Top tips for being independent

Starting at university can be a daunting time for lots of people as it will be the first time that you will be completely independent with things such as living, working, studying, and travelling. Not to worry! Here are some top tips for being independent at uni

Managing money

One of the first things to do when it comes to managing money is to work out how much you actually have in the first place! Then you can work out how much you NEED to spend and then you can work out how much you have leftover for other things (like the fun non-essentials!)

Finding the cheapest supermarket is one of the most important things, because, at the end of the day, you need to eat! Luckily the closest supermarket to campus is Morrisons, which is super affordable! Once you’ve bought things from the shops, don’t forget to store things so that they last, freezing things like bread and vegetables is a great way to start – you will learn the best methods of buying and storing food as you go along (and there are some brilliant tips and tricks over on Student Life if you need more help!)

Don’t forget the university can help you if you are struggling with managing your finances – check the page out here.

Cleaning & laundry

Cleaning is something that can be shared super easily between your flat/housemates. It is as easy as creating a rota or agreeing between everyone what each of your preferred cleaning area is. Pick up some basic cleaning products during your weekly shop – you don’t need to spend lots of money, own-brand cleaning products are just as good as branded ones! Here are my go-to products to have in my cleaning basket:

  • Thick bleach (39p from Morrisons)
  • Multi-purpose antibacterial wipes (£1 from Morrisons)
  • Antibacterial spray (79p from Morrisons)
  • Bathroom cleaner spray (79p from Morrisons)
  • Household gloves (£2 from Morrisons)

When it comes to laundry, sharing washing loads with flatmates can be a really good way of saving money and the environment! Also investing in a clothes airer is much cheaper than using the tumble dryer (and again much more eco-friendly) – this one is only £10 from Argos!


Organising and cooking meals for yourself can seem a little overwhelming at first. Grab yourself a simple recipe book or ask for one for Christmas, and get cooking! This one is really good as it tells you all the absolute basics and tells you how much it will cost per person! I have the vegetarian version of the same one and I love it.

Check out my meal plan article and my ‘day in the life‘ for ideas too!

Making friends

Making friends in a whole new environment can be pretty worrying, but there are plenty of opportunities for meeting new people throughout university. Whether it’s during lectures or seminars, social events organised by societies or meeting people on nights out, there’s always the chance to make a new friend! Check out my last article for tips on socialising and making friends without going ‘out out’!

Staying Safe

If you’re walking alone, keep an eye out at all times – it is best to not use headphones so you can be fully aware of your surroundings. Download personal safety apps like HollyGuard, as these act like a personal safety alarm on your phone. You can also share your location with friends and flatmates via Snapchat maps or Find My Friends. Having useful phone numbers written down on a piece of paper in your pocket may also be useful in case you lose your phone.

Similarly, it is a good idea to let family and friends know when and where you are travelling if you’re going somewhere, e.g. let them know what time your train is leaving/arriving when travelling to and from Lincoln.

All areas of the campus are monitored by the Security team, including CCTV and fire systems – so there is support on campus if you need it and you can phone the Security team if you need their help.

Don’t forget to lock your front door on your way in and out!


The jump from studying at school/college to university is huge in terms of independence. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t support available.

Get together with people from your course and revise or discuss work, contact your module coordinators or personal tutor for support if you need it, or book a session at the library for help with library services – there are always people to help, even if uni is a lot about independent learning – don’t forget the academic support services available at the university too.

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