Living away from home 101

Hello! My name is Elena and I’m a second year Business Management student. Today’s blog is all about things you learn to do, or start doing more of at uni.


At Surrey, all accommodation is self-catered. This might be something some people look forward to more than others. For example, I’ve always liked cooking but had never had to cook for myself daily before, so I was quite happy to be able to try out lots of new recipes. I also know of people who either don’t know how to cook, don’t want to do it, or don’t have the time so they end up getting ready-meals or take-outs all the time. That is also good, but if you want to save some money and have the time, cooking might be the best option for you. It can also be really fun!

When you start uni, it may be a bit daunting to have to think about what food to buy and where, and what to make with it afterwards. But fear not! I’m here to help you with that 😊

What Food To Buy

Definitely get some essentials like rice, pasta, salt, pepper, onions, potatoes, tinned tomatoes (which will save you many times) etc. But this is all up to you and what you like to eat! Maybe just make a list of your usuals at home. For example, I know baked beans are a staple for many students, but not for me (I’m not British and my flatmates have not managed to get me to love baked beans or marmite yet – still a challenge for them I guess).

Supermarkets in Guildford

If you’re staying at Manor Park, I’d recommend you go to the big Tescos. It’s only about a 10 minute walk from Manor Park and they’ll probably have everything you need. Get your new flatmates and friends to tag along!

If you’re staying at Stag Hill, you could also go to big Tescos. It’ll take you 15-20 minutes walking, or you could take the bus. But being on campus, you might also want to run to Simply Fresh (on campus, Library building) to grab a few things. Or you might even want to go to town (20-30 mins walk) and check out the other (small) Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. You can also go to Poundland, Marks and Spencer and other stores while you’re there. Guildford has a couple of Farmer’s markets, you can check the times and days they open here.

If you’re staying at Hazel Farm, you’ve got a Costcutter nearby, but you might prefer to go to the Tesco Superstore on your way back to your flat and then get the bus.

For those of you living on campus, or going to lectures on a Thursday, may I present to you the Thursday Market! You can get fruit and veg, bread, pastries, cheeses… and meals from around the world! I hadn’t even been at uni for a week when I craved some food from back home and got some Paella.


I’m sure you may already have your own favourite cooking blogs or cookbooks, but if you’re out of inspiration, check these out:

  • BBC Food
  • Surrey’s Student-run Instagram Account @surreystudent – you’ll get to see different students show what uni life is like for them, and we sometimes post recipes
  • MOB Kitchen
  • Sally’s Baking Addiction


Oh, those little trips to the laundrettes. As part of the Fresher’s experience, I miss them now. It’s something you have to do, and can be fun sometimes. Others not so much. But hey, it’s adulting. And let’s be honest, just another reason to procrastinate and get out of your room.

Surrey’s laundrettes are operated by Circuit Laundrette and WashCo, so as soon as you know which one you have in your accommodation area, download their app to be able to pay. It’s quite easy, you’ll just need to follow the instructions on the app and you’ll be ready to go! I’d also recommend using detergent pods. Much easier when you have to go walking to do your washing.

Taking care of your wellbeing

There’s no sugar-coating this. Uni can be hard sometimes. Life can be hard sometimes. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, it’s okay not to feel okay sometimes. That is why it is super important to be aware of your wellbeing and to take care of yourself and others.

Exercising can help you relieve stress. You could go on a run, follow a YouTube workout video, join one of Surrey’s sports clubs, or if you’re a gym person, go to the Surrey Sports Park at Manor Park.

Mental health is very important. I think I’ve just recently realised how common it actually is to struggle with this, because it isn’t talked about as much as it should be.

Please be kind to yourself. Meditate. Do nothing for a bit. Exercise. Eat some ice cream. Colour some mandalas. Talk with a friend (even if it’s via texts or videocall). If you’re ever struggling with this, please don’t keep it to yourself. Tell someone you’re comfortable with.

Surrey’s got services available to help students with their wellbeing.

I would’ve definitely wanted to know some of these things before coming to uni, so I hope this post was useful.

For ideas as to what to bring to Uni, check out Abi’s blog here.

Until next time,