ATAR Notes Member “strawberries” completed her VCE in 2015, and has since moved interstate for uni. If you're confused about anything uni-related, check out Uni Notes.

The best thing about living on campus? How close I am to university. Compared to travelling 40 minutes to get to school, now I can wake up five minutes before class begins, and still be on time. I often come home during the day when I don’t have class – that’s pretty convenient, too! And it’s easier to take part in event happening at uni due to the proximity.

Overall, moving interstate for uni has been a positive experience. If you’re considering it at the moment, here are some things you might like to consider:


The Finances: Costs and Money

One main thing to think about when considering moving away from home is the cost. Moving interstate and living on campus may not be cheap. Do your research, and consider the different types of residences and halls available to you.

It may be cheaper to rent a share house or homestay, but it really depends on what you want, and what best suits your needs. Importantly, there may be scholarships available – especially for financial need situations. And it’s quite likely the case that there are more scholarships relevant to you than you think. Again, doing your research here is important.

Regardless, you may find yourself in a situation where, financially, you’re struggling to get by. It may be difficult sometimes. Based on my own experiences of moving interstate for uni, here are some tips for situations like these:

  1. Plan meals early, and make a shopping list. That way, you know exactly what you’re going to buy and cook. The alternative is finding your fridge empty, and buying expensive takeaway meals.

  2. Sign up to clubs. Some clubs may have a one-off joining fee (usually between $5 and $20). But when events are up and running, there are often free meals for club members.

  3. Try to avoid eating out if possible. Even though it might “only” be $10, it adds up over time! Plus, learning how to cook by yourself can be great fun, and an important life skill.


The Chores: Cooking

If you’ve lived at home your whole life, and your parents have done most things for you, it can be quite difficult to learn to do things yourself. Trust me: it can be frustrating, annoying and tiring. But overall, these things are good life skills to learn – and it’s better sooner rather than later! We can’t expect our parents or guardians to keep doing our chores, or to cook for us. We might as well learn ourselves!

I’ll admit that doing mundane chores can be very time consuming. One thing I’ve found is that it’s best to clean up after yourself straight away. If you’ve finished eating, wash your dishes immediately, and don’t leave them soaking for four hours.

You can sometimes cook your food in bulk, and freeze portions in order to save time later.

If you do decide to move out, make sure you learn how to do chores before you get there. Learn a couple of recipes if you don’t know how to cook. When I moved interstate for uni, I tried to be creative and make up recipes – so make sure you have a general idea of the basics!


The Social Life: Good and Bad

Depending a little on the type of residence you live in, you’ll probably find yourself living on campus with a heap of other students. This is a great opportunity to socialise and meet with other people. You could have study sessions, meet up for dinner – or, just become friends! As with a lot of social things, you’ll probably get out of socialising what you put in – and it’s worth making the initial effort.

On the other hand, it definitely can be lonely. This is especially the case if you’ve moved interstate – away from your family and friends – and are living by yourself. To counter this, try to make friends with the people you’re living with if at all possible. And if you don’t get along so well with those you’re living with, there are bound to be like-minded people studying at the university. It’s just a matter of finding them.


When You Get There

Try to arrive as early as possible in order to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. This includes seemingly basic things, like where the nearest supermarkets are, where Macca’s is, how to get home most easily – stuff like that.

Buy any utensils you need. Do this early.

And also apply for a travel (Myki in Victoria, Opal in NSW, and so on). If you’re going to be travelling a lot, this is even more important.

If you have time, wander around your campus and new area to become familiar with the ins and outs.

Last but not least, enjoy your time at uni! Moving interstate can be daunting and difficult, but it’s certainly a good life experience.