Thursday, 6 August 2015

Student | What to pack for your first year at University!

You can never be too early to start planning for university and this time 2 years ago I was scanning the internet for helpful advice on what to take! Of course there will be something you forget – I arrived with a suitcase full of clothes but no coat hangers for example – but advice from former or current students can be a massive help all the same. I’ve assembled this massive list on what consider when packing for university from memory and my own experience (I lived in self-catered, en suite accommodation).

Some helpful advice before you start packing:
1. Check what your halls or accommodation provides/includes. E.g. if you are catered you’ll probably need less kitchen equipment that a self-catered person 
2. Aim to pack as light as possible as student rooms are quite small with minimal storage
3. Don’t spend a lot of money on new pots/pans/duvets as many of these things won’t survive the first year of Uni! Basic/Value ranges from places like Argos or Supermarket usually have a great selection of cheap student friendly items!

Read on for everything a first year could want to take with them!

The one place that you can call your own (even then someone might just invite themselves in anyway!)

1. Essentials.
We'll start with the obvious but most important things: 

Bedding - duvet covers, a duvet, fitted sheets, pillows and pillow case and a mattress protector (seems non-essential now but you’ll understand after your first night I promise)
Laundry (please don't leave all your washing for your mum to do!) - wash basket, clothes horse, washing powder/detergent/conditioner (buy when you get there), clothes hangers. 
Others – alarm clock, a lamp, a mirror, a bin, a door wedge (infamous fresher trick: keep your door open during the first few weeks so you get to know your housemates much quicker!)

A picture of my second year bedroom - a lot cuter than my first!

2. Non- (but nice) essentials. 
Fairy lights, posters and photos all add a homey touch to the plain magnolia walls in student rooms, whilst cushions, blankets and candles will create a relaxing atmosphere. Storage boxes and under bed storage would be a handy addition too.

They’ll be a whole blog post dedicated to making student rooms homely in the next week or so!

3. Clothes
I’m not going to sit and reel off a list of clothes you need to take but just think logically about what clothes you wear and will need. Planning on being active? Take your sports kit! Planning on sitting in your PJs and watching Netflix all day (i.e. reality) take loads of pjs and comfy clothes!

Another great tip would be to start collecting fancy dress bits and bobs – if you’re doing University right you’ll be using them a lot!

I was lucky enough to have a room with en-suite but not a lot of students have that luxury so be sure to check before you pack!

Life saver!

1. En-Suite essentials
Personal items Towels (bath and hand) a wash bag or bathroom caddy, tooth brush/paste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, razor, shaving cream and whatever else you use! You’ll probably have to supply your own toilet roll, soap and bath mat if you have your own bathroom too!
Cleaning products(usually your room is cleaned weekly but I still liked to have my own products) - bleach, anti-bac spray, toilet brush, air freshner.

2. Shared bathroom - a wash bag with personal items listed above in (keep your things together), toothbrush/toothpaste, towels, flipflops (if the showers are grimey). 

3. Medicine and other – any prescribed medication, paracetamol, ibuprofen, cough medicine (for that lovely fresher’s flu you will contract), antiseptic cream, plasters, contraceptives.

A great tip is to start stocking up on medicine, shower gel and essential items whilst you still live in the comfortable bosom of your parents! I bought a couple of items each week leading up to moving out and hardly had to buy any of these annoying expensive items during my first year!

Kitchen essentials will differ to what accommodation you’re in! Even if you’re in fully catered accommodation I would still highly recommend you take some kitchen equipment with you as there will probably be some nights where you cannot stomach the stodgey halls food!

A taster of what your kitchen may look like. Health and safety please look away now!

1. Self-Catered – 
Preparing – Chopping boards, knives, tin opener, bottle opener/cork skrew (number 1 freshers’ week essential), pizza cutter, scissors, veggie peeler, cheese grater, measuring jug, colander,
Cooking – Saucepans, frying pan, baking trays, wooden spoon/spatula
Crockery – Small/Large plates, bowls, cutlery, mugs/glasses
Storage – storage boxes, tin foil, cling film (buy there)
Cleaning – anti-bac, kitchen roll, kitchen towels, washing up liquid, sponges (buy all this there, with your housemates if possible!)
Non-essentials – casserole dish, wok, whisk, sieve, mixing bowl, masher,

2. Catered - plates, bowls, cutlery, a pan, a frying pan, a baking tray, bottle opener, glasses/mugs.

That one night where we did a cute 'lets cook and eat together' thing.

3. Electrical - check first what you're accommodation supplies (and allows). It's also a wise idea to wait until you've moved in to see who brought what (5 people bringing a toaster is obviously not practical)

Good electrical items to have - kettle, toaster, toastie machine (a freshers' best friend), a grill if your fancy, a blender if you like soup/smoothies (although this is more of a second year buy). Microwaves should be in the kitchen already along with fridges/freezers and ovens.

The key is to think reasonably about what you are going to be able and have time to cook. Don't buy a blender if you're going to live of pot noodles for the year - be honest with yourself!

Don't let the brick work fool you, those walls are paper thin!

Remember the reason you're at University..
1. Essentials - Laptop,  paper (lots and lots of it), pens, highlighters, coloured pens, pencils, a calculator (if you're doing a maths/sciencey degree), eraser, sharpener, post-its, files, dividers, plastic wallets and a suitable, practical bag for all your stuff!

2. Books - If your department has sent out a reading list it is always good to buy in a few of the core books (check out Amazon, Abe or eBay)...

...but don't go crazy until you know for definite what books are the most valuable to you - the University library should have all the books your course requires. 

Things to brighten your room: photos, posters, fairy lights, cushions, candles, postcards. 
Kitchen: Toastie maker, blenders, a grill. 
Academic: A printer/scanner is not essential but could save you a lot of time and stress the morning that essay is due and you've been queuing for half an hour! 

…and you’ve reached the end of my extensive list! I probably missed a whole heap of stuff but I’ve also picked out some other useful blogs and articles for you to scan through as well!
The Student Room cover everything from what clothes to take to how to get it all there in their ‘What to take to University’ Checklist!
 Hayley from Water Painted Dreams has a whole bunch of student life-saving posts including her very own list of what to pack to University.
 Fed up with lists? With a quick search on YouTube there are tonnes of helpful videos that explain what to take to University including this great one by Charlotte Farthing.

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