Getting your child ready for University!

Her Uni room before we filled it with her belongings!!

I packed up Lola and took her off to University last year…. such a huge step! As a Mama, you worry if they’re prepared to fend for themselves – even though they are technically adults!

The summer before she began, we did a lot of chatting about what she’d need to take with her, how she’d balance work and studies, feeding herself and all the other things that she needed to think about. Working together, we put together a list of what we thought she’d need to take – the Uni Checklist on this page from TV Licensing was incredibly helpful!

Writing it all down, I was quite surprised by how much we needed to get together for her – bedding, towels, bathroom supplies and all the kitchen supplies she needed. We started getting it together at the beginning of the summer so we could spread the cost a little! She was lucky enough to have an ensuite in her hall’s room {no sharing a grotty student bathroom!} so we needed to get bathroom supplies too.

Her rent included bills, internet and even contents insurance – the only ‘extra’ thing we had to pay for was a TV Licence – I hadn’t realised until we looked around the halls that each room has to have its own TV Licence- so this is a good thing to think about ahead of time!

In halls of residence, you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you plan on watching live TV in your room. But the biggest benefit for students who buy a licence for the year is that when they go home at the end of the academic year, they can apply for a refund for the unused time! This ensures students only pay for the months that they live away from a family home, provided it is already covered by a TV Licence.

Amongst our chats, we had fun taking part in the TV Licensing Family Quiz. It was a really fun way for me to see just how prepared she really was! As the eldest of five, I was pretty confident she had most of this down.

Round 1 of the quiz had a series of questions that I asked her, ranging from how often you change your bed sheets to whether you need a TV Licence to watch recorded TV. I was impressed that she got most of them right. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or streamed live on an online TV service. And that’s not just the BBC; it’s all channels on any platform and on any device. You also need to be covered to watch BBC iPlayer.

For ‘on which shelf in the fridge is meat typically stored’ she answered on the person’s shelf, while the answer we were given was the bottom shelf – but she knew that in her hall’s kitchen fridge, each student is given one shelf to keep their food on.

Impressed at her readiness to fend for herself, we moved on to round two. This time there was a series of questions for her two answer and me to say what I thought she’d answer! I got a few of them right – and it gave me a good insight into how much thought she’d given already to uni life! If you’re interested, these are the answers to Round 2:

  • What item from home are you most likely to take with you? My record player
  • How many times a week will you call home? Once/twice, depending
  • How many of your lectures will you attend? All of them
  • How long do you spend watching TV shows in a week (in hours)? 2 or 3
  • How would you navigate cleaning halls with housemates? Have a flat meeting and come up with a plan to clean together
  • How much will you budget for food each month? £90
  • What is the first meal you cook at university going to be? Tuna pasta
  • What clubs/societies will you/ did you join in fresher’s week? The Feminist Society, the Socialist Society and the Writer’s Guild.
  • What is your best money-saving tip? Hide the bank card! Or resist the temptation of buying every single thing I may want, put a little money to one side to cover this after buying the essentials.
  • What is your best stress-busting tip? Chewing gum always seems to help me, or a hot shower 
  • If you had a 9 am lecture, what time would you go to sleep the night before? 10:30pm

All good answers – though I think maybe £90 a month is a little low for food!! And 2-3 hours of TV shows may be a slight underestimation! All in all, I was fairly confident when I took her that she’d be able to survive on her own!

The first week in, we had a video call, and daily WhatsApp messages, and heard about successes – starting with her new Brownie Unit, first shift in her new job and her first day of lectures, as well as the not-so-good bits – her flatmates waking her up at 3am the first night, one of them flooding their bedroom, her waking up another night to drunken flatmates breaking glasses.

As hard as it is watching them move out, it’s also really exciting seeing them become their own person. I think maybe it’s harder for the parent to let go than it is for the student to move out!

This post is a collaboration with TV Licensing, but all thoughts and experiences are my own

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