What (and what not) to take to uni

Moving to university is a scary time and a brief Google search will throw up a huge amount of conflicting advice on what you ought to take with you. With this in mind, rather than an exhaustive list of absolutely everything you will need (and definitely won’t), this article aims to point out a few things that you might not have thought of when packing your bag.

The top 5 things I wish I had brought to uni:

1. Posters, photos and knick-knacks.

Anything that will personalise your room and make it feel more homely is a must! The more settled you feel in your own space, the more quickly you’ll settle into your new life. There’s no need to panic if your room is looking a little bare, though: most universities run a poster sale in freshers’ week.

2. Fancy dress.

Like it or not, you can bet that within your first ten days at uni you’ll need at least two different costumes! There’s no need to go overboard, but anything you have lying around which could make a good army, school disco, or cowboys and Indians costume is definitely worth throwing in your bag.

3. One of: a bottle opener, a tin opener, and a cheese grater.

These three are often overlooked in the pre-uni Ikea frenzy, and it’s not uncommon to arrive in halls and find that your kitchen has 25 plates, 10 saucepans, 2 toastie makers and no corkscrew.

4. Playing cards.

Essential for drinking games. If you can get waterproof ones, even better!

5. Tea towels.

With a good 6-10 people sharing a kitchen, you can never have too many tea towels – especially since no-one will ever volunteer to wash them.

And now, the things you really don’t need:

1. Everything you own.

Rooms in halls are generally very small, and there won’t be space for you to store all your childhood teddies/40 pairs of shoes/GCSE coursework. Remember that a term is only 10-12 weeks long – how much stuff do you really need?

2. Extra furniture.

Your room will have furniture in that is designed to make the best possible use of the limited space. Anything extra will only get in the way!

3. Your own kettle/toaster/fridge.

All of these are provided as standard by the university if you’re in self-catered halls (and sometimes even if you aren’t) – not only will they take up precious space in your room but they’ll waste energy too. Also, do you really want to be the flatmate who hides all their food in their room?

4. In the same vein, you really don’t need an egg poacher/deep fat fryer/blender/apple corer.

Chances are you only occasionally use these things at home, and they’ll just sit in a drawer gathering dust.

5. Your hamster/rabbit/fish.

Not only because pets are against the rules, but also because halls just aren’t a good place for animals to live – they’re cramped, noisy and dirty.

Whilst it’s important to be prepared in order to get the best out of your first weeks at uni, there’s no need to get overly stressed about it. Forgetting to bring a frying pan or your favourite poster is not going to have much of an effect on how well you settle in. So think carefully about what you want to pack, but most importantly relax and enjoy yourself – you’re about to embark on the best years of your life!

Written by Lucy, Bristol

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