During those few days before your escape to freedom - or the beginning of your university life, whatever you chose to call it - the words 'Have you packed this?' will be repeated by your parents to a degree that will eventually test your sanity. We remember it well, 'Have you packed this? Have you packed that? Have you packed that dental floss, which I know you'll never use, but bought for you anyway?'
For some you'll find your Mum at the brink of collapse, coming home with bags of stuff you never imagined you'd need; pocket sized sewing kits, antiseptic cream, bandages, and stacks of Tupperware boxes that could barely hold a grape. Yes, your parents may go a bit nutty, especially if you're their first or only child leaving home for the first time. However, believe it or not, our advice to you is TAKE IT ALL, and take it gladly. There will come a time where you'll be very grateful for it, especially when you're sat at five in the morning stitching buttons back onto a cowgirl top you borrowed from a girl downstairs. You can't remember her name to save your life but you're stitching away nonetheless, and you're stitching by the dim glow of a wind-up torch that miraculously made it into your suitcase because the lights in your flat aren't working. University is a blur of unexpected events, so just take anything your family try forcing onto you. Even those suspicious cans of corn beef hash your Grandma's probably been saving since the War. Trust us, a tasty stew will one day seem very appealing to you after months of beans on toast.
On a more serious note, there are some items that are pretty crucial for that first week and beyond:
A fancy dress costume - because there is bound to be a night out which demands stupid hats and dangerous amounts of face paint.
Passport photos –at Uni you’ll be told having lots of cards is important; library card, student card, etc.
A T.V license for those taking a telly - you’ll be bombarded with emails saying ‘they’ are checking up on whether you’re breaking the law. It’s annoying and expensive, but a lot less expensive than paying a £1000 fine.
Bin bags, and not necessarily for storing rubbish, they make great outfits for foam parties if you don’t want to get your labels ruined.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, - two significant items that often get ignored.
Chargers for ALL electrical equipment, and an extension lead – you can bet if you don’t have one there will only be one plug that actually works...!
Pens, lots of them, paper, lots of that too.
Your own duvet, because even though your student accommodation might come with one, chances are it’ll be pretty grim.
Any required documentation which may include; passport, driving license, certificates, letter saying you definitely got a place at that University. (You’ll be informed of what documents you’ll need either by post of email, make sure you read it thoroughly so you don’t forget anything).
A first aid kit and Paracetamol, and more than one pack – two words...Fresher’s Flu.
A USB drive or Hardrive – this is a must, as most student laptops can be pretty temperamental!
As for kitchen equipment, we’d suggest getting the brightest, nastiest looking set of pans, plates, and especially cutlery, so everyone knows it’s yours. When it comes to cups and glasses – plastic is best for obvious reasons. Even if you are staying in catered accommodation, you will always fancy a cup of tea, or a bowl of cereal, so even if you pack one of everything, it will still come in handy.
And last but not least, a door stopper - leaving your door open while you’re unpacking is a great way to get chatting to your new flatmates.
This is by no means a definitive list – obviously there are other things (like clothes...) that might be pretty essential when you get to university, but just a few things that loots of people forget, or don’t think of, and which will come in VERY hand when you arrive on your first day. Above all...don’t stress out! As with any packing situation, you’re bound to forget something, but don’t worry about it! Supermarkets and high street shops sell pretty much everything, so you can always pop out and pick up whatever it is you suddenly need!