ACM Student Survival Kit ACM Student Services

This link includes the following information:

  • How to Housemate Well
  • Check yourself as much as you check your instagram
  • A Check List of everything you need when starting University
  • Important Documents
  • Electrical's
  • University Equipment
  • Food Shop
  • Kitchen
  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Bathroom
  • Maintaining Finances
  • Health Care
  • Extras

How to Housemate Well

16 Helpful Tips for being a good housemate:

  1. Communication is huge. You're adults, not mind readers — if something needs to be said, just say it. (Nicely though)
  2. You aren't obligated to hang out together all the time.
  3. Discuss what food, if any, you’re happy to share.
  4. Good friends do not always make good roommates. Good roommates do not always make good friends.
  5. Exchange emergency information with each other.
  6. Communicate HOW you each do things eg Cooking, Cleaning, Sharing bills etc.
  7. Respect everyone else's finances. Pay your bills on time, if you tell your housemates you’re not able to pay the bills on time make sure you’re not going out socialising as well.
  8. Communication is big, but compromising is also key.
  9. Send a text if you are having guests over.
  10. Ask questions like, "If I walk in and you're looking annoyed or upset, what would you like me to do?"
  11. Remember that little habits of yours might not seem like a big deal, but it *could* be something that is seriously irritating to your roommates over time.
  12. It’s easier to accept that people are going to live how they want to than try to change how they live.
  13. Wear headphones. For everyone’s sake, wear headphones...
  14. Always remember that not everyone was raised like you.
  15. Don’t cause a stink, make sure you wash regularly, spray if you need to spray (ahem) and make the house a pleasant place to live for everyone.
  16. Keep things legal, any activity that is against the law will have a negative impact on everyone you live with, be mindful of the effect you’re having on all those you live with.

Should you have any concerns regarding your accommodation please report this to your student hub representative and a member of the safeguarding team will contact you to discuss your concerns further.

Bills, Thrills and Lack of Sleep


It is important to pay rent and bills on time, it is not good practise to wait until the next reminder. Communication with your housemates is key when it comes to dates and amounts needed.

If a housemate is not paying rent or bills or not paying the full amount it is advised to contact Citizens Advice Bureau and check through your contract to see what liability you have, this could be joint tenancy or individual tenancy.

If you have a joint tenancy, you have joint liability and will have to cover the other person’s share of the rent. You may be able to take legal action against them to get back the money they owe you.


We all like to party from time to time, however, it is advised to do this elsewhere other than your shared accommodation. You want to make sure you keep good relations with your neighbours, parties will not maintain this.

Regular nights out will not only have an impact on your health but also on your bank account. Make sure you regulate your nights out and plan times to study in between to manage your work life balance more effectively.

Communicate with your housemates if you’re bringing people back, it is advised that you do not bring people back late at night, not everyone will be in the partying mood.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep can cause a negative impact on your social and emotional health, if you’re causing your housemates to lose sleep then this will put strain on your relationships with them. Be mindful of everyone you live with, place curfews on sound and stick to them, if you’re coming back late make sure you’re quiet.

Being Kind and Considerate

Inevitably you will experience moments of tension within shared housing, communication is key during this time. If your housemate repeatedly does something that negatively impacts your life, be sure to bring it up.

The secret to talking through conflict with a bad housemate is calling them in, rather than calling them out. This means inviting your housemate into a conversation about how you can get along better rather than making one-sided accusations.

“Frame this as a discussion of living policies and how to be a better housemate, and avoid criticising your roommate’s current behaviours,”
“Ask him or her if there is anything he or she would like to change about your living arrangement in order to make the conversation feel more like a discussion, as opposed to a personal attack or complaint.”

By calling your housemate in rather than calling them out, you can make sure they feel respected and invested in making your housemate dynamic the best it can be. By using an approachable and non-threatening tone, students can have a conversation that make both parties feel good.

Check yourself as much as you check your instagram"

Student life can be great. It can also be really challenging.

Do you feel like everyone else is having an amazing time and that you’re the only one feeling low?

The truth is – it’s not just you. Mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, are really common and can improve with help.

Are you finding it hard to concentrate?

Most students have trouble concentrating at some point, but depressed or anxious thinking habits can make them feel worse.

Practical steps you can take:

  • Talk to your personal tutor or another member of staff. You may feel anxious about doing this, but it can be an important first step in dealing with problems.
  • Recognise if you are getting into depressed thinking habits, like perfectionism, self-bullying and all-or-nothing thinking.
  • Learn how to manage your time – many colleges and universities offer help with study skills.
  • Speak to you student hub representative for more information on how ACM can support you.

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Sleep disturbances are not unusual. They can be due to anxiety about your studies, relationships, or health; Not getting enough exercise; eating too much or too little; or working too late in the evenings, amongst other things.

Practical things you can do:

  • Only go to bed when you’re feeling sleepy, and don’t nap during the day
  • Stop using screens half an hour before you go to bed
  • Get some fresh air and exercise every day – a twenty minute walk is a good start

Are you feeling depressed?

Depression can have many causes, including low self-esteem, loneliness, lack of support, family problems or relationship breakdowns. Some people know exactly what has triggered their depression but for others it can be hard to understand why they feel the way they do.

The important thing is to talk to someone about it. Many, many people experience depression at some point in their lives. The good news is that it can get better. You don’t have to go through it alone, so please talk to your GP, a trusted friend or family member or your student hub representative who will explain the ACM counselling service to you.

Are you feeling anxious?

