A New Adventure
September brings with it the start of a new adventure for many in the UK – heading off to school, college, or university, either for the first time, or returning for another year of study.
In the shops there are “back 2 school” or “student” items everywhere, stationery, clothing, and all you could ever need and more for your student life! Some of the items I have seen so far are guaranteed to get you in trouble from day one (the pen with a slingshot on the top for example), whilst others are more likely to help you keep on top of all the assignments (the academic year wall planner that you can mark all those pesky assignments on).
So what do you take with you when heading off on your own? Do you need to get all the stuff before you go? In short, no, there are somethings you can get before you head off but most things others you can wait until you arrive to get if you still need them. Particularly if you are moving in to shared accommodation, some halls provide kitchen items such as plates and pans for the entire flat, others just the basics such as a kettle and a toaster or a microwave. There is also very limited space in most student kitchens so it is often wiser to see what space and equipment is available before you spend any money out on something you don’t end up using as you had to keep it boxed up under your bed the entire year.
Having been part of the student residential team that helped all the students move in to their halls on moving in weekend last September, I can honestly say you do not need to pack as much as you think! If you are in student halls, most halls have limited parking on site, if any, and as such if you think about how many journeys you made to bring your stuff from your house to your car, then think about doing that same journey to and from the car and up and down the stairs in your halls – even if there are elevators, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use them, last September the only elevator in a six floor block broke, consequently some had to haul their possessions up 6 flights of stairs, then return down to collect more of their stuff and the lift was out for the entire weekend despite the elevator service team having been called!
Pro Tip –> While we’re talking about carrying your possessions upstairs – do not pack every box or suitcase so full it is too heavy for you to pick up, you will still have loads of stuff to do when you move in so you don’t want to wear yourself out moving your things into your room!!
If you haven’t already got any moving boxes, then these ones are pretty good for the job, I used them myself in June when I moved back home for the summer. I would not get a bigger box though as these were great for the larger stuff, however I would probably get somehting more like this for heavier/smaller items. Don’t forget the packing tape and a marker pen to write on the box what is in it!
Once you have moved all your items from home into your room, then you can work out what else you need. Most universities will have a large supermarket somewhere fairly close to campus, perhaps a short bus ride or car trip out but near enough.
You will definitely need to get some food shopping as the only thing I recommend taking initially is something to make some hot drinks or some cold drinks and some snacks, then you can work out how much space you have in shared fridge/freezers and your cupboards before hitting the supermarket. It is perhaps best to only get a weeks worth of food in, your flat mates and you can then go shopping together in the days that follow.
Three Weeks To Go
So, with approximately 3 weeks until most students will head to campus, its time to get thinking about what you will be taking, sort through your clothes and make sure everything you want to take with you is washed and dried ready to pack. Make sure you have about 2 weeks of underwear (socks, knickers/boxers, bras, tights etc.), a few pairs of trousers, skirts/dresses, tops, a couple of jumpers, a jacket, a coat, trainers, smart shoes/heels, comfy everyday footwear, gym/sports kit, something smart for an interview, something to wear to go out in. The key here is to pack light as you have to wash all of this!
Laundry facilities at uni can be a nightmare, some machines you can’t even use softener in so be prepared for this – before you go shopping after arriving, check out the laundry room and see if the machines have a drawer like at home for the softener and laundry detergent or you have to put it in the drum – the ones I had last year and have this coming year say don’t use softener in the machine. I have gotten around this by switching my laundry pods to Bold for my outer-wear, although I still use Fairy pods and some Comfort Pure softener when I wash my underwear! Unless you intend on washing everyone’s laundry in your building, remember you will only want to do about 3 washes in total a week and that may not be every week so you do not need lots of laundry stuff – with the clothes I suggested above, I would wash 1 load of underwear in Fairy every 2 weeks (so max 26 washes in a year) and 1 load of outer-wear every 2 weeks ( again, max 26 washes in a year), add some bedding and towel washes plus that emergency wash and you are looking at one pack of Fairy and 1 pack of Bold roughly in a year (depending how many you get in a single pack obviously) so if you are just using Bold, then you could just get one of the big pod packs and it should last you the entire academic year (don’t forget you might not be at uni over the holidays)!
To get you started
Below is a check list of things to take with you, coming soon will be a “Things to get when you arrive” check list. You can print it off, hole punch it and put it in your planner – it’s A4 sized but you can print it to A5 or scale it to other sizes when you got to print it if you wish. I’ll be printing off one to put in my A5 size ring bound Filofax.