Top tips for before and starting university

Hi everyone and welcome.

Starting university can be so daunting! I started back in January 2018 and how time flies, it’s scary haha. I want to make your transition into university as smooth as possible by giving you some little tips and some personal advice (everyone is different, and you may have different advice to give to new students in the future). This is mainly aimed for student nurses but a lot of it is also applicable to other courses too. I did a blog on Essentials you might need as a student nurse have a look, I hope it’s useful to someone.

Firstly, before you start:

  • Have you completed your DBS?
  • Have you applied for your student finance?
  • Have you had your occupational health appointment? (If you already have healthcare experience you may have had all of your vaccines, check with your work place). But please don’t worry about this appointment, it’s just to make sure you are fully vaccinated to go out into placements. It can also be a Chance to talk about any health concerns you have and anything the university can help you with.
  • Do you have your start date? If not, call your admissions team and find out just in case there’s a technical problem (I had this sadly and missed my induction week).
  • Have you submitted all your certificates to show your results? (Different universities might do different things, so ask and don’t assume they have them automatically).
  • Have you got everything you need? Pens, paper, folders, books, bags, shoes, fob watch?


  • On your first day, if you don’t know anyone don’t worry! There will be so many other students there who are feeling exactly the same as you are. If you spot someone alone, go say hi! Break the ice 🙂
  • Your first week, maybe even the first month, is going to feel very overwhelming with the amount of Information you’re going to get. They will be telling you everything there is to know about your uni and to get you started. Just take this time to adjust to your new life for the next 3 years. Don’t panic and don’t stress, everyone in that room is in this together.
  • You will be given your person tutor who you can go to for help and advice. This will be you first point of contact. When you find out who yours is, drop them an email to introduce yourself and say hello. They will be giving you your reference when you qualify so they are about to become your new best friend haha.
  • Attend your mandatory sessions; basic life support, manual handling, information governance (whatever your uni advises). Without these you can’t go out onto your placement, so try and make the sessions to avoid a delay.
  • Download your yearly timetable and assignment planner, print them, laminate them, keep them safe. This will help you know what exams and assignments come first and what to prioritise.
  • Following that, stay organised. Know where you are supposed to be, what you’re supposed to be completing for which deadline. Mark them on your Calendar so you can see where you’re at.
  • Read your university emails each day. Because you might miss some important information, and this is usually the main point of contact to you from the uni (depending where you are). I have synched my uni emails to my personal emails now on my mobile apps so that I get the notifications.
  • Make the most of events around your schedule. Take a look at what’s on at the uni and what societies you might be able to attend to keep you motivated and interested.
  • Take some time out for you! Don’t overdo it. Always keep a day free for yourself, friends and family. You’ll need this to recharge those batteries or you run the risk of burning yourself out!
  • Take time to adjust to university life and don’t worry about how long this takes you. It took me a good couple of months to finally settle down and find my feet. That’s natural 🙂
  • Sign up to twitter! I wish someone had told me this at the start. You will have such a fantastic community of nurses and students around you to support you and give you advice when you need it. It’s fabulous. Also, there are so many big companies like the NHS on twitter! It’s a great place for resources and information too. However, I know twitter isn’t for everyone. This is just my personal love – I am a twitter addict.

I have just added this small part, a fantastic piece of advice from:

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 13.20.47

Your first placement:

  • Call them up a couple of weeks before starting.
  • Arrange a visit before you start (this will let you see what the area is like and put your mind at rest before your first day).
  • You’re a first-year student nurse, first placement, please don’t panic if you don’t know anything!
  • Take a little pocket notepad and pen and make notes as you go.
  • Also, what’s really good is the BNF app on your phone. It’s free and this is your bible for the rest of your nursing life. There are printed books on the wards to look at but sometimes they are hard to get a hold of. Also go and ask your local pharmacy if they have any spare ones to give you, they will do this for free (tell them you’re a student nurse / medical etc).
  • Remember that you are going to be out there in the real world, it is very busy! So, don’t get disheartened if your mentor is really busy seeing their patients. You will more than likely have a buddy healthcare assistant (HCA’s) who will become your best friend over your first placement. Mentors like you to go and learn from the HCA’s because they are so valuable and knowledgeable! You will learn so much from them.

And that’s about it to get you started! If anyone else reading this, has any tips and advice put them into the comments and help some students out 🙂 But feel free to message me anything and I can help where I can.

Have a great week everyone! 

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