You’ve burnt the midnight oil cramming for your A’Levels. You’ve gone wild at the end of term parties. You’ve counted down the days to results day. And now you’re recounting those days til you pack your essentials into the boot of your mum and dad’s car and head of to some university campus on the other side of the country.

For many, the transition to university will be the first time that you have spent extensive time away from home and hearth. So the question about what it is necessary to pack needs to be addressed if you are to survive the first term. Simply packing a clean pair of knickers and your favourite leather bracelets is not going to cut it. You need to put together a survival kit to ensure that you can eat, live and study without running back home every other weekend.

The easiest way to ensure that you are covered on all bases is to split your list down into ‘bedroom’, ‘bathroom’,  and ‘kitchen’. 

University bedroom essentials

Your university will provide the absolute bare minimum in terms of a bed, wardrobe, and desk. Beyond that, it’ll be up to you to make your room comfortable enough to be your home for the next few months. Bedding is a must – duvet, pillows, and a couple of changes of covers and pillow cases. Maybe leave your Bob the Builder/Dora Explorer sets back in your childhood bedroom. Time to branch out and start experimenting in more grown up tastes in textiles.

If you feel so inclined, you can supplement this with some colourful soft furnishings – cushions, a small rug, some throws. A couple of lamps will give you better light to work and read by, but will also allow you to create a more welcoming atmosphere in which to get to know those new friends.

Pictures, posters and photos will help you to give your room personality, and act as a reminder of those loved ones you’ve left back at home (eg the dog!). 

Bring a separate ‘study’ box which contains all those stationery bits that you will need  – laptop, chargers, cameras, speakers, headphones, scissors, Sellotape, pens, calculators, notepads… 

A smaller ‘admin’ box can contain all your ‘official’ documents such as ID and passports, bank information, cards, student loan details etc etc.

University bathroom essentials

Working under the motto ‘prepare for the worst, hope for the best’, we suggest that you pack a term’s worth of toilet paper! And if it is important to you, throw in a toilet brush and some bleach too. You may not be able to control other people’s cleanliness habits, but the least you can do is to lead by example. 

Other than that, pack plenty of towels in different sizes, and get stocked up on toiletries as well next time your mum and dad go to the supermarket.  The last thing you want to be wasting your student loan on is toothpaste and deodorant.

University kitchen essentials

Check with your university how well the kitchen is equipped as it should be supplied with the main essentials to prepare your own meals. But it may be worthwhile packing your own corkscrew and bottle opened… just in case!! 

Don’t be afraid of experimenting with some cooking – this is your time to learn self sufficiency, and you won’t be able to afford to live on pizzas and deliveries every night of the week.

And don’t forget to drag your parents around the supermarket before you go. Stock up on some essentials – pasta, tins of beans, chopped tomatoes, tinned soups – good wholesome food that will keep your nourished and functioning during those long evenings of study (or fun!).

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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