Thursday, 20 August 2015

So You're Going to Uni, huh?

Yesterday marked the anniversary of A-level results day, meaning that thousands of you poor teens had to go and meet your doom, in the form of that all-important results slip. What with it being that time of year it seemed appropriate for my first ever blog post ever (big deal, okay?) to be about going to university, including some general advice and a lovely little check list of important things to take with you. Lies, I’ve actually included a MASSIVE list that includes everything you’ll ever need and more for anyone paranoid about forgetting something important because I’m nice like that.
So first of all, congratulations! Whether you got what you wanted/needed or not, well done, A-Levels are bloody tough and you got through it. Unfortunately not everyone gets the grades they deserve as exams and coursework can occur when other things in your life are falling apart or you can be unlucky enough to sit a really shitty paper. So don’t feel bad for not doing as well as you feel you should have because no matter how hard you try, and how much you revise somethings are still left to the luck of the draw, because life’s a bitch and that’s the way things happen. You can still go amazing places and do great things not matter your grades, but at the end of the day there’s always resits if that’s what you want.

Moving onwards, those of you that have chosen to pack up and head near or far to University this post is for you. Whether first choice or insurance, university is a great experience in every which way, so get excited! (You are allowed to be a bit nervous too). For you the work has only just started, however personally I thought it all got a whole lot easier after A-Levels, man they were tough!
So apart from sorting out student finance, accommodation, etc, you have to go out and get everything you’ll need for your new home! So here I am, like superman, ready to save the day!

I dug way back into the past, and found my original list of everything I packed for university way back in 2013, so here it goes.

You’ll have to be incredibly lucky to have anything but a standard single first year at uni, and for the most of you new sheets and duvets etc are a must if you don’t want to have to be carrying one set back and forth every time you visit home. But then again maybe buying new stuff for home and taking the old to uni would be a better choice for those of you who might get home sick pretty easily as familiar bedding and home smells can be very soothing on those first sober nights.

-Bottom sheet, Duvet Cover and Pillow Cases (I would recommend at least 2 sets if not 3, as when exam periods strike you might not be able keep up with regular washing and no one likes stinky sheets)
-Singe Duvet
-Pillow x2
-Warm Blanket/Quilt (This is a must if you want to save on heating bills during the winter!)
Hot Water Bottle (for same reason as above)
-Mattress Protector or ‘Under Blanket’ (Something to help make a potentially horribly old mattress provide a better night’s sleep and protect from leaving or having to sleep on any potential dodgy stains.)
-Sleeping Bag

You want your room to feel like, well YOUR room, so I would definitely recommend taking things to add that personal flourish. This kinda thing will also probably help you feel settled quicker.

-Photos and/or photo frames
-Alarm Clock
-Door Wedge (wedging your door open means you’ll be able to see people arriving and create a more social atmosphere, rather than closing yourself off from all the creepy strangers you’ll be living with for 9 months.. Don’t let them stay creepy strangers for too long!)
-Name Plaque for door
-Desk Lamp
-Candles / Incense / Reed Diffuser (check if allowed with accommodation)
-Towel Set (I would recommend 2 or 3 big towels for showering/bathing and 2 hand towels for your bathroom or en-suite)
Clothes Wash Basket
-Personalized Mug

I would hope clothes, and having something to wear would be an obvious one and that you can decide for yourself what outfits, pajama sets or nighties you want to take with you but here’s some additional things you might forget:

-Dressing Gown (Believe me after 2 months you will not have the effort to get dressed every morning before walking into your shared bathroom/lounge/kitchen so taking something comfortable warm and easy to sling on if you want to dash out your room for 2 minutes is a must, if you want to modest that is. There’s always be someone comfortable walking around naked, and it was not me.)
-Jumpers and Hoodies galore! (That thing I said earlier about saving on heating, yeah same applies here)
-Freshers outfits! (Look up what events are going on over the freshers week/fortnight and plan outfits in advance and take options! You don’t know what you’ll feel comfortable on the night and who you’ll be sitting next to in the taxi to, you don’t want to feel frumpy in comparison to your too hot to trot new flatmate or feel too overdressed. But at the end of the day take things you know you will be comfortable in!)
-Evening dress (Not the same as freshers outfit, this is your posh dress for any Christmas society meals you get invited to and can’t afford something new for because you’ve spent all your loan)
Interview clothes (Once you’re settled you might want to apply for a part time job)
Swim wear
-Gym things or sports clothes and trainers (Societies!!)
Waterproof shoes
-Shoe polish kit (Your mother/father/parent/guardian/maid won’t be there to make your shoes all shiny for you.)

This is self explanatory really, you need copies of everything!

