Surviving your first few days as a student

Surviving your first few days as a student

Moving out from your parents’ or guardian’s home is understandably a daunting experience. There’s the issue of making new friends, getting all of your washing done and that’s before we even think about getting to cooking. So, let’s start putting those worries to rest so you can get on with enjoying student life.

Surviving: making friends

Before you move, try and track down some Facebook groups for your halls or course. This will allow you to start meeting people before you move so that you can get stuck in right away.

Make sure to bring some essential friend building items for when you’ve moved in. Good examples of things to pack is anything that gets people involved and talking. Games like Twister are bound to get everyone chatting and laughing as is a pack of cards for more chilled nights in. Something often overlooked is a doorstop, this will keep the door to your flat or room open so that other students can come in and say hello!

Surviving: cooking for yourself

Being able to prepare a meal from scratch is a vital skill that will benefit you in so many ways. Not only can it save you money from buying pre-prepared food, but it’s good for your health and can even be used as a great way to impress someone.

Below we’ve included a recipe for a super simple and delicious pasta with an authentic tomato sauce. It’s budget friendly, beginner friendly (only 5 steps) and even vegan friendly! If you’re gluten intolerant, simply substitute the pasta for your favourite gluten-free pasta alternative.


Ingredients (makes 4 portions)

500g dried penne pasta
1 x white onion
4 x garlic cloves
1 x red chilli (optional)
2 x cans chopped tomatoes
A handful of basil
Olive oil


  1. Get a large frying pan hot (about halfway on the stove) and add a good glug of olive oil to it (should cover the bottom of the pan and a bit more).
  2. Finely chop the white onion and gently fry until completely soft. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Once the onion is soft finely chop the garlic and chilli and fry until you can smell the chilli but don’t let the garlic brown!
  4. Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes and a handful of basil and simmer (should be gently bubbling) until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook the pasta according to the packet. Once ready, transfer all the pasta to the pan with the sauce, stir, add salt and pepper if required and serve!

Have we missed out any tips for surviving being a student? Let us know in the comments.

Remember, we’re always on hand if you need any extra support. Get in touch with your institution’s support team using the details below.

CU Coventry support team:
CU London support team:
CU Scarborough support team: