Tuesday, 3 September 2013
I figured a post like this would not only be appropriate due to timing but also because I know it to be a pressing concern for most freshers heading off to uni and most online advice can be pretty vague. I, myself, was painstakingly thorough last year. I couldn't bear the thought of forgetting something, regardless of whether it was petty or important. And though my list, or lists I should say, would be far too lengthy for a post, I shall attempt to give you a gist of it. I hope it helps.

First and foremost, I started by creating titled lists, each list representing a box, it is easier to keep track of things that way. There was: Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom, Stationary and Shoes, and yes my shoes needed an entire box of their own!

Let's get started.

The Kitchen

Cutlery: 


Some of my flatmates bought whole sets that then sat in their rooms taking up precious space whilst I thoughtlessly brought along only single items and then kept losing them. You know yourself better than anyone else, bring as many as you feel you will need. 

You will need multiples of knives, forks and spoon and it is wise to have at least two glasses and mugs. Bowls and plates in various sizes too. Don't forget bigger spoons for cooking, a spoon with slits in it, and a spatula are all helpful.

Pots and Pans:


If you are in non-catered halls you'll be needing these! I like to think of them in terms of eggs. To boil an egg, I'd need a teeny tiny pot, suitable for frozen veg and tinned foods too, and a shallow pan for frying an egg, and perhaps also fillets and maybe some french bread on a Sunday!

Then you have medium sized pots for most of your cooking needs, everything from boiling pasta to heating up frozen food sent to you by your mum ;). I would suggest you bring two as I learnt that its far more convenient to be able to boil your pasta and cook your sauce at the same time!

In the beginning I started off by cooking each meal, if you can call it cooking, individually however as I progressed through my course I got busier and busier and started making larger amounts of food, enough for 3 or 4 meals. In this case you would also need a large wok and most importantly a lid to keep it fresh throughout the day.

Baking?


Are you wondering what sort of leisurely course I do in order to have time to bake? You will find baking trays and baking dishes your most used pieces in the kitchen especially if you eat a lot of ready meals and frozen foods - I am afraid it is inevitable. Everything from fish, burgers, vegetable, chips, Yorkshire puddings end up on a tray. Bring some lengths of foil too, it saves a lot of washing up. Eventually you may find the foil replaces your tray altogether. Dishes are good for lasagnas, if you have the skill, pasta bakes and the likes. 

Extras:

Hand towels are a necessity, no one seems to buy kitchen towels any more! Chopping board, oven gloves, drainer for your dishes and a plug hole blocker thingy-wingy, trust me on this, you want to avoid suffering a blocked sink! Black bin liners - you will go through them quite fast. Containers will be useful for storing unfinished food and for taking packed lunches for as long as you can be bothered, eventually they do pile up in the sink and get mixed up and end their lives in the bin! But they are good to have in small numbers.

Some additional things I found myself having to go out an buy are: a can opener, a peeler, a strainer, a grater.

Cleaning products:


Scrubbing pads, washing up liquid and some form of kitchen cleaner, don't stress too much about what your flatmates might also be bringing as again you will go through these quite fast. Rubber gloves will save your life on countless occasions so don't neglect them. Disposable cloths proved indispensable to us so may be worth a thought.

Electricals:


You will have to check will your halls as to whether they will provide a toaster, kettle and iron. Fortunately for us one of our flatmates thought to bring them as we were not provided with them. If this is the case for you, consult your flatmates as soon as you know where you are living (Facebook pages and The Student Room are key tools). Things like a sandwich maker and weighing scales may make life easier.

The Bathroom


Basics but I will mention it anyway: all your shower things and your toothbrush, toothpaste, hand wash and whatever else you like to use. Two towels, a hand towel to keep in your room and bath towel which tends to travel between your room and the bathroom.

A bin, a toilet cleaning brush, a toilet cleaner, a shower/bathroom cleaner, a toilet freshener (get the ones that clip onto the sides as not all toilets have cisterns - so I discovered), air freshener and cloths. On the point of cleaning, I like to keep an anti-bacterial spray for wiping surfaces like the desk, its important when you end up workings and eating, occasionally sleeping in the same place! In this section I think I should also mention washing up powder, liquid and a small tub for the occasional, usually emergency, hand wash. A washing basket, sack or otherwise will be your best friend, you'll find that when you have no clothes left to wear, they are all in here!

This is just me but I think a bath may to be necessary as the floor can potentially get quite wet in some cases dirty even and you won't have time to mop it there and then, a bath mat will be your cushion against the lava (remember the game?)! And I prefer a separate pair of footwear for the bathroom, just personal preference.

Oh and whatever you do, do not forget the toilet roll!

The Bedroom:

Essentials:

I cannot stress how important a laptop is to a student. Your entire student livelihood will revolve around it, most of you will already have a personal one, if not you need to get yourself kitted out, A printer is not essential but even I am beginning to wonder whether I should invest. If you like to print your lecture slides out, a printer would save you a lot of money and time. Also a waste paper basket would be helpful in keeping your room clean-er. Don't kid yourself into thinking you can just take a trip to the bathroom to throw your rubbish, you are more likely to let it pile and pile an pile before you venture out, it is a sad truth. It is quite necessary to have at least two sets of bed sheets and a mattress and pillow protector are a good idea. You will need to bring your own pillows and duvet.

If you are provided with a board, and most rooms are, drawing pins will be needed to keep your prided artwork and soon enough loathsome tables up in full view.

I am not sure how it is with male students but for a girl, or at least me, mirrors are extremely important! Although you may have a wall mirror, a freestanding mirror will be helpful to use whilst sitting at your desk or to place on the floor to get a better view of your shoes ;) !

Personal preferences:

If you like your comfy rugs, bring them along, homely cushions add, well- homeliness and if you are one to get hot easily, a small fan since for some strange reason our rooms tend to get very, very warm. And if you are like me and tend not to fare well with loose pieces of paper, a paper tray on your desk will be of help. Some of you may also like to keep a lamp.

In question of storage space, it is variable across different halls. To be on the safe side I took a tower of 4 plastic drawers. They do not take too much space and is endlessly useful and versatile. 

Stationary:


By this I mean, everything study related. Aside from the contents of your seldom used pencil case, empty folders for each of your modules, a ring-bound notebook I found ideal for taking notes in lectures (perhaps 3), refills pads for additional notes and revision. Sticky notes will very likely cover every free surface available in your room, bathroom in many cases, by the summer so get yourself an assortment to keep things interesting. Oh, and I should add there is quite a bit of highlighting associated with revison!

I should also include here that it may be a good idea for you to keep a separate folder for your important documents, and trust before you even start uni you will be accumulating these and the fear of losing them is real and great! Many of them will be called on time and time again whilst you are at uni so keeping them all together and safe is crucial. You'll need everything from you passport, driving licence, national insurance, birth certificate, in some cases your immunization history.


As for books, I was deliberating and deliberating about buying the books off my reading list. There is no need to buy any such books if you prefer not to, they are easily attainable through the library and you are free to renew as often as you like - until they are recalled! And by exam time, finding those abundant book becomes quite a struggle. I, personally, am a book lover and I prefer to have something for reference always available at hand. I settled to buying 1 or 2 of the most useful books which cover several of my modules. It is advisable to speak to former students on your course to find out which books they used the most often in  their first year. There will be University associated book suppliers, but shop around. I find Amazon a cheaper option majority of the time.

If your brain tends to behave like a seive, as mine does on many an occason, I would recommend an academic planner, or mid-year planner. By the time you are only 3/4 of the way through your year you will be up to your throats with work, appointments, deadlines and so on and a planner is a good way of keeping track of it all. I got stationary-happy last year and bought an impressive A5 one that then became a chore to lug around, this year I have opted for a tiny little pocket diary.

Additional

First Aid: plasters and antiseptic spray and cotton, you never know when you will need them!
I forgot to pack a nail cutter when I first went, so easy to overlook but you will notice its absence, I promise! Oh and you may need extra money for your first few weeks, people do like to excessively enjoy themselves at this time of year and then there is the freshers fair!


I am trying to rinse my brain out, I cannot think of what I have missed, I am sure there is plenty, so if you think of something or have a question to ask, do let me know!

Finally take with you the things that speak you and the things you cannot live without, you are less likely to feel homesick that way especially during your low times - we all have them.  For me these were my artwork, some of my favorite books, an entire shelf dedicated to my makeup and perfume, some gifts from my family etc. Make the room your own, it feels so much more comfortable and happier that way. You will feel right at home in no time!

This has been the longest and most exhaustive post I have ever written, I hope it was well worth reading for you guys. Give me a +1 and follow me for more posts and updates and be sure to share this post with anyone else moving out who may find this useful! I want to wish you all the best and remember it is only up from here!

Lots of Love xxx

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