Top Tips and Technology to Support Students Living Independently

Blog post by Urvashi Verma (Student Digital Champion)

Banner with Student Digital Champion

As Welcome Week came to an end recently, I hope that you have all settled in comfortably and are getting to grips with your new schedules. This means changing some of your habits and lifestyle to accommodate your university schedule. For a student living independently for the first time, these changes can be even more difficult. From managing money to living with new people, it isn’t always plain sailing. For example, when I started living independently for the first time, I managed to turn all my white clothes into a bright shade of pink!

Through this blog post, I’m going to share with you some useful tips from my own experiences, and especially different apps and technologies that have helped me to feel more comfortable living independently.

Get enough Sleep

Trying to get enough sleep whilst also juggling your life between lectures, assignments and work can be very stressful, and it can take a long time to get used to it. Try maintaining a proper sleep cycle by going to sleep at the same time every night.

Technology: I would recommend a free app called Sleep Cycle: Sleep Recorded.This app will help you record your sleeping pattern, and you can use it to wake you up at just the right time by using an intelligent alarm clock.

Track your spending

Make a budget list for all your expenses, and then categorise these into essential and non-essential.

Technology: Try out Lumio, an app that will help you to add all of your financial accounts and it will also help you keep track of your spending.

Plan your days

Improving your time management skills will help you in all walks of life, not just throughout your time at university. It’s important that you prioritise your work, ensuring also that you allow enough time to complete different tasks. When it comes to those more boring tasks, like doing the dishes, taking out the rubbish, try not to procrastinate and keep the phrase “now, not later” at the forefront of your mind!

Technology: A free app called Clockify (with optional in-app purchases) can help you to keep a track of how much time you’re spending on various tasks during the day. Or you could also make use of your Calendar in your Microsoft Teams app (which you’ll have access to through your AU email and password) to help you plan your day better.

Screenshot of MS Teams calendar to show how it can be used to plan your days better

Get plenty of Exercise

It is essential to look after both your mental and physical wellbeing whilst you are at university. Even a short walk will help you to get some exercise and help you clear your head. You could also take advantage of the wonderful facilities that the University Sport Centre has to offer.

Technology: The Fitnet app will help motivate you to exercise by providing you with over 200 free workout videos.

Keep an eye on your energy usage

Switching off lights is not only good for the environment, but it also helps cut down on your energy bills. As an independent student paying your own bills, cutting down on energy should be one of your top priorities.

Technology: See if your energy provide offers apps for their users, e.g. EDF Energy App, Octopus Energy App. These apps will often let you see your billing history and you will be able to see plot readings for your energy usage.

Learn to cook

Cooking is a valuable skill and learning to do it now will most definitely help you in the long run. As a student, you could save money and eat nutritious food by cooking yourself.

Technology: There are multiple videos on YouTube or LinkedIn Learning that will help you improve your cooking skills, and provide you with tips like how to take less time to produce different dishes.

Set a rota with your housemates

Living with multiple people can be hectic and can sometimes lead to disagreements when it comes to household chores. As a student in Aberystwyth, my flatmates and I followed a strict rota which helped keep our apartment clean. Though everyone might not have the same cleaning standards, a rota gives responsibility to everyone.

Technology: An app that my housemates and I used a lot was Notion.This rotates household chores every week amongst housemates, and you can make a note once you’ve completed your chores.

I hope that these tips will help you to feel more confident living independently throughout the year, and do take a look at my new LinkedIn Learning collection which will provide you with videos and short courses related to the tips mentioned above.

Screenshot of LinkedIn Learning collection cover

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