Lancs Life Hacks: The things they don’t tell you


Obviously moving to a new city and living with strangers (and without parental supervision) is going to come with a lot of new experiences. But over the last few years we have learned a lot, so here are a few to help you navigate your first term at university.

Take an ethernet cable, as reliable as Eduroam is on your phone, your laptop and PC can struggle to work without an ethernet cable. Don’t make the mistake of buying a 60cm from amazon for £8, these are free from all the porters lodges, and simply plug in at the outlet at your desk and straight into your computer (depending on the make and model). Moodle will crash on the first day of term, so while you have decent internet, make sure you download your timetable and anything else you might need from the site. Games consoles also do not work online, you can play privately, but consoles do not have eduroam access so no more animal crossing parties with your friends back home, it will have to wait until Christmas I’m afraid.

Download Unidays, Student beans, and always carry your student card with you. 10% student discount can be used in the big-name shops like New Look, River Island, Ryman etc. but only on full price items. Some stores, however, will ask to see a Unidays ID or code. Many will accept just looking at your student card, but it is always best to have all bases covered, the same way it’s best to ask about student discount. At shops like Waterstones and Superdrug for example, you can get student discount, but only if you have their rewards card, which, nine times out of ten, you can just get the app for. Some shops like Iceland and Bodyshop, do student discount flash events, where for a limited time you can receive discount, usually in the early days of term, but again, always check if these have conditions like minimum spends or exclusions.

Busses are always going to be chaotic during term time, but here is a quick breakdown of the basics. Firstly, get the Stagecoach app so you can track live bus times and buy an under 19s Bay Day Rider (it’s cheaper than a return to town from campus.) The 1, 1a, 41, 42 take a direct route from the underpass, down Scotforth Road to town, whereas the 100 and 4 takes about half an hour and goes around Hala and Bowerham. If you are getting on a bus from South campus, you might want to get on at the Graduate bus stop, to avoid the wait at Cartmel when the diver takes their break. Don’t forget to check where the bus is going by reading the screen on the front, you might find yourself heading to Preston when you wanted to be going into town!

The library is your new best mate, and if you don’t want to spend £100 on books as soon as the student loan drops, then get to the library quick and grab your textbooks. There is a barcode inside each book, all that you have to do is place it on the self-service checkout station, scan your library card and you’re good to go. Put the return date in your calendar for motivation to actually read the book, and so you don’t get ten emails demanding it back when you’re trying to pack up for Christmas.

Housing for second year will quickly be mentioned by members of your flat, and the emails and advertisements will start rolling into your inbox. Don’t rush into anything, there will always be houses, flats, and rooms available. If you aren’t comfortable moving in with a group of people, then maybe it would be a better match to join one of the university’s forums to find new housemates, meet with strangers and take a gamble, in a house, flat, or on campus again. You have to do what feels right for you at the time, and if you want to stay on campus then stay. So many students come back to campus in their third year for ease, there is no shame on staying on campus. Look around any off-campus housing before you move in, and if possible, communicate with the landlord, you don’t want to be caught out with a crumbling house and incompetent landlord.

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