Results day is approaching and if you’re anything like I was before I went to university, you’ve not bought anything yet… This handy list should help you from making the mistake I made, bringing too much and not enough to uni at the same time.
Firstly, I want to go against the grain a bit here, don’t bring a doorstop. I know literally every.single.list you read will tell you to bring a doorstop to halls to help you get to know your flatmates quickly during freshers; but what they don’t tell you is that most of the doors in halls are fire doors, which means you legally can’t prop them open. Okay, this doesn’t really sound like a big deal, and for a while, we did prop our doors open, but my flatmate was slapped with a £50 fine and the threat of having to attend a fire-safety course when she was caught with her door open during an unannounced check. Save yourself the cash and the hassle by just hanging out in the kitchen in your free time.
Don’t bother bringing an iron, I personally didn’t bring an iron, but anyone I know who did hardly used theirs. They’re heavy and bulky and there are easy ways around creased clothes. Firstly, if just hang them up straight out the dryer and the creases will drop out. When you enjoy a hot morning shower just hang up your outfit in the bathroom and the steam will smooth out the wrinkles. Finally, a pair of hair straighteners are essentially the same as an iron and work just as well, and you can use them on your hair, bonus!
Another household item that I felt it paramount that I bring to uni was a printer, in reality, it didn’t connect to the Wi-Fi in halls and I had lost the cable to connect it to my laptop, rendering it essentially useless. In fact, I never really needed to use it anyway, I just read everything on my laptop and anything that my lecturers or tutors felt I needed a paper copy of was just given to me. It sat on my desk collecting dust all year.
On another note, don’t buy your entire suggested reading list before you get to uni, or even in your first few weeks. Suss out how much you really need that £100 2018 edition of your Philosophy text book before you fork out for it. It’s more than likely that it’s available as a pdf online either for free or at a lower cost. If not, make use of the library! Anything that’s compulsory reading should be in there, if your lecturers don’t make it available online. Also check out on-campus book sales for previous student’s books that are often like new.
Now for the things that I think you do need…
I don’t know how common this is, but our halls didn’t come with a kettle or a toaster in the kitchen and I hadn’t read any of my accommodation emails before arriving at uni to know this. Double check if things like this are included in your flat and wait ‘til you arrive to discuss with your flatmates about pitching in together to buy them- no flat needs 6 kettles!
Speaking from personal experience here, please remember to back up your work! A couple of weeks into first term, when trying to book tickets to club event- during prees, I spilt a vodka diet coke concoction all over my almost brand-new MacBook and completely broke it. It cost my Mum her no claims on her house insurance and it cost me all the work I’d done at uni so far. A couple of lessons to learn, don’t bring your laptop into the kitchen during prees and back up your work! Buy and external hard-drive or pay a small monthly fee for some cloud storage, just in case.
On the subject of prees, get yourself a wireless speaker if you don’t already have one (and when you do use it in communal areas keep it high up and not on the kitchen table- see vodka coke concoction above). It’s great to have some music when you’re all getting ready to go out and it’s so much easier if it’s wireless, anyone can connect and play their “great” music.
Don’t forget Blu-Tac or pins to put up all those pictures of your friends and family around your room, no use having spent hours carefully selecting the perfect pictures for them to sit around in a draw all year because you never got around to pinning them to your notice board.
Another thing you might want to consider is a clothes horse. Paying to wash and dry your clothes can rack up and for some reason our dryers were smaller than the washers so one wash would be two dries. Very irritating. I left the dryers for big things like towels and bedding and used a clothes horse to air dry the rest most of time. Also, a clothes horse means you only have to make one, long, sad trip to the laundry room rather than back and forth to collect and swap your clothes around. An extra tip, those big blue Ikea bags make great, cheap laundry bags.
I hope this has put your mind at rest a bit, after inevitably seeing everyone on your Snapchat post stories of them in Ikea stocking up on trollies full of stuff. Be savvy, don’t take what you don’t need and don’t forget what you do.
Post by Olivia Greaves
Olivia is a Politics student at the University of Southampton. Follow her on twitter @oiiviagreaves (https://twitter.com/oIiviagreaves)