Freshers-Week-a-Survival-Guide1

If you’re starting university this autumn, it may well be your first time away from home.  As you’ll have plenty of things on your mind already – and packing probably isn’t one of them – here’s a simple guide to what you’ll need for your first few weeks. They’re only guidelines – this isn’t a Scouting expedition, after all. If in doubt, check with the university’s accommodation office about what might be provided in halls, or with the landlord if you’re going into private housing. Oh, and don’t go crazy buying everything brand new – beg, borrow and buy second-hand. And learn to love Poundstretcher.

Self-catered essentials

A lot of self-catered halls come with a small kitchen, so students can rustle up food out of canteen hours (never underestimate the midnight munchies). These kitchens are often minimally equipped, however – think hob, microwave, toaster and kettle – so it’s worth bringing some essentials.

  • Mugs and glasses (plastic ones are best to avoid breakages)
  • Cutlery – fork, knife, spoon and tea spoon
  • Crockery – plates, bowls
  • Kettle
  • Plastic boxes/tupperware (for freezing, microwaving, storage)
  • Cooking implements – wooden spoon, spatula, tongs, saucepan and frying pan, sharp knives, chopping board
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • Tea towel
  • Kitchen roll
  • Washing up liquid plus sponges/cloths

Other useful kitchen items

If you’re likely to venture beyond beans on toast, some of these items may come in handy.

  • Wok (cooks everything)
  • Oven tray
  • Sieve/colander
  • Grill/toastie maker
  • Peeler
  • Cheese grater
  • Measuring jug
  • Mixing bowl
  • Oven gloves
  • Tin foil/cling film and sandwich/freezer bags
  • (Cheap) wine and shot glasses (packs of plastic coloured ones are great)
Some things such as saucepans are often worth waiting until you get there, it might be supplied by the halls of residence, or other flatmates might have bought them.

Bedroom

It’s worth having a look at the set-up of the room on the university website/prospectus to get an idea of the kind of things they’ll need, and how much there’ll be room for. But you’ll definitely require bedding:

  • Duvet
  • Pillows
  • Bed sheet and pillow cases
  • Blanket/throw (especially for up north!)
  • Mattress protector

NOTE: make sure you know if the room has a single or double bed!

Clothes and laundry

Think about the local climate where they’re headed – if you’re relocating from Truro to Inverness, for example, you’d be well advised to stock up on the woolly jumpers and thick socks …

Other essentials
  • Hangers
  • Washing basket/laundry bin or large bag
  • Washing powder and fabric softener
  • Fold-away airer/drying rack

Bathroom 

Again, it’s worth knowing in advance whether or not you have an en-suite or you will be sharing a communal bathroom.

  • Towels
  • Bath mat
  • Toiletries – toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap etc
  • Wash bag/shower hanger (these are particularly handy if using a communal bathroom to carry shampoo, soap etc to the shower)
  • Flip flops – for the hygiene-concerned using communal bathrooms
  • Loo roll (sometimes provided, but better – far better – safe than sorry)
  • Toilet brush

Other handy/miscellaneous items

The bits and pieces which it may not occur to you to pack, but which are guaranteed to come in handy at some point.  Even if you don’t use all of them, they may be someone else’s saving grace.

  • Laptop/computer (as well as, hopefully, being used for work, this can double as a TV using On Demand apps – but be aware of TV licensing for watching live programming)
  • Chargers for all your electricals
  • Extension lead (old buildings; often too few sockets)
  • USB memory sticks
  • Stationery – pens, folders for work, paper etc
  • Alarm clock
  • Bedside/desk lamp
  • Small bin for room (sometimes provided)
  • Disposable anti-bac cleaning wipes (the easiest way to clean)
  • Febreeze spray/air freshener (covers a multitude of sins)
  • Decent-sized bag for taking things to lectures/library
  • Sewing kit, scissors and safety pins (handy for quick fixes and fancy dress)
  • Lighter (useful if using gas cooker and the ignition breaks)
  • First aid kit
  • Rape alarm
  • A few passport-sized photos (sometimes needed for student cards/signing up to societies)
  • Emergency pay-as-you-go phone (in case usual phone gets lost/broken)

Home comforts

  • Photos of friends/family and posters to decorate room (a lot of freshers’ fairs have a poster stall, so you can also buy these once you’re there)
  • Pins (if the room has a pin-board) or blue tack to put up photos, timetables etc
  • Extra cushions for bed
  • Hot water bottle (comforting and good to keep warm if you’re saving money on heating)
  • Door stop (good to have an open door policy in first few weeks – great way to make new friends)
  • Printer, paper and ink cartridges (not essential, as work can be saved on USB or sent to print off at library/print services, but handy for meeting deadlines at the last minute)
  • Speakers for music
  • Playing cards
  • Sleeping bag – handy for when friends come to visit
Chris
cskidd1983@gmail.com
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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