We can all experience everyday anxiety about things like meeting new people or taking exams. However, anxiety might be problematic if it’s intense and frequent; if you feel nauseous or shaky or your heart beats fast; if you feel anxious for no obvious reason; or if it’s very specific, such as persistent anxiety about your health or social situations. Anxiety is very common and help is available so please talk to your GP or counselling service.

Things to use in the moment when anxiety strikes:

  • Learn breathing techniques – these can calm you and help slow down physical responses, such as heart rate.
  • Do some physical activity – to ‘burn off’ some of the stress hormone and distract your mind
  • Tell yourself you will be okay – while it might be frightening, the high anxiety or panic will naturally begin to subside of its own accord
  • Find a safe space – somewhere you can just allow yourself to ‘be’ for a few minutes while you use your breathing techniques

A Check List of everything you need when at University

Important Documents

  • Passport (or other ID)
  • Driver’s license (if you have one)
  • All official university correspondence, including acceptance letter
  • All student loan correspondence (to keep track of when your loan is due, and so you can follow up if necessary)
  • Details of accommodation and contract
  • Bank account details and recent bank correspondence
  • Bank card
  • National insurance card/details
  • Student discount cards (e.g. 16-25 Railcard, NUS card)
  • Insurance documents (for international students, who may be required to take out health insurance)

Note: Keep all these things either in your wallet (ID, bank card etc.) or in a safe place within your room. If you keep all your documents together, you’ll always know where to look.


  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Extension cable/s (more handy than you might imagine)
  • USB memory stick (for backing up important assignments)
  • Desktop printer (with ink and printer paper)
  • iPod or MP3 player
  • Headphones
  • Games console (yes, we’re in the “optional” category now!)
  • A small TV
  • Camera
  • Speakers

Note: With electrical items, be careful to bring only what you know you’ll use. For items such as games consoles and televisions, ensure your reasoning for bringing them is well justified – you don’t really want to be spending too much time alone in your room, do you? Why not see if you can survive the first term without all those home comforts before making up your mind.

If your electrical products are worth more than you can afford to lose, you should consider taking out insurance before going to university. Sometimes student housing is covered by external contents insurance already, but never assume this.

University Equipment

  • Laptop
  • Necessary wires
  • Computer Mouse
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Rubber
  • Note Pad
  • Ruler
  • Pencil Case
  • Calculator

It is best to be well equipped for university, you will be need to take notes and work independently to ensure you meet deadlines and secure the necessary information from all lectures to be able to achieve this. If you have not got the right equipment you may miss out on documenting all information required.

Food Shop

In terms of your first food shop once in your accommodation, don't go too over the top - you have all the time in the world to experiment with recipes over the next year. For now though, keep it simple.

Here are some of the musts when it comes to stocking up your fridge for Fresher's week:

  • Plenty of Fruit and Veg
  • Eggs
  • Bottle of Water
  • Bread
  • Spread
  • Canned Foods - Beans, spagetti, soup etc
  • Pasta & Sauces


  • Frying Pans
  • Cutlery
  • Plates
  • Small Plates
  • Bowls
  • Tea Towels
  • Glasses
  • Oven Tray
  • Washing up Liquid
  • Mugs (set of 2)
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Chopping Board
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Plastic Spatula
  • Peeler
  • Kitchen Scissors
  • Grater
  • Colander
  • Cleaning Sponges

Note: Often, if living in halls or other shared private accommodation, you will already be provided with a kettle and a toaster, as well as some cutlery and crockery. If in doubt about what you can cross off your university checklist, contact your university’s residential services for more details on what will be provided.


  • Fitted Mattress Sheet
  • Duvet Set
  • Duvet
  • Pillow Case
  • Double Pillow Pack
  • Hangers
  • 3 Plugs Extension Lead

Note: Most halls of residences will provide students with standard single-size beds in their first year, but check with your university’s residential services before buying any bedding. Also, the more blankets you have, the better.


  • Casual clothes (t-shirts, jumpers, trousers)
  • Underwear (pants, socks, bras)
  • Dressing gown and slippers
  • Winter coat and jacket
  • Gloves, hat and scarf
  • Shoes (trainers, smart shoes, casual shoes)
  • Smart office outfit (for possible part-time job interviews)
  • Sportswear/swimwear
  • Fancy dress


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Wash bag (especially useful if you’re sharing a bathroom which is a short walk away from your bedroom)
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Razor/ shaving foam
  • Towel (x2)
  • Hand towel
  • Wash cloth
  • Hair brush
  • Toilet roll

Maintaining Finances

  • Bank Account
  • Savings account
  • Research the town / city / local area to your accommodation for part time job opportunities

Health Care

  • Any personal medications and prescriptions
  • Basic first aid kit (e.g. pain relief tablets, plasters, cold and flu medication, allergy tablets, antibacterial lotion or spray)
  • Details of current GP and doctor’s surgery
  • Glasses and prescription
  • Multivitamins
  • Birth control pills and/or condoms

Note: All new university students should register with a local doctor’s surgery early on in university life. This will save you having to wait for hours at a drop-in center filling out forms on the day that you’re actually ill.


  • Sturdy bag (capable of carrying stacks of books)
  • Photographs of friends and family
  • Small sewing kit
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Books for personal reading
  • Films/TV series boxsets
  • Board/card games (e.g. Monopoly, Hungry Hippos or a pack of cards)
  • Hair dryer/ hair straighteners etc.
  • Bike (plus helmet and a strong lock)

If you are still unsure of what to take to university and whether you need to buy anything beforehand, consider going to university with just a very light load. This will make certain you don’t buy anything useless – after all, it will be just as easy to buy what you need once you’re settled in, either on your own or as a group with your new fellow flatmates.