-Copy of Tenancy Agreement
-University Acceptance Letter
-Copies of certificates
-Passport and/or Driving License (Provisional or otherwise you need a form of ID)
-National Insurance Card/Number
-Details of vaccination history (You’ll be registering with a new GP when you get up there)
Medical Documents/Papers
-Insurance Documents
-Passport Photos (take 4, you’ll never know when you’ll need them)
-Relevant Student Finance Information/Documents
-Cheque Book, Paying in Book, Debit/Credit Cards, Bank or Building Society Information
-Travel Discount Cards (for instance a 16-25 Railcard, this will save you so much money and I would suggest buying a 3 year one straight away)
-CV and references

When it comes to all things electrical you will have to check with your university/accommodation in regard to what’s allowed. For my first 2 years chip fryers, grills and lamps were forbidden.
-Extension lead (You will need at least one, as plugs can be in limited supply or in ridiculous unusable places – make sure whatever you buy is surge protected)

-Mobile Phone (as if anyone would forget that)
Headphones (Noise cancelling if you can!)
-All your chargers and spare batteries
-A Small Black and White printer will be your best friend, they’re so handy!! (Don’t forget the ink and paper to go with)
Memory Stick
-Speakers or docking station
-USB lead
-Hair Dryer (You can do better than the 9am Lecture Wet Hair look)

Let’s face it during freshers week you’re going to get the drunker than you have ever been in your life, and accidents are bound to happen. If it’s not a drunken blood spill then it’ll be ‘I’ve cooked before burn’ or just a nasty slip with a knife when trying to get the seed out an avocado. Either way it’s best to have those plasters ready for any potential disasters!

-Any Prescription Medicines (take at least a month’s worth as you’ll be so busy being social you’ll forget all about picking up repeats)
Contraception (Uni is notorious for the drinking and the one night stands so be protected! From STIs, not just pregnancy)
Multi-vitamins (you probably won’t be eating properly for the first week and they’ll help protect you from fresher’s flu!)
Cold and Flu Tablets/Medicine (Fresher’s flu is real, and that bitch is coming for you!)
-Throat Lozenges
-Plasters for disasters!
-Antiseptic cream
-Nail Scissors
-Numbers of local doctors and/or surgeries (Different surgeries and universities have different ways of dealing with students and sometimes it can take a while to find your local or be seen, therefore it’s best not to wait til you feel like you’re on your deathbed to try and find this kind of info)
Remember 111 is the UK number for non-emergency medical advice.

You need to eat, and no student can afford to live off takeaways or beans on toast. Learn to cook, whether it’s from your momma/papa/older sibling or experimenting with a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

-Kettle (one may be provided, or everyone in your flat could turn up with one but be prepared to go without your first-thing cup of tea/coffee in the morning! Same goes for a toaster and toast.)
-Small Casserole Dish
-Small Frying Pan
-Saucepans (one small and one medium)
Tin Opener
-Flat Baking Tray
-Bottle Opener (There’s going to be nothing worse than not being able to pre-drink because you have no way of getting into your beers!)
-Cork Screw
Tin Opener (Because you will be having baked beans or spaghetti hoops at some point)
Potato Peeler-Cheese Grater
-Wooden Spoon
-Mixing Bowl
-Measuring Jug
-Microwavable Bowl and Plate
-Water Jug and/or Filter (Just in case you don’t like the taste of the water and keeping a jug in your room helps remind you to keep hydrated, especially when you don’t want to have to leave your bed because of that hangover)
-Chopping Knives
-Colander (to drain rice, vegetables, pasta – just because so many people don’t seem to know what one is)
Chopping Board
-Tee Towels
-Kitchen Scissors
-Then the obvious cutlery, crockery and glasses
-Tupperware (Great for storing leftovers)
Sandwich Bags
-Plastic Drinks Bottle
-Biscuit Tin
-Tin Foil and/or Cling Film
-Sugar Jar
-Recipe Book! (or a collection of your cookery lesson notes/instructions)
-Lunch Box
-Washing Up Liquid

You have no maid, so the same applies here as it does with the learning to cook. Learn to use a washing machine, and a hoover if you don’t already know.

-Washing Powder
-Fabric Softener
-Laundry Bag
-Drying Rack (the uni may provide one, and even if you have a tumble dryer a drying rack could save you some money in the long run)
Coat Hangers
-Sponges and Scourers
-Small Tub for hand washing

-As many Gift or loyalty cards as you can possibly collect from friends and family
-Extra storage
-Books and Novels
-Pocket Organiser
-Holdall, Weekend Bag or Mini Suitcase
-Permanent Markers (You might want to name your stuff)
-Cards for ring of fire!
-Map of the area
-Local Taxi numbers
I think that’s everything, phew!

The thing to remember is you’re not necessarily going to have a great deal of storage space in your first year, so it’s up to you to prioritize! There will be certain things that you might wish to leave to get once you’re up in your new dwelling and have a better idea of how things are.  I wish you the best of luck for the start of your journey and if you thought this post was helpful in the slightest please let me know, as it’s my first one!


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