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Student tips: what to take to university

Holland HallIt's almost September, and so only a few weeks until this year's batch of Freshers will be arriving in Cardiff. Many second and third years will begin returning to the 'Diff over the next few weeks too, arriving back early to catch up with friends, get a head start on reading or finding a part-time student job, and in many cases moving in to a new house (if you didn’t already at the end of June).

So what should you bring with you to uni? What do you need if you’re in halls? And what if you’re moving into a student house? Here’s a list with some tips for you…

Moving into halls of residence

Check to see what’s provided in halls – you won’t have much space, so don’t want to waste it by bringing unnecessary items, and it’s important not to miss anything vital either.

Academic items – You’re at least theoretically here to study, so bring your reading list, notebooks, memory stick, dictionary, thesaurus and so on. You can probably pick up most of the books for your course in the university bookshop, but it might be cheaper to get them on Amazon. There’s now the option of ebooks too, if you’re got a Kindle, iPad or other gadget.

Bathroom – a couple of towels, flannel, sponge, washbag, toothbrush and toothpaste, plus as many (or few) toiletries you feel you can get away with. A first aid kit with painkillers and other basic medical stuff is also handy.

Kitchen – Make sure to bring utensils including cutlery, knives, spoons, tin opener, bottle opener etc. Don’t go mad and try to outfit your kitchen like Jamie Oliver – remember you’ll be sharing with other people. Don’t forget plates and bowls, teaspoons and mugs, and beer glasses of course.

Food – if you can get your parents to stock you up with food when they bring you to university, so much the better! Stock up on basics like salt, pepper, oil, ketchup, pasta, potatoes, veg, tea and coffee, easy tinned food (soup, beans, peas etc.), and stuff like jars of sauces.

Bedding – bed sheets, duvet, pillows… you might want to get a mattress topper if your bed is too hard/uncomfortable.

Decorations – There will be plenty of opportunity to buy posters as a student. If you hold off a few weeks into term, you’ll probably find that there will be another, cheaper poster fair in your Students’ Union. Bringing some photos or interesting items to talk about can add a personal touch. Though don’t be that annoying person always showing off an endless parade of gap year mementoes.

Clothing – Bring a good range of clothing for different weather and situations: normal clothes, clothes for going out, clothes for looking posh, and so on. Bring pyjamas you won’t be embarrassed for your flatmates to see you wearing. If you’ve got some fancy dress items, then they might come in handy for Freshers’ Week and parties.

Documents – passport, driving license, National Insurance number, exam certificate, bank details and all the other boring but necessary stuff.

Electrical items – lamp, laptop, mp3 player, speakers, extension cord (surge protected). Remember to check whether your accommodation includes contents insurance, and if not to get insurance on those items.

Entertainment – bringing a few of your favourite books, CDs, DVDs etc can be a good way of making your room feel more like home (if you haven’t gone completely digital and just have them downloaded from iTunes). A pack of cards can come in handy for lots of games. Board games can be fun if you can find other students who are into them.

It’s probably not worth bringing a TV - you’ll probably be too busy to miss it, and you can use iPlayer and other catch-up services on your computer without a tv license as long as you don't watch live.

Moving into a student house

Co-ordinate with your new flatmates over who will bring what. You don’t want to end up with seven cheese graters and no kettle!

A student house brings greater opportunities for doing stuff together – you should have a proper living room with sofas, unlike most halls - so can hang out, watch TV, play video games, throw wild parties and so on. See what you’ve got between you, and work out what you might want to club together to get. Stuff like dartboards can be great fun, but you need to be careful not to do anything to damage the property!

Returning to a house or halls

If you’re in your third year or higher, you should be an old hand by now! But the new academic year can be a good point at which to review your stuff. Is there anything you want to get rid of – perhaps ebaying it or donating to charity shops? Is there anything you need to replace, or anything new you need?

So there you have it! What are your student tips? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

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