The summer is slowly coming to an end (sadly), but an exciting time is upon us – new academic year!
Ok. Maybe the start of the summer was a bit more exciting than that…
But for those of you who are just about to start university, I’m sure it’s the time of big excitement. After all, it’s all new. New place to live (unless you’re staying at home), new people, new lecturers, new subjects to study… All new, new, new. It’s a lot of things to look forward to, but also a lot to be afraid of. After all, there are so many unknowns.
So, as a seasoned veteran (I did start university twice, after all), I decided to bring you a little series of posts about tackling Freshers’ Week/the first few weeks at uni. It will probably be 3-4 posts or so, I will see what I come up with. But if you have any particular requests as to what you would like to read about, drop me a line or leave a comment under this post.
I wanted to start with a quick post about what to take to university. Things you might not think will come in useful. Or things you are likely to forget. Or just random stuff that you don’t necessarily mean but that will probably make you happier. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things you will need. There are piles of them on the Internet, and I think I’d fall asleep on the keyboard if I started writing about all the pots, pans and bedding that you will need. I’m sure you know that you can’t cook pasta without a pot, or at least your mom does and will pack you a pot.
Here we go then. My alternative list of things to pack to uni (compiled with the help of Mr Arguably Honest, an even more seasoned veteran of university life, as he’s already graduated).
I don’t know what’s wrong with people who design rooms in halls, but I think they never used electricity in their lives. There is no other explanation for the truly bizarre placement of sockets. In my room last year, I only had them around the desk, which was the opposite end of the room than the bed. I mean, come on, am I the only person who charges their phone at night? An extension lead was a life saver to me, as I could just drag it across the room and have my phone charging by the bed. It’s also useful if you’re coming from a place with differently shaped plugs, this way you will have multiple points to connect your non-UK items (it’s also cheaper than buying a million converters).
Mr Arguably Honest disagrees with me on this one, saying he never felt the need for one, but to me it’s one of those essential items. I don’t use it every day, but during bouts of freshers’ flu, colds, late night Netflix binges or simply when I needed something warm and cuddly around me, a blanket was so useful. Also when I had to revise for an exam with sinusitis and was feeling just so cold that heating on full blast and fleece didn’t do the trick.
Your favourite mug
If you forget it, you’ll probably have to resolve to buying some not-quite-so-nice-one, which will make your afternoon tea that much less enjoyable. There’s nothing like tea from your favourite mug when you’re in the middle of exam revision. Or is it just me who can’t work without a cuppa? ;)
A weekly planner/calendar
Unless you know you prefer organising your day/week using the calendar on your computer, getting a planner is a good idea. As I’ve already said, staying organised is one of the most important things in achieving academic success. If you decide you’ll “just remember” everything, then you’ll probably forget. The planner will help you both organise your week and stay on top of the deadlines.
Enough clothes/underwear to only do laundry every other week
Doing laundry in halls costs money. Annoying, I know. And, personally, I hate spending money on stupid stuff like that. It’s also a waste of time, because you have to load the washer, then go to move stuff to the dryer and then take it out from there. Therefore, I did my laundry roughly every other week, making sure I had enough underwear and face cloths to last me that long. When I started running out of either, I knew I needed to do laundry. Brilliant, isn’t it?
Ok, this isn’t really necessary, but I always find it easier to sit down to work if my notebooks are nice. That’s why I hit Paperchase at the beginning of each term (they’ve 10% student discount!). To be honest, I already can’t wait for a mini shopping spree in a few weeks.
3 of your favourite books that you are willing to re-read (or that offer comfort)
Sometimes you just need a book that you’ve already read, one that will warm you up on the inside. I have one such book, which I know will always lift up my mood if I hit a rough patch. It can also be a motivational book that inspires you, or a biography of someone you admire. Possibilities are endless, but it’s good to remember uni is not just about the textbooks.
You know, those little things you put on your shelf to keep your books where you want them. Such a fantastic invention, I recommend getting a set asap if you don’t already have one. I waited a few weeks into the term to get them and the number of times I was cursing really badly because I had books falling on my arms… Let’s just say they’re essential, shall we?
Especially if you’re at university/work all day, a power bank will save you if you suddenly realise you only have 5% battery. Amazing invention.
Some sort of a filing system
It can be a binder, a file, anything that can hold paper in one place and keep it safe. During your time at university, you will get a lot of important pieces of paper that you need to keep. If you don’t have a filing system, all of your payslips, tenancy agreements, student loan correspondence etc. will be all over the place, hard to sort through, or may even get lost.
Even if in your country or city you don’t get IDed, it’s very likely you will get IDed when buying alcohol when you get to uni. Anything that can fit in your pocket/wallet will do – driver’s license or national ID will be the best. I’m sure you don’t want to be carrying your passport around to pubs.
A nice pen
You will find yourself writing a lot at university, so having a nice pen, one you really enjoy using, will make this task just so much nicer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive one, but it should lay in your hand comfortably and write smoothly. If you don’t have a pen like that, treat yourself to one. Or simply go to a careers fair. There will be loads of great pens given out for free.
So here it is. My list of slightly random things that I find useful during my time at university. If you have any other suggestions, or want to tell me that a blanket is in no way an essential item, hit the comments below or on Facebook.
Cover photo by Angelina Litvin