Pack it in… or don’t

A not-so definitive list of University essentials Freshers might just forget and items that should definitely be left at home.

The most stressful part of first year, aside from the lab reports and endless essays, is the packing phase. Somehow you must fit all of your worldly belongings into your mum’s Ford Fiesta, packaged in a precarious mix of suitcases, Ikea shopping bags and cardboard boxes. Without going into elaborate details of pots, pans and shampoo, allow us to debunk the myths of what students should and shouldn’t be bringing to halls.

1. Bring a doorstop. You have probably heard this top tip about a billion times in the past few months but it could not be more true. A lot of doors in halls are fire doors and will slam shut unless met with the resistance of a door stop. You don’t want to be that one person who hides away and makes no friends in their first week. Frozen said: “love is an open door”. Listen to Frozen.

2. Just enough fancy dress to see you through to Christmas. Don’t do what I did and bring a whole suitcase FULL of fancy dress. In hindsight this was a very irrational decision but at the time I just didn’t know how many pirate themed pub crawls, Disney socials and beach parties there would be. Keep it simple, because I can guarantee you that come Halloween most people will be donning their Halls t-shirts ripped open and stained with fake blood. A bed sheet also suffices for a toga party.

3. Room décor. Don’t go crazy with ornaments. They will just sit there and gather dust. By term two your room will be a pit of discarded items, bowls and your carpet will have been replaced by a vat of clothes, shoes and odd socks. That extra-large candle jar, that you shouldn’t really be lighting in halls anyway, will be lost and irrelevant amongst the carnage. The best décor you can bring are photos from home, as they will always brighten up a space and remind you of the good times on a bad day. Adding to this category, I highly recommend white tack and command hooks for subtle and useful changes to halls without the damage. Use at your own risk.

4. Leave the pets behind, as sad as it may be. Photos, stuffed animals and the odd Facetime will have to suffice until reading week.

5. Sentimental kitchenware. You don’t want to bring your fancy mug with you to later find it has been broken by one of your flatmates in a post-SU kitchen scavenge. Go for the cheapest kitchenware you can find because the chances of damage or loss will be high. I’m still sour about the pastel blue heart-handled fork I accidentally threw away in a takeaway box. Don’t forget a tin/bottle opener and scissors too!

6. Food. Bring lots of food, especially non-perishable goods. Fresher’s week is daunting enough without having to worry about where your next meal and hungover breakfast is coming from. If you have caught the inevitable Freshers’ Flu you probably won’t want to be leaving the flat anyway.

7. One formal outfit. Chances are you won’t be needing more than one suit or formal dress but it is definitely a good idea to have one outfit backed up.

8. A planner or diary. You will be surprised at the amount of tasks you are set and how easy it is to lose track if you don’t have a place to write it all down.

9. Medicines. Your standard pain killers, cold and flu relief and Berroca will definitely be needed at least once in your first year. Don’t be caught out.

10. Extension lead and electrical’s. Some halls don’t have a magnitude of plugs in the most convenient locations and a simple extension lead will fix this problem.
Make sure to pack last minute chargers too. I found a charging phone case to be a life saver on nights out. Lastly, don’t forget to bring a hard drive or memory stick! Backing up your work at uni is absolutely vital.

Hopefully these top tips to pack will be of some use whilst you get prepared for the ROHO madness !