Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

How I like to prepare for a new term

How I like to prepare for a new term

Hello everyone!


Happy first of September! If you’re a fresher staying in one of UCB’s student accommodation buildings, it means you’re probably moving in this weekend. If you haven’t packed already (what are you doing?!) then fellow UCBlogger Jade has done a great post with a list of all the things you will probably need.


I’ve decided to write this post that I hope would be useful even if you’re already at the Maltings/Cambrian Hall. It’s a list of things that I like to do before the start of a new term (not just in September) to get organised and sort out little admin/general life bits.

My monthly overview

Firstly, I like to make sure I have all of the important term dates written down somewhere I’ll regularly check. This will either be in my bullet journal or during induction, you’re usually given a sheet of paper with a whole academic year on which I’ll stick on my pin board. I’ll then highlight anything important and this really helps me to get in the uni mindset after such a long summer holiday. As you can see, my September monthly overview is quite empty at the moment, but it will soon fill up with events and deadlines. I like to keep track of them there and colour code them based on what category I’ve put them in. A normal planner will work just as well, but I like how a bullet journal can be customized (see here for more details).

Then I make sure I’ve got all of my important documents all in one easy place. I have a folder which I’ve nicknamed ‘important grown-up things’ which has different sections for different documents. I have a section for identification (passport, birth certificate etc), jobs (national insurance number, P45, P60, contracts, my CV and covering letters), education (exam certificates, uni results and letters from UCAS) and other sections for my phone bill, banking paperwork and anything else that’s important to keep in a safe place.

Folder for grown-up stuff

On a similar note, I also like to make sure I have all of the stationary I need ready. I will usually use one folder per module and then one notebook that I take to every lecture that I can tear pages out of to then put in the corresponding folder. This is a lifesaver when it comes to assignments and exams as you can be confident that everything you need is in one place and you don’t have bits of paper scattered around your room. Below is a selection of folders that I’ve had over the years. My favorite places to buy them from are Paperchase (love that 10% student discount) and Wilko- I shopped in the children’s section for that Marvel one.

Folders from over the years!

If you want pretty notebooks, you can go to lots of shops to buy them but I made the one below by just buying a really cheap supermarket own-brand notebook and covered it in this comic book wrapping paper (I’m a bit of a fan of Marvel Comics) that was also really cheap from the supermarket. Just a bit of sellotape and voila- a cheap but pretty notebook ready for lectures.

DIY notebooks – easier than you think

One of the last things that I like to organise is my dinners. I only started doing this properly in second year but it made budgeting so much easier. At the beginning of every month I plan what I’ll have for dinner every night of that month. This really helps me organise my food shop and write lists so that I don’t overspend and it also means that I can plan which dinners I can make in bulk to freeze and defrost for another day.

I hope this has been helpful! I find that the more organised I am for a new term, the better start I usually have. I’m really looking forward to moving back to Birmingham next week to start my final year and I hope you first years enjoy freshers!

All set!


Until next time,


Ellie x

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