It all now seems such a distant memory, sitting within the walls of my college tutor room, watching the rain trickle down the window on a cold October morning. I was tirelessly adjusting my personal statement impatiently wishing the year away. After months of constantly refreshing my emails anticipating communications from universities, updates to my UCAS Track, working hard to get my grades and move to a new city…I am now officially counting down the days before starting Plymouth University to study BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy!
The journey to this moment is so vastly different for us all, and we must remember every bump in the road because it has contributed to getting us here - the endless pages of student finance and having UCAS on speed dial were worth it after all. University open days, interviews (the scariest part in my opinion) and looking around potential new homes were all part of the path – and HOORAY for stationery shopping!
New experiences always inevitably bring conflicting emotion all at the same time– excitement, nerves, anxiety and anticipation – Which societies shall I join? Will I make friends? How will I find my way around? I can’t wait for Freshers! I can’t possibly eat well on that budget…
I can hold my hands up and admit that amongst my absolute delight and shock that I had a confirmed place on my chosen course, I had moments of serious panic about finding time for everything, and utilising my budget to make every penny count. At 24, I have been in full-time work since school so have been used to budgeting on a monthly basis, and would have more than what a student loan will cover. Students of all ages and backgrounds will need to make alterations to how they have been living, and one way I believe we can change and save (without sacrificing or ‘missing out’) is by looking at how and what we eat.
Let’s face it, after a day of lectures/working/commuting/battling with the never ending washing pile, it at first appears more tempting to grab a (not-as-cheap-as-it-first-seems) take-away or skipping the meal entirely (not ideal, especially if you’re heading out for the night). And despite popular myth, not all students live off cereal.
My love of cooking started from a very young age, but after working in both the fitness and health industries I combined my sports nutrition knowledge with my love of good food to keep up with the changing demand in our lifestyles. Faced with a smaller budget, I have looked at simplifying my everyday recipes and shopped smarter as we need fast, fresh, fun food that is healthy on the mind, body and purse.
I am also undertaking the experience as a first year student living away from home in rented accommodation within the city; I would love to share my thoughts on the journey as and when it all happens. One of my hobbies is writing, something that I have done since I was a young child scribbling away in my room, to studying A-Level English Literature. So the opportunity to blog about my experiences at university, my love for food and cooking on a budget is one that I would very much like to share with you all.
I hope to provide a little insight into making meals for around £1 (my chickpea curry costs under 50p a serving, and lasagne 70p per serving) and would like to inspire other students to live well and give their body and brain what it needs when studying. I also emphasise the importance of breakfast, and as a fellow student, I understand that sometimes you want an extra 10 minutes in bed or have studying to do, so rely on my trusty overnight oats to fall back on.