When I got into university, it’s no surprise that excitement took over, meaning I became preoccupied with buying new clothes for my new party-every-night lifestyle, rather than acquiring important skills and equipment that I might actually need. So, from personal experience, here are some things you won’t be able to live without.
Pots & pans
Whether you consider yourself to be a culinary genius or absolutely clueless in the kitchen, it’s handy to have some basic cooking utensils in the cupboards for if/when you need them. You don’t have to go overboard – many shops and online stores have student offers just waiting for you to snap them up. In terms of plates, mugs, glasses and cutlery, why not grab a couple of each item? You never know when a friend might pop over for dinner (or a flat mate clumsily drop your plate smashing to the floor – oops!).
A door stop
When I first saw this on a list of university ‘must haves’ I wondered why the hell something so random and seemingly unneeded had made the top 10. But, from experience, I see how lonely and secluded it can feel in that box of a room miles from home. Propping open your door encourages a social atmosphere within the flat and will (hopefully) lead to a better relationship with those you live with.
Some of you will read this with a box already full of family photos and cute ornaments, while others will sigh wondering how the hell scented candles or that old Batman poster will benefit you in your new grown-up life. But dressing up your new room can make it feel more like home, and somewhere you could quite happily spend your long, lonely evenings once the hype of Fresher’s Week has been and gone and deadlines start to take over. Things like fairy lights, posters, photographs and cushions are all really good ways of giving your bedroom a bit of personality without bursting the bank. And just for the record, there is no shame in bringing your childhood teddy with you, as long as he/she attends pre-drinks like everybody else…
Random fancy dress items
You know that embarrassing little number you wore for a dance show a few years ago? Or that old school tie that’s been hiding away in a draw for what seems like forever? Well, these are the things that you’ll finally find a use for at university, especially if you’re thinking about joining a society. So far, I’ve had to be a school girl, a Red Indian, a Barbie, a Greek goddess, a zombie and many more things – who knows what’s next?
I know it’s a sore topic, and your parents have probably been onto you already about how the toilet won’t clean itself, but unfortunately it’s true! And unless you want to be the one with the reputation of the dirty bathroom and the smelly cupboards, I suggest you crack on the rubber gloves and face your fears.
Come on, surely I’m not the only one who goes a bit wild in W.H Smith just before term starts?! Anything from the obvious pens, pencil, rulers and notepads to folders, staplers and lots more, there are many shops that are flooded with stationary that will most definitely come in useful. And if not for your course, adding name tags/nicknames to your bedroom doors can be surprisingly fun!
If you’ve already started saving, great! If not, please don’t start busking in the street just because I said so. Having savings isn’t an absolute necessity – there are plenty of student jobs out there if you need some extra money. But it is nice to have some spare cash just in case you find yourself short on rent or, like many students have found out the hard way, owing the library for an over-due book
An alarm clock
Even if, like myself, you consider yourself to be fairly good with mornings, the workload in addition to any partying you decide to do, will mean 9am will suddenly feel like the new 7. Sure, we’ve all missed the odd lecture due to overlaying, but that really is a bad habit to get into. Get up, get out there, and do what you’re there to do.
I get it, not everyone drinks! And if you don’t, there’s absolutely no shame in that and you can have just as much fun without it (…while photographing/videoing all the crazy stuff that all your drunken friends are doing). But if you do drink, alcohol is a good way of loosening up and making sure Fresher’s Week is one to remember. LOL, I’m just kidding! Who remembers Fresher’s Week anyway? Which brings me onto my next point…
A first aid kit/medicine draw
Okay, now I’m starting to sound like your mother! But, people do get ill at university too, you know! From blisters, to blocked noses. From ulcers, to stomach aches. You’d be surprised how much you rely on the stash of paracetamols and cough medicine that your mum stores away. Of course, there are plenty of shops that sell all the things that you’ll need, but it’s nice to have something in just in case man flu makes you bed-ridden for a few days.
You’ve already taken the biggest step by applying to ride on of the biggest and windiest rollercoasters you’ll ever experience. Now, all you need to do is prepare yourself, take a deep breath, and get ready for the biggest and best journey of your life!
First published on Kettle Mag: 11 things every fresher needs for university