Freshers guide: 10 things you must take to university

By Sian Bradley

Given the events of the last year and a half, this freshers week is bound to come with added anxiety as students navigate vaccine passports, testing and adjusting to post-lockdown life.

Now that Covid restrictions have lifted, many universities have returned to in-person learning, and students across the country are moving into news halls.

Starting university is a nerve-wracking experience, and packing for that first term can be a daunting prospect, so we broke it down into the essentials.

READ MORE: Press conference to be held this afternoon following scientists' advice to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds

Exactly what you need for university depends on where you’re going, and what you’d like to buy once you’re there.

Before we get into it, here are some things you definitely don’t need: candles (they aren’t allowed in halls), a kettle, toaster or microwave, (most halls come with one), a printer (most work is done electronically, and university libraries have printers for the rest), and any of your old school work - you just won’t need it.

Now you know what to leave at home, here’s what you absolutely should be packing.

A laptop

First things first, a decent laptop is absolutely essential for university. If you're due a new one, it'll be worth picking one up.

While you’re there, you can also browse hard drives, which could save you the horror of accidentally losing coursework the day before the deadline. It’s often not at the top of the list, but taking an extension lead is useful, as plugs are in notoriously annoying places in uni halls, while a small bluetooth speaker will see you through socialising.

Oh, and don’t forget your phone and laptop chargers.

Bedding

The majority of halls don’t come with bedding, so you’ll want to bring a single bedsheet, a duvet, pillow and covers to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.

It’s worth checking with your university accommodation as they can all differ. If you’ve got the space, you may also want to pack a comfy blanket.

A kitchen starter kit

This is most likely the first time in your life that you will be fending for yourself in a shared kitchen, so you’ll want your own things.

While you don’t need to pack like you’re headed for Masterchef, you’ll thank yourself for bringing a basic starter kit. You can find so many options online, but beware that some are overpriced or unnecessarily big.

At the bare minimum, bring a glass and mug, a set of cutlery, a saucepan and frying pan, knives and a chopping board, baking tray, microwaveable plates, tupperware, a travel mug and microwaveable plates and bowls, plus tea towels.

Nice extras include a bottle opener, tin opener, vegetable peeler, measuring jug and a grater. You may want to talk to your flatmates about how you’re going to split the washing up liquid, sponges, cling film, tea bags, tin foil and bin bags.

Identification

Most things on this list can be bought during freshers week, but personal documents cannot. Above all, you will need a source of ID, including your passport. Consider applying for a driving licence if you don’t already have one - it’s cheaper and quicker to replace that than a passport.

You may also need: your student finance letter, course acceptance letter, bank details and any important medical documents.

Fancy dress

Once your day to day clothes are packed - which, if you are going home for Christmas, only need to be autumn and winter outfits - you can think about something more fun; fancy dress!

It’s a staple of university life, especially for people who join societies. If you’ve got a few novelty items gathering dust at home, you may want to bring them along to avoid that last-minute stress of what to wear to your first themed social event in Freshers Week.

Stationary

Picture this: you turn up to class on your first day, eager to get going. Then you realise - you don’t have a pen - or anything to write on!

You’ll be inundated with free pens during Fresher’s Fairs, but you’ll thank your future self if you bring a bunch of ballpoint pens and a stack of lined notebooks, just in case.

Bedroom essentials

Turning up at your new home on that first day is bound to be a shock to the system. The walls are bare, and the furniture is sparse. To quickly settle that initial panic, bring a clothes dryer, laundry basket, waste bin, clothes hangers and a reed diffuser.

You may also want to consider packing some decorations and sentimental items, like photos of friends and family, to make it feel more like home.

Basic medicine

If you have a chronic condition, don’t forget your prescription medication, as getting medical care set up in your new city can take some time.

You may also want a stash of painkillers and cold and flu medicine, in case that dreaded freshers’ flu sets in.

Towels

Towels are one of those things that may not be at the top of your list, but that you absolutely don’t want to be without.

Pack a couple of bath towels and face cloths, to tide you over in between washes. A pair of sliders or flip flops are also ideal for walking around the communal bathroom.

Toiletries

While you can grab essential toiletries once you’ve moved in, you may not want to spend your first night at university running around to buy toothpaste.

So, grab a wash bag, and fill it with a toothbrush and toothpaste, shower gel or soap, shampoo and conditioner and deodorant.


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