Ten Essentials to Take to University

The dawn of a new era in your life is rapidly approaching: perhaps it’s already here. When forced into independence in such a way you’re likely to find yourself unprepared. In your eyes, cooking a simple plate of beans on toast is comparable to navigating the Sahara, so how on earth are you supposed to know what you’ll need to survive the harsh environment of university life.

Your trusty friends at the Complete University Guide have done it again – here’s our list of essentials to help you get by at uni:  

10. Cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery – but don’t go crazy

You may be tempted to drag your parents out and bully them into buying the whole of Argos’ kitchenware double page spread. No need. Just get a few bits and bobs, see what your flatmates turn up with and pitch in together. It’s highly unlikely that your equally eager flatmate will refuse to lend you their wooden spoon from time to time. Remember, they’re just as keen to make a new friend as you are. Failing that, go to the shop a week or two into term time, the world will survive your kitchen shortcomings – we promise.

Cooking utensils            

9. First aid kit/ medicine cabinet

Ever heard of Fresher’s Flu? 1,000s of fledgling adults coming together in a strange city or town equals many a strange germ for your immune system to cope with. We won’t go into the science, just accept the inevitable and prepare. Bring a few Lemsips (other brands are available), some ibuprofen and a plaster or two – they’re sure to come in-handy.

First aid

8. Bed sheets/ towel…and a couple of spares

Don’t be that student. Personal hygiene can fall by the wayside without a proper adult around to take care of it for you, but lacking a clean set of bed sheets? There’s just no excuse. A lot of students also forget that in the absence of a tumble dryer freshly washed sheets need a bit of a time to dry. Bring a spare to eliminate this issue. Student digs are a hotspot for the spread of infections and parasites, and with bedrooms being a key place for chilling, keeping it clean will help keep the bugs and germs at bay.

Bed sheets

7. Files/ diary

Nerd alert. We’re afraid to report that adult life has its flaws and they come in the form of documents. Keeping all important documentation organised and close to hand can seriously ease the process when organising a cheeky jaunt abroad, hiring a car, applying for a bank account and all sorts of other strictly adult pursuits. It may seem a pain but get yourself a couple of folders and get hole-punching – for the meticulous amongst our readers, go the whole hog with plastic wallets and file dividers.


6. Biros

Time to ditch your trusty fountain pen and go biro. The reason being, lectures, lectures and yet more lectures. Lectures can run at a fast pace with a lot of information being fired at you in any one sitting. Forget about neat handwriting, that doesn’t matter anymore, it’s all about taking notes and keeping up with your lecturer. You’ll be thankful when it comes to exam time and you’ve got a half decent set of notes to revise from.


5. Laptop

If at all possible try to get your hands on one of these, it’ll become your portable study, administrative and entertainment centre all at once. Your university halls are unlikely to have a fully equipped living room let alone a fully formatted PC so what are you going to do with your downtime? Don’t get us wrong, we love a good book at the Complete University Guide but you’re going to want to switch off from time to time – get the iPlayer on and stream an Attenborough documentary if the latest structured reality show makes you worry for your sanity.


4. Extension Lead

Despite the photos you probably know very little about your new room. The chances are there will be one plug socket, at most two, in the most bewildering location possible. Prepare for this eventuality with a simple extension lead, this equals more sockets and the flexibility to have your room how you like it – problem solved.

Extension lead

3. Brain

Contrary to popular opinion, uni isn’t just a few years of parties and couch days all at the expense of the taxpayer, there’s work to be done and plenty of it. University may be your one chance to learn deeply about the subject you love. Being taught by experts in the field with access to all the associated literature and, for certain subjects, some pretty funky gadgets – a university education in the UK is an absolute privilege (despite the price tag) and an experience to be savoured.


2. Party piece

Whatever type of person you are, prepare to let your hair down a little. Bring something to aid the process of meeting new people, a party piece if you will. Maybe that’s an authentically Mexican bottle of Tequila you picked up whilst backpacking around the world, or a board game for lazy Sundays – get involved and break the ice with a little something.   

Party time

1. Your dignity

Many freshers turn up to university crippled by the fear of being unable to make friends and finding happiness in their new surroundings. This leads to them completely compromising their sense of self in order to ‘fit in’. University life has a rather infamous reputation for its binge drinking culture. Yes this kind of lifestyle is prevalent at a lot of universities but joining in isn’t a must. Perhaps this is what you’re after. All we’re saying is make sure to be yourself. University, like society, houses a variety of people. You may not find your group straightaway but be patient and stay true to yourself and you’ll get there.