What’s amazing about the Uni experience is having freedom and independence from living with your parents. But there is a dark side to that freedom, that being the added responsibility of adulthood and taking care of yourself. Fortunately, the University of Surrey makes it pretty easy to be self sufficient with all the adult chores that you’ll have to do, making the dark side not so dark after all. Here are a few of the main responsibilities you’ll encounter and how the Uni helps you out with them.
Grocery shopping: Before starting in my undergrad, I had helped my mom by getting groceries on occasion from a list she had given me. I didn’t realize that creating your own list with healthy food that can sustain you for a week or two could be challenging until I had to do it myself. Once you understand that cooking is basically just heating stuff up and it doesn’t have to be hard, the more stressful part becomes finding the time to get food. Unlike in my undergrad, the local supermarket, Tescos, is in a super convenient location. It’s in between the Manor Park campus and Stag Hill campus, about a 10 minute walk from each. It’s open 24/7 (except for Sundays, it closes at 4, so don’t make the same mistake I did of showing up at Tescos Sunday night with no food for the week) and they have more food options than you know what to do with. If you’re on campus and it’s one of those nights where you’re studying late at the library and realize you ate your last slice of bread and have nothing for breakfast or if you want a late night snack to keep you awake while you study during exam period, luckily for you, there’s Simply Fresh. Simply Fresh is the on campus food store in the same building as the library. Though not as big as Tescos, it has a surprising amount of things you can get for groceries and they have hot and cold lunch options during the day. It’s open until 11 pm most nights which is faaaaantastic.
Cooking: The accommodation on campus offers primarily single rooms (meaning no more sharing a room!!) and unlike the U.S., there’s no dining plan, there’s a shared kitchen. Depending on which band you get (you can choose between bands A, B, C, D, E and F) you can share a kitchen with 14 or 7 people, or even get a private kitchen. The kitchens in Manor Park, where it’s shared between 7 people, are more spacious and have cupboards designated to you based on your room number. What’s in the standard campus kitchen? Well, you have 4- 8 hobs (electric stoves), an oven, 1-2 refrigerators, 1-2 freezers, microwave, toaster, a kettle and a drying rack. There is no sink disposal, but they have a trash bin, compost bin, and different recycling bins, something I very much appreciate as someone who tries to be sustainable. Here’s a link if you want to learn more about the accommodation, though it won’t tell you about the stuff below. The campus also has plenty of meal options from Pizzaman to Young’s Kitchen to Wates House so that if you want a night off from cooking, you can get a decent meal at a reasonable price.
Cleaning: The cleaning varies depending on the accommodation you live in. In Manor Park, where I live, the maintenance staff takes out the trash in the kitchen every 3 days or so, and they clean the kitchen and vacuum the hallway once a week. They won’t clean your dishes for you, that’s your adult responsibility, but it’s still reaallllly nice not to have to scrub down a kitchen that so many other people use. There is a large vacuum left in the corner of the hallway and is free to use amongst the residents whenever. As an undergrad who never vacuumed her floors, I appreciate access to a good vacuum a lot. The rooms have carpeted floors, and the vacuum is strong so it takes less than 5 minutes to rid your floor of lint and crumbs, super helpful! My friends living in Bellerby Court not only get their kitchen cleaned more regularly, they also get their rooms cleaned. In Stag Hill, the maintenance staff cleans the kitchens and the bathrooms every few days.
Laundry: Throughout the accommodation in Stag Hill, Manor Park and Hazel Farm, they have several launderettes where they have modern washers and dryers that work by card, meaning no more quarters! The machines are all the same and are linked to the Circuit website so you can see how many machines are available at your closest launderette and top up on your Circuit card if you run out of money on it. They’re quite cozy too with couches if you want to chill and get some work done or hang out with friends. In the launderette nearest my accommodation, there is also a pool table and vending machines.
Other Adult Stuff: This category includes a bunch of other adult things, some of which can seem overwhelming when you first come to campus while others are issues you’ll face as time goes on. An example of the former would be setting up a phone plan. When you first arrive in your accommodation, you get a little goody box of stuff, one of the items being a sim card with the phone company gif gaf. Gif gaf offers some cheap plans and I’ve found the service to work pretty well. University of Surrey really made it an easy option amongst the midst of other things you have to deal with coming in as an international student. There’s also a Santander bank on campus where they offer a few different account options. If you have things to mail, there’s a post office in the Simply Fresh where you can ship packages and letters in and out of the U.K. There’s also a careers center that can help you look for part time jobs or internships during Uni. For when you have to move off campus for the years following first year, the Uni has accommodation services that can help you find off campus housing. And if all of the stress of living the adult life gets to be too much to handle, the Center for Wellbeing offers free counseling sessions and workshops to help you out. There is also a student mentor that will come around your room once a week first semester to see how you’re doing and be there if you need advice or someone to talk to.
So don’t worry too much about trying to be an adult while also trying to be a good student, University of Surrey can help you with that : )