Read, prepare and relax; then read some more…that’s my short and sweet answer.
But once you’ve accepted your Clearing place you’ve probably got just under 4 weeks until you start so there’s no time to sit back and relax, well maybe there is on the night you accept to celebrate with a cheeky glass of wine. Here’s what I did with a few little tips thrown in.
I asked Ed (Ed Tolhurst, my course leader) for some advice on what to read and what books to buy for the course. He emailed me a course handbook so I could get up to speed with what was going to happen, I also got a timetable of welcome week which was helpful and roughly what days I would be in so I could arrange childcare for at least the first week.
Tip: Ask for your Welcome Week timetable – this will let you know when you’re on campus during your first week so you can sort things like Childcare.
There was also a list of advised reading for before the course started, now this was handy and helped me out, it was especially useful as I was starting something new so it got me used to some of the terminology that was going to be used. This helped put some of my nerves at bay as after all I knew as much as the others now – well read the same literature anyway. Along with this list was the core textbook I needed for the first year. Now this was helpful! I was able to source and by most of them before the course started.
Tip: If you’re going to buy your books look for second-hand and even in Charity shops – this can save you loads and could mean money going to a good cause.
I tried as best I could to plan my route into university and to plan for bad things happening eg if I was on a school run, or the car suddenly packs up. Living local I had an idea of what buses to get to the university, but I did double-check on times and did also have to get a bus to the town centre to get a bus to uni, so I checked on this bus time too. Traffic can be your worst nightmare so its worth setting out early all the time.
Tip: Get your car checked so that you can rely on it, but also check the bus times and what buses you might need to catch.
Tip: Get all of your documents ready, as you will need them for your application – check out the Student Finance England website for more information.
Then I started with Student Finance England, being completely honest it wasn’t too bad. When you take a big deep breath, its pretty straightforward. Now I had to get replacements and this delayed the process, but if you’ve got to call them then try to be patient, there’s likely to be queues due to how many people will be in the same position as you during Clearing. If you need help or advise there are plenty people on campus to help you, don’t let it get out of hand, drag on or let it stop you coming to uni.
Finally I went shopping. So I at least looked the part, well I thought I did! I brought flat shoes and comfy clothes…gone had my stilettos and pencil office skirt suits – YES! although if you want to wear them then wear them, no one will mind. I brought a new pac-a-mac in case of the weather, and a new bag for my new pac-a-mac! pens, pencils along with other stationery. For ease I brought different coloured A4 note books for each module and I quickly learnt to invest in decent cases for my phone, iPad/tablet and laptop. Within a month I had dropped my laptop, iPad and phone, only my laptop came out of it alive.
Even though I did all this nothing prepared me for returning to education, all the highs, a few lows and lots of fun and excitement. It’s an amazing shock to the system and I hope to see you all here soon tell me about it 🙂