IT'S STUDENT SEPTEMBER! | Students of 2020, Here's What You Need To Know...

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Happy Tuesday, friends!

I hope you've all enjoyed your summer because I hate to break it to you, but it's the start of September, and we all know that September = the start of all things autumn. And although I love summer, I'm not mad about it.

As well as marking the start of the Autumn season, September is also the month that all the students start returning to university in the UK. It's a month full of tough goodbyes for some, and long-awaited reunions for others. 

For the freshers, it's a month full of change, suspense, and excitement...

This is exactly why over the next 30 days, this blog is going to turn into a temporary hub for new and returning students; and I'm calling it 'Student September'. I've lined up a whole host of guest posts covering a huge span of topics all relating to student life and style, from some truly incredible bloggers... and I am genuinely so excited to be able to share this content with you all. 

Seriously, it's going to be so good!

Today I wanted to kick things off by sharing some of the things I've learned (and the mistakes I've made!) during my four-year BA in business management. I graduated with first-class honors in Management this year, after attending the Strathclyde University Business School for four years. And now, I'm just about to begin (what I hope will be) my final year of uni, studying towards a postgraduate diploma in primary education. 2020 marks my fifth year of preparing to go to uni after a long summer holiday, so I feel like I've had my fair share of experience... and I have definitely learned a lot along the way. 

Starting a new semester of university in September can be a daunting prospect whether you're about to begin the first year of your undergraduate degree (like my little brother), or are beginning a postgraduate course straight after graduating from your undergrad (like me), or are going back to uni to study towards a postgraduate course decades after graduating (like my Dad).

Yeah, my Dad, brother, and I are all going to uni in Glasgow this year.

The funniest thing is that my Dad and I are doing really similar courses at the same uni; he's studying secondary education while I'm studying primary.

It's kind of mental, I know.

Having already graduated, I know exactly what it's like to feel like a completely mixed bag of nerves and excitement in the leadup to starting a new course. I remember going on multiple anxiety-driven shopping sprees in the leadup to my freshers year, stocking up on way too much stationery, and stressing out way too much because I had no idea what kind of clothes people wore to uni. 

I actually ended up buying so much stationery that four years later, after having literally graduated, I still have 3 untouched a4 sized notebooks, 2 untouched a5 sized notebooks, and about 5 packets of coloured pens/highlighters that still work, leftover from my 2016 haul. 

You'd think that would be enough for me, but it still didn't stop me from buying a bunch of ring binders and ZEBRA midliners for this year's haul, lol.

For me, buying new stationery before the semester starts has never been just about buying the bare necessities. Every summer ever since I was still in high school, I would save up some money over the summer so that I could splash out on some cute new stationery pieces. It's become a bit of a yearly tradition, and I guess you could say that it's my way of motivating myself to study throughout the academic year. Although I will say this: it's really not the most practical thing to do... and I 100% went overboard in preparation for my first year of uni way back in 2016. 

If I was to give my pre-first year self one piece of advice, it would be to just focus on buying the absolute bare necessities until after my course started. As I mentioned earlier I studied at Strathclyde Uni -which for those of you who don't know, is right at the heart of Glasgow city center- so, I never would have struggled to find somewhere nearby if I needed to stock up on anything.

Also, for all you money-saving gurus, most Academic Diaries go on sale after the unis start back -as do most stationery items- if you can hold out that long!

Oh, and since I mentioned my style-related anxiety, let me reassure you by saying that although I am definitely not the most 'fashionable' gal out there, honestly you can get away with wearing pretty much anything at uni. In my business course, there were some people who dressed up for uni and some people who looked like they'd rolled out of bed and came in their PJs! There were some people who were clearly style-conscious, and others who genuinely rocked up looking like straight-up hippies. The great thing about uni is that you can genuinely just come as you are, be yourself, and nobody will bat an eyelid. 

I had a lot of fun experimenting with a bunch of different looks during the last 4 years of my undergrad... and it wasn't anywhere near as stressful as I had convinced myself it would be. 

One of the most important lessons I learned during my undergraduate degree was to intentionally save money wherever I could. I made the mistake of not doing that in my first two years of uni, and I ended up having to move back home with my parents just before my third year because I couldn't afford to keep my flat... and it all could have been avoided.

There are so many shops and restaurants that offer a student discount, so I implore you to take advantage of them. Also, make sure you check out the sale items when you’re shopping online, especially when it comes to loungewear and dresses. 

Also, make sure you practice budgeting and keep track of how you're spending your money. Budgeting might seem boring BUT I promise it will allow you to have more fun in the long run. 

When I started tracking my budget, I realized how much money I was spending on teas and coffees whenever I was in the library... If I ordered one cup of tea a day, I would have been spending over £12 a week which could go towards a meal out or some nice new clothes. But the thing was, I wasn't ordering one cup of tea a day- I was ordering 2-3! 

To cut that cost down, I started keeping a small Tupperware tub with my favourite tea bags in my handbag so that instead of paying £2.50 for a cup of tea, all I had to do was order a cup of boiling hot water! And as I started doing that, I found out that the Starbucks at my uni's library charged 20p per paper cup, so I started bringing in my own reusable travel mug which allowed me to save even more money.

It might have been a small change, but it ended up saving me around £30 a week.

And obviously, that money was spent on new clothes and going out. 

And finally, last but certainly not least, remember to have fun. For most of you, your time at university will be the most simultaneously exciting and stressful time of your life... and while I know how easy it is to get bogged down in all the stress, I also know how much of a difference it makes when you focus on the excitement.

Take it from me- your student days will pass you by in a flash; and there's nothing you can do to hold onto them. So cherish every moment, and live in the memories you are creating for your future self.

Until next time...

Sara Louisa xo


  1. You are adorable in your pictures - so photogenic! Great article!


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