Going to university is an exciting and unique opportunity for many people, but it can also be stressful at times. Most first-year university students have never lived away from their parents, let alone in a new city or country. The trouble of enrolment, paying tuition fees and gathering all the items and documents needed to live on your own may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, our experts here at EDUopinions are here to help. In this article, we provide a complete list of things you need for university, so your last few days before move-in can be as stress-free as possible.
What to take to university?
A good way to approach this question is to take note of everything you use during the course of a week. Try jotting down every personal item you use, all the appliances or tools you use, and how many different pieces of clothing you go through in a week. This will help give you an idea of the quantity of things you need. If this list becomes too big for your suitcase, consider downsizing! Many student accommodations are quite small and may not have ample storage space.
In general, new students at university should bring clothing (at least enough until reading week or winter break, when you can return home), some personal items (books, posters, games, letters, etc.), important documents (see below) and, depending on where you live, appliances/furniture for the bedroom and kitchen.
Key documents checklist
Perhaps the least glamorous part of this list, certain documents are very important for your university debut. First, make sure you bring some form of identification; for domestic students, a driving licence or ID card should suffice. For international students, be sure to bring your passport and visa documentation if applicable. Next, your university most likely sent you some information regarding your acceptance, enrolment and maybe your new student credentials. If this is the case, be sure to print and bring those documents as well. Doing so will make your registration as smooth as possible.
Other important documents to bring along include any statements you have regarding student finance or scholarships and bursaries—these may be required for enrolment. If you have a bank card you will use at university, bring that too, but many students also start new bank accounts once they arrive.
Any medical documents you may have are also important to remember. Bring a copy of your vaccination record to provide your new GP. If you take any prescription medication, speak with your current GP about how you should go about that while at university. Finally, remember to bring any insurance documents (medical, student, travel or otherwise).
If you plan to move into self-catered accommodation, bringing some kitchen items will help keep you from going hungry! Depending on what type of cook you are, you may need more tools than are listed here, but the most basic items you should have in your kitchen include: 1-2 plates and bowls, 1-2 sets of cutlery, 1-2 glasses and mugs, a knife, cutting board, small pot or pan, baking sheet and a tea towel or two. In addition, your flatmates would surely appreciate you bringing some washing up liquid and sponges. If you know your cooking requires more than just the bare minimum, other items to consider are a whisk, large spoon, mixing bowl, sieve, cheese grater and Tupperware for your delicious leftovers!
Basic bedroom necessities include things like sheets, pillow, duvet, mattress protector, hangers, clock, and clothes horse. Of course, these items are important, but there is also more to consider. Your bedroom at university should feel comfortable and should be a space where you feel safe and welcome. Bringing some personal items like photos of friends and family, old letters, a diary or other knick-knacks can make you feel more at home in this new space. Other extra things to consider bringing may include posters, a lamp, desk fan, a rug, some games or some books.
The academic supplies you bring to university really depend on your individual study habits. That said, your first year of university is a great time to pick up new techniques. With your coursework likely being more difficult than it has ever been, starting new revision habits may well pay off in the end. Notebooks, pens, highlighters, and sticky notes are all classic tools to help you study. Staplers, scissors, calculators and rulers can be helpful to have around too (or mandatory depending on your course). If you are looking for something more technologically advanced, many students use tablets to take notes in class, saving space and paper.
Speaking of technology, laptops are very useful at university, as almost all content is put online and many universities have online submission links for essays and projects. If you do not have a laptop, not to worry; your university most likely has computers you can use or even take on loan. Or, you could consider applying to your university for funding to buy a computer.
Next up, what kind of toiletries should you bring? This list may be longer than you expect, but you never know what you may need to take care of yourself. The most important items are towels, hand soap, shower gel, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush/comb, nail cutters, tweezers, menstrual products, plasters, safe-sex supplies and razors. It can also be a good idea to bring some paracetamol or ibuprofen, along with any other prescription medications you may take. One non-negotiable bathroom item is footwear for communal showers; wearing some form of shower shoe helps keep everyone’s feet clean, especially when living with many others.
Other things to consider
Moving away from home is a big step, but a thrilling one full of new possibilities. In order to prepare, it is best to think about what may make the journey more comfortable for you. Ask your mum for your favourite recipe of hers. Bring a teddy or something special from your room at home. Stock up on things you will not be able to buy where your university is, like local foods or drinks, books in your native language or even just special soaps or lotions you like from home.
While it is important to feel comfortable in your new space, remember that physical possessions can only do so much. Try not to get too hung up on bringing every single item you think you may ever need. You are bound to miss something, but that is part of the experience! Asking your flatmates for things and finding what you need in a new city is part of the learning you will do at university. It is also a great way to meet new people who surely will be in a similar situation.
The bottom line
We hope this list of things you need for university has pointed you in the right direction as you prepare to embark on your next journey. If nothing else, remember to take care of yourself and not to worry too much about the uncertainties.
Are you nearly packed and ready to go? To help you in your first few weeks then read our list of 8 powerful habits for new students to create or this great resource on how to make friends in your first year.