Moving into your own space away from home can simultaneously be the most exciting, but also the most terrifying first step of going to University. Knowing what to bring with you can be a challenge, so I want to offer some blunt, straight forward advice on what you don’t need to bring with you. In all honesty this post will probably be one of the most hypocritical pieces I have ever written… When I first moved to St. Andrews our car was so jammed full warning lights were flashing because the vehicle was so over weight! Lets just say I’m a bit of a hoarder and was intent on moving my entire life over with me! I should probably take some of my own advice when I’m packing in the next few days, but even if I’m a lost cause some of you might be able to learn from my hoarding habits…
1. Every kitchen utensil known to man
Particularly true if you are going into halls for first year, put down the potato ricer! Have a good look at the kitchen inventory list, it will likely cover most of the basics and see you through first year, particularly if you’re in catered accommodation. I promise the majority of those vegetable steamers bought in a September supermarket sweep, with all the great intentions of kick starting a healthier new you in reality function more as dust collectors.
What you actually need: Invest in a Wok, perfect for every kind of ‘I’ll just cook up all the random half eaten vegetables and add some noodles’ student meals. Do bring a nice mug, your coffee will taste so much better. I also purchased a Nutribullet blender which is a great way to boost your fruit and veg intake – if smoothies and juices are your thing it’s the perfect way to defend yourself from ‘freshers flu’ the library cough that goes around at exam time!
2. Your entire wardrobe (including that jumper some distant relative gave you that you never really liked anyway)
Trust me, I’ve tried! As hard as it might seem, try to be selective – university halls do not have slide robes and weren’t built for shopaholics.
What you actually need: Try and stick to two suitcases and pack for the season. If you can fit everything into just two cases it means you should be able to fit everything in your wardrobe, but crucially you can take advantage of the student baggage policy. If you fly with Flybe and book one case in hold luggage, as a student, you get a second for free. That’s an extra £30 at least to spend on some duty free goodies! You can always change what you’ve got in your university wardrobe at Christmas and bring some winter jumpers home at Easter in exchange for some more summer clothes. That is of course unless you’re at uni in St. Andrews. In which case, don’t surrender the cable knit, ever.
3. Your A level notes or every book on the reading list
Your A levels are history and as for your notes? Give them away, sell them, shred them or burn them in a bonfire, the choice is yours but don’t bother lugging them to university because you won’t need them. Equally, it is totally unnecessary to purchase all the books that are on the reading list for your course at uni. Particularly if you are doing an arts degree; most of the time material will be online or you’ll only be assigned a chapter or two from one book.
What you actually need: Save yourself the cash by being selective, purchase the core texts (if there are any) and make use of your university library.
4. Random miscellaneous items that you ‘might need’
Believe it or not there will be shops wherever you are moving to. Shocking I know! This being said there is an obvious urge to personalise your new space and make it homely which is entirely understandable. However, that bag that is filled with the trinkets that cluttered your teenage bedroom takes up valuable space.
What you actually need: A little reminder of home can be the perfect way to make your room cosier. Personally, I brought some photos for my display board and one or two personal items that had been thoughtful gifts. I had no Tayto withdrawal symptoms but I do swear that the Cadburys chocolate from the Republic of Ireland tastes so much better than what you buy in UK shops – there’s no harm in throwing in a product or two that you know you can’t get if you’re moving out of the country!