The Internet is full of lists of things that you should bring to university, and a lot of it seems very obvious. Toothbrush? Er, yes. But what about the more unusual items? This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you need to take to uni, and there will always be the annoying bits you forget and need to buy, but it should help you on your way.
What to bring
1. Fancy dress –This is a staple of any student night out, particularly during Freshers’ Week, when there will be more school discos and neon rave parties than seems humanly possible. It’s a good idea to stock up on some cheap costume elements that can be reused, you can always buy when you get here of course, but you may find some basic things at home. Bring an old school tie, some cheap face paints and an old white sheet (for toga parties, doubles up as ghost for Hallowe’en too) and you should hopefully be sorted for a while. Though inevitably at the end of the year you’ll be astonished as to how much themed junk you will have acquired.
2. Door stop –It sounds simple, but the easiest way to get to know people during Freshers’ Week is to keep your door open ready for socialising. If you barricade yourself in your room, most people won’t knock because of politeness or shyness. Owning a door stop isn’t strictly necessary but you might find it tiresome having to drag something heavy over every time you want to keep the door open.
3. DVDs –Despite the general view of Freshers’ Week, it’s not 24/7 partying. There will be times when you and your flatmates will simply want to all squash into one room and watch a film, preferably with microwave popcorn. Don’t bother bringing your whole collection, but select a few to share with your new flatmates.
4. Pins/Blu-tack/Post-it notes –Not the most exciting of items, but stationery is essential and often forgotten about. Buy them cheap at home (Rymans do 10% discount with an NUS card) instead of having to buy them when you get to York. It’s a good idea to put Post-it notes with your names on the room doors, so you can learn where everyone lives. They won’t be needed for long and it does save the embarrassment of knocking on someone’s door and realising you’ve forgotten their name.
5. Earplugs –You never know who you’re going to get as a neighbour, and student room walls are, inevitably, very thin. So unless you want to endure thrash metal or the sounds of a one night stand every night, earplugs might be a wise investment.
6. Sewing kit –It doesn’t have to be a vast basket containing all the colours of thread under the sun, but it’s worth getting a small sewing kit containing a needle, a few colours of thread and some buttons. Depending on the size, you can get ones costing £5. Instead of having to wait until the holidays when your mum can fix it or buying afresh, you can easily sew up a hole yourself, saving time and money.
7. Smart clothes for potential interviews –It’s easy to forget about smart clothes when packing, but if you want to get a part-time job in York, a smart pair of trousers and a shirt will be essential for interviews. Don’t forget CVs and references either, as well as your National Insurance number.
8. USB stick –This is essential for backing up your work and transferring to a university computer in order to print, especially if you don’t own your own printer. A 2GB stick will only set you back around £10–£15 and could save you the many hours of frustration that come with losing an essay.
What not to bring –
1. TV –It will stop you doing work, needs a £100 license and most of the programs it supplies can be easily watched on the Internet catch-up services.
2. Posters –Don’t bother bringing these from home unless you have a particular favourite because there are poster sales throughout the year on campus, especially during Freshers’ Week. Cheap and colourful, they make any room feel a bit more like home.
3. Printer –Costly, unwieldy and prone to error, personal printers are only for those who don’t want to walk the short distance to the nearest campus computer room and print there. You also get given a certain amount of free printer credit every term.
Originally published on The Yorker 18th August 2010