University life is fantastic, but also know first hand that it's not plain sailing and can be a struggle at times to get through the day.
We've been working on this survival guide for weeks as we really wanted to create a big but concise guide you can use to help with your every day student life.
From food shopping to retail, eating to drinking, phone contracts to car insurance and everything in between... we've got it covered.
We're sure you're used to your parents being protective, telling you something along the lines of: ''text when you're home'' ''be safe'' and ''put a jacket on, it's freezing outside!''
Its a proven fact that although crime rates are falling, 1 in 3 students will be a victim of crime whilst studying at College or University. It is a very daunting statistic but information such as this is released so you know how to keep yourself safe!
Living with several people where your house is littered with expensive goods can be an easy target. Make sure you lock up, even if you'e only going down the corridor or local corner shop.
Stay together in groups. Walk to the club together, get a taxi back together, know your surroundings and choose sensible walking routes that are well lit and popular with locals.
Carry a personal alarm or enable the 'Emergency SOS' on your iPhone. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, calling the emergency services is a must. By enabling this feature and dragging the Emergency SOS slider, it will call 999 for you. Equally if you hold down the lock and volume button at the same time it will activate a countdown timer and automatically call them discreetly.
Carry a travel light (to easily check that all your valuables are in your bag where you left them!)
Other important tips you should take in to account...
- Create a list of possessions (models, makes, receipts and serial numbers encase you loose valuables)
- Record a written list of things you may need in emergencies such as your passport, bank details, contact details etc.)
- Keep memory sticks in a safe but familiar place and ALWAYS back your work up on to them just incase your laptop/computer breaks.
- This one mainly applies to Freshers but if you can, grab a map of campus so you know how to get to and from your lectures or the SU.
- On a night out you need to be aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times. Spiking drinks does happen and can leave you open to sexual assult. For more information visit: www.drinkaware.co.uk
- Check out NUS Student Survival Guide here full of information for international students, cyber crime, rent and more!
Chester is a hub for retail and food shopping, with many tourists flocking to the city at weekends for breaks away to see what it has to offer. In the centre there's a variety of mainstream unisex shops on Northgate and Eastgate Street such as Topshop, Topman, New Look, Primark, Lush, Mountain Warehouse and many more. Not to mention the Grovesnor Shopping Centre and The Forum which are both indoor shopping outlets.
If you haven't got an NUS card already, it's definitley worth the investment! With 1, 2 and 3 year cards available starting from £12 you get at least 10% or over off at some of the top retailers including extras such as National Express, ODEON and Pizza Express... get the most of these discounts to budget your student loan in the best possible way! Click here for more information.
The beauty of Chester however is there's the rows and loads of little secret streets to be found all across the city featuring smaller, gems of shops. For example, Lily Vintage, The Hat Place, Joules, Inked Up, Harriet and Dee an Lee Louise. The shops sell everything from cute little trinkets at reasonable prices, to hats for the races and vintage clothing.
If you're looking to spend some £££ on designer labels at a more affordable price, Cheshire Oaks is the place you really should visit. It's a quick 10/15 min drive from the city centre or a 30 minute bus journey with a return ticket at just £4. Enjoy up to 70% off at top labels such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Cath Kidston and many more. Cheshire Oaks is massive and is especially popular around Christmas as prices are slashed over half price. You'll leave feeling satisfied at all of the amazing offers across the outlet (Our part-time colleague recently bought a gorgeous Ralph Lauren jumper for £17 down from £60!)
3. Phone Contracts
Phone contracts are what most mobile phone users pay for nowadays, but can really take a toll on a students' back account especially with food shops, bills and standing orders added on top of your monthly fees.
We've done some digging and the websites listed below are totally legitimate and offer ridiculously good value for money deals. For example, on direct mobiles they offer an iPhone 6 contract with no upfront cost for just £15.99 a month! Crazy, right? (These deals have been tried and tested as one of our employees went through them and is paying a similar price for her iPhone. It came with free next day delivery and in spanking new condition.)
We found this information and websites curtosey of comparethemarket.com, click here to view the search results!
Similarly, if you're on a sim-only deal and paying over £10 a month, you need to ask yourself why. With prices having dived recently, there are plenty of packages out there that offer a decent minutes, data and texts for less. For example, Giffgaff offer 250 minutes, 1GB data and unlimited texts for just £7.50.
Ofcourse there may be reasons for you paying above and beyond the average, including paying off the cost of a handset, having the latest new handset, getting unlimited everything or roam abroad- but there may still be cheaper options out there for you to take a look at.
