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Loose ends: it’s that time of year

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The blossoms have fallen away, Whitworth Park is awash with green, and it’s time to think about tying up the loose ends of the year.

Many of us still have exams fast approaching, but it is wise not to neglect the more boring, administrative tasks that come with the end of the academic year, lest they fall on you in a horrible flurry of cleaning and bureaucracy at the end of June.

Most houses will have a contract that ends on or around the 30 June, but if you leave everything to be dealt with on the last day, you’re in for a rough one. For those in private housing, getting your deposit back is probably the most pressing thing on your mind when you return your keys, so you should start preparing now to make sure that don’t get rinsed for even a penny of your deposit.

1) Clean

Clean like you’re covering up a crime.

It’s the easiest way for landlords and estate agents to argue you don’t deserve your money back, so don’t give them the out. Start with little bits every day – stretch your legs between study sessions (or Netflix binges) by vacuuming your room, hunt down whatever is making your fridge smell funky, and get in some oven cleaner for all that grease (seriously, it’s a fire hazard).

Anti-bacterial wipes work wonders on wall stains – stains you might not even notice until they’re gone, and the room suddenly looks a lot brighter. A big wodge of blu-tack can be used to round up little remnants on the walls that will get you in the bad books if they’re left behind, because they have to be removed before re-painting. In your next place, try putting a little strip of masking tape on the wall underneath the blu-tack – it stops stains!

If you’re so inclined, getting a professional cleaning crew in to help is a great idea – but lots of ‘cleaning companies’ know that students are in this pinch, and they’ll take advantage of it. There have been many instances in the past of students paying in advance for a cleaning crew to come the day of moving out – and of course, they just take the money and scarper. To avoid this, never pay in advance, and schedule the cleaning for at least a few days before moving so you have wiggle room to sort everything out if the first plan falls through.

Speaking of plans…

2) Have a moving-out game plan

Do you have bags or boxes for all your stuff? Do you have a means to transport it? Where are you going transport it to?

If you or a friend has a car available, then that’s ideal – but if not, you can rent cars or vans to move things. Storage places often have sturdy cardboard boxes that are good for transport. Read T&Cs carefully. Getting mugged off is not a good way to start your next year. There’s often a gap of one or two days between moving out and when you can move into your new place, so having somewhere to keep your things is a must. Friend’s houses, hotel rooms, home (if it’s not too far) – all of these are good options, but leaving them to the last minute to sort out is a recipe for disaster. Hotels are packed with parents coming to help with the move, so if you’re getting one, book early. Get things sorted in advance (i.e., now) and it’ll all be a breeze.

And finally…

3) Enjoy summer, even if things don’t go to plan

Even if your move out goes swimmingly, we all know the other thing on our minds: summer is the time when resits happen, and I suppose you could call them the last loose end of the year!

They happen to loads of people, and they can happen to you. It can be a real wound to the ego, but try to see them as a learning opportunity. You have more time to prep than you did before, so stave off those feelings of nihilism and put yourself to work. Plenty of other people will be in the same boat, probably a few on your course – if you can prop each other up, feelings of morale will work wonders on motivation and performance.

Remember your academic advisor, tutors, and any DASS support you might be entitled to. Asking for help is never an admission of weakness, and it might be more effective than you think.

Above all, spend the summer recharging as much as you can. Next year is going to be brilliant.

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