When you are heading off for your first year at university (or indeed any year of university) it can be quite tricky to know exactly what you need to pack. Do you need to take your own bedding? How many fancy dress outfits is too many?
The key is to first have a look at the things that your university halls of accommodation will provide and then start making lists. Give yourself time to figure out what you need and shop around for the best deals so you can make sure you don't forget anything.
First, some quick tips:
- There are differences between what you will need to take between catered and self-catered halls. Make sure you check what will be required for the one you have selected.
- If you can contact your flatmates before heading to university, it may be worth doing so, so you can share communal items.
- Don't pack your entire wardrobe. No, seriously. Wardrobe space is usually pretty limited and it's unlikely you will need all your clothes straight away. You can always swap and change clothes when you head back home for the holidays.
- If you do forget something, it isn't the end of the world. You can either buy it or spend some time without it to see if you really do need it.
Step 1: packing perfection
The first thing to do is to make a list. Split it into categories based on the different areas of your home and university life. These different categories could include: bedroom (clothing, bedding, towels comfort items); kitchen (pots and pans, cutlery, crockery), study (notebooks, textbooks) and miscellaneous (electronics, hobbies). Be brutal and realistic with your list. There will be many things that you think you need, but you won't end up using at all. Remember you can always bring things back from home later on in the term if you really miss them.
Then have a look and see what kinds of things you can buy when you get to university. For example some universities offer discounts in bookshops near them for textbooks so may be worth getting them when you head there. Next, you will need to determine how you are going to get everything there in one piece – and thus we move on to transport…
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Step 2: logistics – getting all this stuff to university
Pack all of your items in labelled boxes for ease of unpacking. Clothes can be packed in suitcases as they are easier to store in your university room and find either collapsible boxes, or boxes that you can use to store things when you go back home. Remember to keep some boxes as you will need them when you leave at the end of the year.
Then you have to figure out how you're going to get all of that over to your university. If you can fit it into one car then that's great. Otherwise you could see if there is anyone from near where you live heading to your university and see if you can share lifts.
Step 3: once you get there
When you arrive at your accommodation, the first thing you’ll want to do is unpack and plan where everything is going to go. Try putting your bedding on first and putting some pictures or home comforts up so your room looks more personal to you straight away. Then you can start putting your clothes and kitchen stuff away.
Make sure you also make time to meet and get to know your flatmates too. Prop your door open so you can chat to anyone who walks past and compare notes on the Fresher's events that you plan on attending. It also isn't a bad idea to put some chocolates or biscuits out for your fellow flatmates. It can help break the ice.
If you can, see if you can do a little food shop as well, to stock up your cupboards with some things that will get you through fresher's week. Chances are you won't have much time over the week to buy food and you don't want to rely on takeaway every night. Some fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta and a pasta sauce will be enough to give you a few meals.