Packing for University can be a challenge, there's no doubt about it.
What on Earth do you bring with you to survive an entire year in a totally new place?
Luckily for you, we've been there and done that with Uni packing. To stop you making the same mistakes as we did, we're on-hand to help you tackle the impossible task of throwing your life possessions into a few suitcases and boxes.
Read on for some hints, tips, and a few surprises you may not have even considered bringing.
1. Important Documents
Over the past few months, you may have found yourself bombarded with all sorts of different paperwork, prospectuses from Universities, booklets, results transcripts, and just about every other piece of printed matter. If you're like us and have dumped them all in to a dark untouched corner and referred to it as your 'filing system', now's the time to sift through it to see what's needed.
Here's what we'd recommend:
Passport/Citizen Card & Driving License*
* It's important to try and take more than one form of I.D. with you - just in case one gets lost!
University & Course Acceptance Letters
If you cannot find the physical copy, check your emails for a digital one.
Student Finance Paperwork
You may need these upon enrolment to show that you can pay your tuition fees.
These prove to your accommodation or halls provider when collecting your keys that you are who you say you are.
National Insurance Number/Letter
If you're looking to work in Leicester, make sure you either memorise or download a copy of this from the HMRC website, you'll need to present it to your employer for tax purposes.
If you are an International student, bring your Home Office documentation as proof of your right to study and work - you may need to present this upon enrolment.
2. A Bottle Opener
Whether you drink alcohol or not, at some point during your time at University, you'll be asked for one of these and being able to answer 'yes' will set you off on the right foot in making friends for life.
After all, nobody wants to be hitting the side of a table repeatedly or worse, footing the bill of a very expensive trip to the dentist. To be super portable, grab yourself one for your keyring.
3. A Clothes Horse
If you're one of those people whose washing instructions are "Give it to someone else in your household, they'll know how to do it" - your days are numbered. One of the downsides of coming to Uni is most definitely having to navigate washing your own clothes. If you're staying in halls, you're most likely going to have to use your room to air dry your items if you've not got access to a tumble dryer.
To avoid looking like you're turning your new home in to some sort of fashion museum, invest in a clothes horse. They're really inexpensive but are incredibly useful as they allow you to hang your washing from them until it's dry whilst saving space. Here are some options from Amazon, Dunelm, and Argos.
4. Flu Tablets
2020 is no doubt a year we'll all never forget - for the wrong reasons. However, take lots of people and put them somewhere new with the coming together of all of the different germs and bacteria in the air, the infamous Freshers' Flu will no doubt manifest itself at some point.
Here are our top tips and advice for avoiding Freshers' flu:
Wear a mask in public places if you can,
Adhere to social distancing guidelines set by the Government.
Stock up on tablets in case you do get sick.
Get a good night's sleep wherever possible.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it might be worth speaking to your doctor about the flu jab before you arrive at University as an extra preventative measure.
Remember: Protect those around you, if you start to feel unwell, stay at home.
5. Coat Hangers
Possibly the most elusive item on the whole list. You know when you're buying things from a shop and the assistant says "do you want to keep the hanger?", you're going to curse all the times you said no if you don't bring these.
The amount of students that get moved in without a hitch then reach the unpacking stage only to notice that the previous tenant emptied their wardrobe bare is too high to count. Save yourself the hassle of a panic-buy and remember this (literal) wardrobe staple.
6. Slippers or Sliders
Whether you're nipping down to reception to grab a parcel, you've left the timer on the washing machine a little bit late, or you're letting in *THAT* housemate who can't seem to remember their front door key, having something to slide on to your feet is a great option.
Wear them in the kitchen, round the house, to do the laundry, to take the bin out or to nip down to the local shop for a pint of milk - wherever really! Trust us, you won't regret this purchase.
7. Colander, Potato Peeler, Tin Opener (All the Utensils)
Unless you're really in to your culinary delights, chances are that you'll be eating a lot of go-to staple meals - at least for the first few weeks anyway. There's nothing worse than heading to the kitchen drawer only to find you can't open that can of beans, you can't sieve your pasta, and you can do anything other than boil your potatoes whole.
Don't rely on your housemates or new accommodation friends to have brought these items, they're probably thinking the exact same thing as you. It's better to come a little over-prepared than for your cheesy pasta surprise to look like a bowl of unstrained chicken noodle soup.
Amongst all the last-minute running around trying to get your waviest threads out of the washing basket, towels are very easily forgotten. Picture the scene: one minute you're having your first relaxing shower at your new halls and the next you're having to make the soaking wet 'dash of death' across your corridor to avoid being seen.
Our best advice is to bring more than one if you can fit them in to your suitcases so that you can put one out to wash and use the other, but if you can't: bring a hand towel and a full-size towel.
We should also add here that tea towels also fall under 'towels', and you should try and bring lots. Lots of spillages can happen in shared kitchens and they somehow always go missing.
9. Oven Gloves
If you intend to brave the oven from day one to cook up a storm for your new mates, make sure you come prepared. Burnt fingers and hands are most definitely a fun-killer.
Despite the majority of gadgets coming with a wall charger nowadays, batteries crop up where you least expect them. The TV remote is on the blink? You need AAA's. The alarm clock isn't waking you up? AA's.
Remember - spares are always handy!
Other useful items:
Planner or Calendar
Clothing for all weathers
Reusable Water Bottles
Hopefully this list has you thinking about all of the useful things you're thinking of bringing. It's always better to be over-prepared so if you're not sure if you'll need that item or not, pack it anyway!
If there's something obscure and useful, share the wealth and comment down below - you could be saving a life.
Freshers Wellbeing Checklist
1. Bring your Home Comforts
Take things that will make your room feel like him. That could be pictures, photos of your friends and family, your favourite cushion or bed spread, and definitely your portable speakers!
2. Join A Group
Remember everyone is in the same boat! And everyone needs a friend. So if you are a natural extrovert, try to make friends with an introvert. Also feel free to take a look at the various teams, groups and societies that Leicester University SU run. They run “give it a go” sessions where you can try out a new sport or society free of charge. You might meet someone there you have something in common with. Take Sua look at their website by clicking here: https://www.leicesterunion.com/
3. Go Explore
Leicester City is a great place to live and call home. Take some time to go see the shops, restaurants, cinemas and other places like the University Botanical Gardens, or the crazy golf in the High Cross shopping area. There is Victoria Park which has lots happening and is a great space for outdoor sport and socialising. Don’t forget the museum which is free and always has interesting stuff. And of course, Leicester City Tigers Football Stadium! There is always lots going on in Leicester, check out the visit Leicester Website to see what’s happening across the city! https://www.visitleicester.info/whats-on
4. Take your time
The transition into Uni life can be a challenge at times. So do not worry if you find yourself overwhelmed and not understanding everything straight away. This is a new stage of life, so there is no rush! Make sure you are having rest time, keeping in touch with friends and family, and taking care of your physical and mental health. Leicester University SU have an advice service that offer all kinds of clinics and services that help you when your mental health is good, and also when you need support. To access them go their webpage by pressing this link here: https://www.leicesterunion.com/support/adviceservice/