For extra phone advice and help, take a look here
4. Are you struggling?
Sadly, mental health issues have become a growing problem for many University students. Maybe just sad feelings or home sickness, whereas others can suffer from more serious issues such as depression or anxiety which can effect your studies and general functionality on a daily basis.
Overall 1 in 4 students will suffer with these difficulties during their time in uni, with women and LGBT being the highest percentage. It currently stands at 45%.
''Perhaps unsurprisingly, study is the primary cause of stress among students. Seven in ten (71%) say that work from university is one of their main sources of stress. The next biggest concern for students is finding a job after university (39%), followed by their family (35%). Jobs and relationships (23% each) and friends (22%) account for the majority of the other sources of stress.'' (Credit: YouGov.co.uk)
Fortunately, Universities have services available such as counselling. This gives you the oppertunity to get your feelings off of your chest in a completely confidential and trusting environment. To apply for help, all you need to do is head over to Student Welfare at Binks Building 1st floor on main campus or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query.
It can be hard to reach out for help or admit that you're struggling but we all go through it at some point in our lives, and these services are in place to help.
Student welfare can also help with financial difficulties, home sickness, understanding academic procedures and anything else you may be concerned about. Take a look at the Universities' welfare page here
5. Entertainment/food and drink
Telfords Warehouse is a student favourite music and arts venue.
Attracted by it's friendly staff, large open bar and beautiful decor featuring exposed timer beams, high ceilings and big glass windows overlooking the tranquil River Dee, students flock to this venue as it gives you a real feel of sophistication (without burning a whole in your pocket).
As you enter the ground floor, you're greeted by a intimate seating area with bar. Take your pick from a variety of wines, cask ales, ciders, spirits or soft drinks and many more. The ambient lighting and views make Telfords a great spot to have a few cocktails with friends, then perhaps have a dance towards the back of the venue on the dance floor, where acts perform every week.
Upstairs there's an art gallery and restaurant, which prides itself on providing locally sourced and fresh ingredients daily at an affordable price.
So no longer do you have to wonder about where to go on a Friday or Saturday night, as Telfords is offering free entry for our premium tenants! Just show your key fob on entry to take up this offer.
Many students have heard of this one. Revolution, or otherwise known as 'Revs' has been a student favourite for years.
A bar, restraunt and party venue renowned for it's wacky vodka flavours such as Love candy, Birthday Cake, Rocky Road, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Dandelion and Burdock and even Tiramisu! It's definatley a fun place to experiment with different tastes and try something new whilst enjoying the music and vibrancy Revs has to offer.
Their food menu is fair priced and vast, featuring burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, mains, sharing platters, sides and deserts.
Our premium tenants can get brilliant bargains such as 2-4-1 on selected cocktails, £6 for a 6 shot stick, £2.50 pints, 2-4-1 on pizza and 50% off food on a Wednesday plus much more! Just show your CSL keyfob to make the most of our unmissable offers!
If you don't want the full busy club experience, this is a great medium between a relaxed and dance vibe.
Ofcourse we can't write a blog about Chester nightlife hotspots without mentioning one of the most popular clubs in the city.
Thousands of students flock to Rosies to enjoy the variety of music spread across 4 floors and events that take place on a weekly basis all throughout the year.
#HASHTAG every Friday brings you the biggest PA's and best DJ's from across the UK. To just name a few in the past that have come to party: Love Island cast members, the Chuckle Brothers, Cascada, Charlie Sloth, Reggie and Bollie and Scotty T. Also it's 50% off drinks before 11pm!
Open midday - late most nights, they have a self-proclaimed 'imaginative' menu and big musical scene. Located in Rufus Court just by Off The Waffle, Alexanders has been around since all the way back in 1991.
Weekly open mic and comedy nights are held, with the addition of live bands coming to perform in an intimate setting just metres away from where you're sat.
Our lovely friends at Alexanders are offering CSL premium tenants a discount for their own beers at just £2.80 per pint!
Also set in the heart of Chester city centre, Cruise nightclub features 6 themed areas and brings together a hideaway of luxury and stylish rooms with bars, as well as 3 full floors of music.
One of it's busiest days of the week is Quids In, with entry on the guestlist at a bargian price of just £1 before 11:30pm. Other deals include smirnoff and mixer for £2 all night and other discounted drinks.
Star studded events have taken place in the club, most recently an episode of ITVBe's the Real Housewives of Cheshire filmed there!
Other celebs that have attended are the likes of the Hollyoaks cast, Georgie Porter, Kem from Love Island, Vicky Pattison, Basshunter and Jay Hutton from Tattoo Fixers.
For more information, visit their website here.
We really hope this mini survival guide gave you some help and insight into student life!
Please feel free to like our social and share our page to your friends @chesterstudents
Thanks for reading