experience some ups and downs during your time in student accommodation but it’s all part of life. As a first year student myself, so far I have experienced many highs and lows (mostly highs) but deciding to move away from home was a choice that I’m happy I made.

I moved into ‘The Coppice’ in September 2014 and never looked back since. I have the most loveliest and friendliest flat mates anyone could ever ask for and I am so glad I got placed with them. Like anyone else, I was also nervous about moving away from home and having to do a lot for myself. As the eldest child in my family, I had no clue what I had to bring or what to expect. If you have any older siblings who are at or went to uni then you’re lucky, as you’ll have an idea of what’s ahead!

From my personal experience, the best advice I could give you readers is to:

* Learn how to care for yourself before you arrive. Try and learn how to clean, cook and do your own washing (never faced a washing machine before? Read this!). Ask your family members to give you some cooking lessons or buy yourself some cookery books (I’m no Gordon Ramsey but I still like to think I can cook). You can buy student cookbooks or even search for simple recipes online.

* Look for any vacancies before Freshers. Research the area you’re going to live in and see if you can find any local jobs. Once everyone settles into university life and realise how skint they will be, they start to look for jobs. So by searching and applying for jobs in the summer you’ll be first in line.

Don’t forget that the Birmingham City University also has many job opportunities on campus. Check out the uni’s OpportUNIty scheme, which offers students part-time jobs fitting around your course requirements.

* You will never be alone. Everyone who is living in student accommodation is in the same situation as you. Some may have more experience in living away from home than others, but that’s how you make new friends! Show a friendly smile, ask questions and help each other out because that’s how you make friends and you may need the favour returning one day.

* BUDGET YOUR MONEY! I cannot express this enough! With having limited amount of money you need to budget so you have enough to buy food, stationary, books and other essentials. Have a book and write down what you buy each month in order to prevent yourself from going over your budget.

If you have any finance and money matters, see what help you can get at the university here.

* Do make friends with people outside of your flat. There will be times where you may feel you need to distance yourself from your flat mates (after-all, you are living with them 24/7!). It’s nice to be able to have a wide variety of friends so try and make other friends in the societies you join, on your course and those who are also in accommodation. If you’re worried about making friends, have a read of this blog by third year student Jay which is really helpful!

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I am now coming to the end of my time in student accommodation and I cannot tell you how much I have loved being here. Martha, Ben, Waqas, Naomi and Izzy (all studying primary education) are brilliant flat mates. They now feel like my family who I will remain in contact with during the summer and the rest of the years I will spend here at uni. From what I have learnt in these past 40 weeks is that they will all make smashing teachers in the future and any school would be lucky to have them. I have also met the kindest people outside my flat like all the girls on my course who are supportive and always manage to make me laugh. Then there are the people who also live in The Coppice who have become friends to us all in my flat.

Now I am looking forward to my second year at BCU and also moving into a house with my flat mates Martha, Izzy and Naomi along with Laura who has become a dear friend (she lived above us in The Coppice).

I can imagine that half of the people reading this are probably frightened of moving away, whereas the other half might be glad to be moving out. But I promise you all, you will love living in student accommodation. The staff here are so helpful, you gain independence and more life knowledge and to top it off you have Freshers to look forward to!

Our online application is now open for students who will be studying with us in 2015/16. If you have any questions about living in halls, why not ask our #BCUstudents on Facebook and Twitter? Use the hashtag to find our students and ask away!

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