I think I can safely say I've had ALL the living experiences whilst at uni! In my first year, I was in halls. In my second year, I moved back home to Guildford and commuted and in my third year (which I'm in now) I've been renting privately.
In this blog, I'm going to tell you more about the Headed Tenancy scheme here at Kingston, which I used to find my flat this year. This scheme (which I can't recommend enough) is basically a group of houses which the uni manages and rents out to students. All the properties still have normal landlords, but the uni manages them on their behalf- so essentially the uni acts as the estate agent. There are a lot of benefits to this:
• The deposit and actual rent is A LOT cheaper than going out and finding a flat/house yourself
• All the properties are checked by the uni to make sure they fit with safety standards and have all the furniture a student needs
• The rent comes out in three instalments (like living in halls) and the dates are conveniently set so the money come out after your student loan comes through (yay!)
• You only pay for when you're actually at uni, so most contracts end 5th July. However, if you want to stay in the same place next year (i.e. 2nd and 3rd year) you can extend the tenancy an so won't have to move all your things out over summer
• Any problems that you have (washing machine is broken etc) you deal with through the uni and they are much more helpful and quicker at getting the job done then usual agents/landlords (I assume after hearing a few horror stories from friends.) Of course, I'm sure there are some nice agents/landlords out there! Anyway, the whole process makes it a lot easier for you to sort out problems and so there's less stress and more time for you to enjoy living out.
• One important point to make is that this scheme is NOT available to first year students and all tenants have to be full-time Kingston uni students.
I think this just about covers everything! If you have any more questions about this scheme or anything else about accommodation - such as halls and commuting from home - please do ask me.
I can't believe I've just had my last ever lecture at Kingston Uni! It was definitely a mixed bag of emotions: happy to finally be finishing three hard years of studying law, but also really sad to see the academic side of uni life come to an end. The lecture hall we were in was the same one where we had our first induction in the beginning of first year. I even remembered the exact spot I had sat in those three years ago...where had the time flown?! It was nice to be able to see the all familiar faces of my friends and fellow law students for one last time before we went into crazy exam revision mode. A huge cheer and round of applause was a good way to end not only the lecture (which I'm not going to lie, wasn't hugely interesting!) but the end of an era. Afterwards, my friends and I decided we had earned a well-deserved drink and so off to the SU bar we went :D It was a lovely sunny day and we found ourselves sitting outside sharing our best uni stories- the perfect way to end our week and time at Kingston Hill.
Now all that's left in order for me to graduate is the small matter of exams (haha). It seems to be all I think about, with my finals starting in a matter of days eeek! I'll let you know how they go, but one thing I do know is that this is going to be one crazy May...
Oh, and just to end with a link that is helping me get through my revision. Try these amazingly easy and delicious dessert recipes....after all we do deserve a treat!
As I wait for my last ever student loan instalment to come through (boo hiss sob!) I have decided to dedicate this blog to the all-important issue of money...
Being a student is expensive! It costs £11,000 a year (on average) and most of this will go towards fees and rent. BUT there are ways you can plan your spending in order to have some left over for the fun stuff that comes with the student life. Read on for my top tips:
1. Put pen to paper and make a budget
It sounds really simple and boring, but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to see where you're overspending and where you can cut back if you do this. Start with a sheet divided into two sections headed Income and Expenses and write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to spend money on. Remember to include all the essentials like rent, food, laundry or stationary, alongside the non-essentials such as nights out and birthday presents. The main thing to remember is to only spend what you have! If you don't have enough money to cover your costs, then it might be worth considering a part-time job (see below).
My best advice in terms of cutting down on spending is taking your own lunch and teabags/coffee/hot chocolate to uni. Think about it- a cup of hot chocolate costs roughly £1.20 on campus, but a cup of boiling water only costs 20p. This could save you £5 per week, £20 per month etc!
2. Organise your income
It can be a good idea to put the money to cover your rent or hall fees into a separate account that you don't touch on a day-to-day basis (meaning you won't spend it all before you've paid for your accommodation). That way you know how much you have left to spend for other things during the remainder of the term.
3. Maximise your income- get a job
Four out of ten students have a job while they study. But remember to balance this with your studies (you are here to get a good degree after all!) It's recommended you work less than 15 hours a week in term time. Full-time work in the holidays can be tax-free and good for your CV as well as your bank balance. It's a good idea to look for jobs on campus as the hours are usually more student friendly. Also, think about what you would enjoy doing. If you enjoy partying become a club promoter, if you love shopping in a certain place work there for staff discount, and the list goes on.
4. Get help from uni
Kingston has a specific money advising office, so take advantage of them when you come here. The advice will be free and they can help you manage your money better. You can ask about free student banking, overdraft interest rates and charges and any student bursaries/scholarships they offer.
5. Get a discount
All I can say is GET AN NUS CARD! And ask for student discount everywhere, after all, if you don't ask you don't get.
6. Sell, sell, sell
Get rid of those unwanted textbooks, clothes etc and make money from them! Use websites like Amazon, eBay and Facebook. I've used Facebook many a time to sell the hundreds of textbooks you end up buying as a Law student. My friends make fun of my ‘haggling' statuses, but it makes me happy to help another student save and make some money for myself.
7. Keep tabs on your spending and be cash happy
Bank online and check your account regularly. Also, take out cash from the cash machine for the day/couple of days/week and spend this only! As it can be all too easy to overspend when you use a card and think your money is endless. This is especially useful when you go for nights out, trust me.
8. Try not to panic and enjoy yourself!
We all know money is a stressful issue whilst a student, but try not to worry. As long as you are sensible and plan your spending, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to have fun and make the most of the student life.
Hope this has helped, bye until next time!
Course: LLB Law
Level: Third year
Other information: I came to University straight from school. I am a member of the Law society. I am part of the Kingston University Student Ambassador scheme. I chose Kingston because... The Law School has a very good reputation, with good facilities and the opportunity to study abroad as part of your degree. I also loved the location and Kingston town centre itself, as there's so much to do! I have got to where I am now.... I worked hard during my A-Levels to get the best grades possible, ...