You’ve just got your A-Level results and you’re so excited to be going off to uni, but there’s one huge nagging question: ‘what the heck do I pack!?’. Moving your entire life to another city certainly isn’t easy with just a car-full of space to cram everything into, so we’ve put together a handy guide for yours truly.
The number one rule is to make sure that you purposely have too many socks and underwear so that when you can’t be bothered to do the washing, you don’t run out - we’ve all been there! Since you’ll be going in September and are likely to return home for Christmas and Easter, pack autumn/ winter items and leave the shorts back home. Take plenty of comfortable clothes, a backpack for uni, one or two more formal pieces for any potential interviews/ fancy dinners/ nights out (ooh la la!), plus your gym gear/ any other technical sportswear. And don’t forget PJ’s for nights in with your flatmates!
Don't forget me: Hangers. They're very rarely included in student accommodation.
First things first: a basic set of mattress protector (uni beds aren't known for being comfy), duvet, and pillows. Most halls just have single beds, but if you’re lucky enough to have a deluxe room then don’t forget the extra pillow. Then come the sheets: grab something jazzy and colourful or at least stylish to liven up your room - a lot of halls can look very samey so it’s always great to personalise! Print out photos of your friends and family back home, get out the fairy lights and funky cushions and let your imagination run wild! Many halls don’t allow you to put up posters as they may mark the walls, so check the rules before you go and get creative. Having a comforting space that screams 'YOU' will help you in any potential moments of homesickness and is one of the greatest forms of expression - now that you have the freedom to make your own choices, embrace it!
Don't forget me: A set of spare bedsheets for when your sheets are in the wash - it's a godsend!
Toiletries are often bulky and heavy so it’s best to buy them when you get there. Chances are, you’ll need to go to the shop anyway (how else are you going to survive!?), so you can grab them alongside your food shop. If you’re lucky enough to have an en-suite, a bath mat is a good idea to keep things nice and dry. If you’re sharing, flip-flops are essential. And don’t forget to bring a towel - you’ll thank us later when you’re sweating from setting up your room!
Don't forget me: Bring toilet roll in your bag on the day of the move so you're equipped for when you arrive desperate for a pee.
This is probably the most important part. For now you can start off with the basics: make sure you have at least one set of cutlery, a big plate, small plate, bowl, a couple of mugs and glasses, frying pan, saucepan, chopping board, a large knife, a peeler, a baking tray, and plenty of tupperware for storage. That should have you pretty much covered for the majority of basic student meals, and you can figure out the rest as you go along. Remember, you’re not going to the moon which is how we often feel when moving away from home for the first time - other cities have shops too and you can always buy any necessities as you realise you need them. Wilko and Argos are two of the best places for students, but budget stores such as B&M and Home Bargains do some great stuff, too. Get to know your flatmates and discuss arranging a kitty where you can all put money in to buy shared items such as toilet roll and washing-up liquid. Particular items that will earn you brownie points with your new flatmates are a toaster, a cheese grater, and a toastie machine.
Don't forget me: A bottle opener.
These can also be bought on arrival - however, if you don’t have the luxury of a car, the reality of carrying heavy shopping will soon hit (you’ll get used to it, trust me!). So if you do want to take a few food items, just to start you off, you should stock your cupboard with the basics: onions, garlic, some basic spices (oregano, cumin, ginger, paprika…), ketchup/ mayo, pasta, rice, and canned beans/ sweetcorn/ tuna/ packets of noodles (only for emergencies, you’ll say…). In terms of fresh items, my dad always says to me that as long as you have bread, milk, and eggs in the house, you have a meal, so if you’re clueless during your first shop, make sure you buy those.
Don't forget me: Oil for frying
Make sure you have copies (and back ups!) of all your important documents: UCAS/ course confirmation letter; passport/ drivers license/ any other ID that you use; student finance documents; accommodation documents; bank details; National Insurance number and anything else you consider essential. You don’t want to be stuck without one of these at enrollment!
Your laptop. You’ll be able to get by with that alone. If you’re in need of a new one, there are often many super deals on throughout the summer for new and returning students, so keep your eyes peeled! Take a pen and notepad for note-taking during Intro Week, but leave the rest stationery-wise until you know which modules you’ll be taking and have a better idea of how to organise your notes - many Student Unions have great stationery offers.
And unless specifically told to do so, don’t buy the entire list of textbooks before you go. There will be plenty of time to get hold of them, and waiting could save you a lot of money as you realise which ones you don’t actually need, or that there are copies in the library.
Other Handy Things:
- A torch in case of power cuts
- An alarm clock (you never know what might happen to your phone!)
- Bags for life - take them to store stuff for the journey, and then use them instead of a laundry hamper!
- A small bin - a lot of halls don’t have one
- A desk lamp - most halls have one, but just in case - you can always send it back with mum and dad!
- An extension lead
- An external hard-drive - ALWAYS have another copy of your notes and essays!!
- A basic first aid kit
And that’s all. It may seem overwhelming, but if you plan ahead and follow our guide, you’ll be absolutely fine. Good luck and most of all, have fun!
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