5 Non-Fiction Books to Read For Starting University

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Going to university can be an incredibly daunting task, especially when combined with the added challenges created by the pandemic. University involves adapting to change, taking on new responsibilities, and learning to be truly independent for the first time. Reading is a large part of many university courses, so more reading might not seem like the most appealing option. However, one or all of these books might offer some useful advice, tips you didn’t know about, or easy recipes that will make your uni life better. So, here are 5 non-fiction books you might want to read before starting or returning to university: 

The Ultimate University Survival Guide: The Uni-Verse 

By Jack Edwards

As the title suggests, this is the ultimate guide for anyone anxious about starting university. This has everything you might want to know about uni: from picking a course to choosing your dissertation topic, knowing the difference between seminars and tutorials, packing lists, and feeling homesick. There is also a basic survival guide that details how to budget, pay rent, and not poison anyone the first time you cook. It’s the ideal guide for Freshers but would benefit students at any year of study. It’s written by Jack Edwards (StudyTuber and recent Durham graduate) and also features some other guest contributors.

Taking Up Space 

By Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi

Taking Up Space is a must-read book to learn about the experiences of Black women and non-binary people at university. It focuses on a range of essential topics: barriers to education, mental health, the whiteness of academia, and finding and creating spaces at university. Written using a combination of the authors’ personal experiences, interviews with their friends, and statistical evidence, it offers a comprehensive overview of the challenges Black women and non-binary people face at university. It focuses specifically on Oxford and Cambridge, but represents the broader educational system, and is a highly informative read.

Life Skills: Stuff You Should Really Know By Now 

By Julia Laflin

Whilst this book isn’t specifically marketed towards university students, it is geared towards anyone that hasn’t quite grasped essential life skills: such as using an iron, boiling an egg, and public speaking. It is a helpful guide for learning how to ‘adult’, and is something you can call upon whenever you get stuck and your parents aren’t picking up the phone!

The Adulting Manual 

By Milly Smith

This is another guide to ‘adulting’ and focuses on life skills, but also self-care, mental health, and acceptance. Moving to university can be exceptionally challenging and will likely take a toll on your mental health, so this book serves as an interactive journal to work through as and when you need it. The Adulting Manual is filled with beautiful illustrations and is written by mental health advocate Milly Smith.

Nosh for Students

By Joy May

Nosh for Students is the #1 student cookbook and is essential for anyone going or returning to university, especially whose cooking skills consist of microwaving ready meals and making beans on toast. All of the recipes are simple and come with a photo so you know what it should look like by the time you’re finished. The cost of each recipe is also added, making it easy to budget. The author, Joy May, has also produced student cookbooks titled “Vegetarian Nosh for Students”, as well as gluten-free and vegan cookbooks that aren’t specifically geared to students but will be helpful for anyone with extra dietary requirements.

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