Going to university is probably going to be your first experience with adulating. You have to be responsible for yourself – you’ll be mostly on your own.
Except for the basic bedroom furniture that your university will provide in your dorm, you have to carry the things you need to make your dorm room as welcoming as possible. (Just hope your parents have a big enough car to carry your stuff in.)
But this doesn’t mean you take everything in your childhood bedroom. Don’t be the girl who packs everything in case she needs it, like the PS4 and a 55-inch screen, which you will barely ever get to use.
There are plenty of checklists of what every student should bring to the university, the things that can be left behind and the things that absolutely must be left behind! Here, we’ll take a look at the things that you could end up forgetting.
What to Pack
Copies and originals of important documents
We wish things were different, but adulting involves filing and carrying a lot of documents. You will need documents showing who you are (your visa, driving license/passport, etc.), what you’re here for (your acceptance letter and other official university documents), where you’ll be staying (papers related to accommodation), how you’re paying for your education (your student finance documents, scholarship letters, bank card and bank details), any medical prescriptions, National Insurance card, passport photos etc.
Make sure you also carry copies of these documents. Don’t forget to make digital copies and store them on your computer and/or the cloud (if you don’t have concerns about data theft, though.)
Electrical/entertainment items you’ll actually use
Don’t forget your phone charger and power bank. Power banks come in very handy right after you’ve exited a long haul multiple-stop flight. Whatever else you carry with you – USB stick, headphones, power cables, batteries etc. – make sure you actually need them for your program.
For instance, an English student may benefit more from carrying along with a printer. If you have a lot of assignments to print out on your course, you’ll save quite a bit on printing.
Just make sure your printer actually works and fits on your desk! And as we mentioned earlier – ditch the PS4. if you must take it for multiplayer fun, consider an 18-inch display instead of your 55-inch.
A few clothing items for all occasions
DON’T take all your favourite clothes to college. Once at university, you’ll probably find your style changing a lot. Everyday, comfortable clothing and shoes for uni are a must. But don’t forget a set of smart casuals for that interview or club.
Smart casuals can be everything in between blue jeans/tee/trainers and a suit and tie. Also, don’t forget a set of formals.
Just as you won’t forget your pyjamas, don’t forget to take a set of suction hooks/hangars for the bathroom. You’ll thank us later.
Carry your winter boots, raincoat, scarves, hats and sunglasses etc., depending on where you’re going. And before you zip up your bag, pop in a pair of flip-flops. You’ll miss them, especially in shared bathrooms.
Bedroom and bathroom essentials and luxuries
Besides the bedsheets, pillows, pillowcases, duvets etc., there are few things you won’t regret carrying with you. A mattress protector and anti-allergenic bed linen will be a lifesaver for allergy sufferers.
A nice rug may take up a lot of your baggage allowance, but a rug can definitely make your room cosy, brighten up your room, and also protect you from the old dorm carpets.
You could always buy a rug once you get to uni. But since these can be expensive in many countries, it’s a good idea to pack a small rolled-up rug from your bedroom, because you’re a smart packer otherwise!
In the bathroom, don’t forget an extra towel. There can never be too many towels at university. Drying yourself on damp towels that haven’t dried yet are not fun. And don’t throw all your toiletries into your rucksack. You’ll find a toiletry bag useful, especially in a communal bathroom.
Kitchen items you will miss if you don’t pack
You probably won’t need to pack a kettle, toaster or microwave if you’re living in a dorm. But always check with the accommodation office in advance. You should carry a couple of plates, bowls and cutlery, glasses and mugs. A Tupperware container or two will come in very handy when you want to store leftover food or a salad for lunch.
Depending on where you’re going, you may find a tin opener and a bottle opener very handy, especially in the first few weeks of moving in when you may find yourself eating out of cans. If you plan to do a lot of cooking, you may want to carry more fancy stuff like baking trays, frying pans, vegetable peelers, cheese graters, saucepans, etc.
Medical supplies and toiletries
Your medical/toiletries box should contain antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, plasters, paracetamol, allergy medication, sanitary pads/tampons, condoms and birth control pills, sun-cream and your cosmetics.
If you’re on prescription medication, don’t forget to carry your prescription and a stock of medicines you will need right after you move in and before you can find a pharmacy that suits you near uni.
You may never use a torch or a toolkit. But when you do feel the need for them, you’ll miss them. A small pencil torch doesn’t take up a lot of space in your bag, so it’s always a good idea to throw in one (don’t forget the spare batteries.).
If you’re used to using the alarm clock on your mobile phone, you probably won’t need an alarm clock to wake you up in time for classes. But then again, what happens if you’ve forgotten to charge your phone? Keep a small alarm clock around, just in case.
A Swiss army knife can come in really handy in all sorts of situations. So does change. You’ll be glad you brought a little box of coins for the bus or the washer/dryer in college.
What Not to Pack
Toiletries You Can Buy at Uni
You’re not moving to Mars. Don’t pack shower gel, toiletries, hair conditioners, shampoos and other toiletries that you can easily buy at university. They take up too much space in your bag and it’s easy to cross the baggage allowance limit with a dozen bottles of your favourite apple shampoo. Unless you’re entering a –
Wellington boots where it hasn’t snowed in a while
If you’re going to the northern hemisphere, you may want to prepare yourself for winter/rain with Wellington boots because the thought of wading through the snow in your trainers doesn’t sound fun.
But make sure you’ll actually use your boots. Has it snowed in a while where you’re going? If it hasn’t, don’t bother adding to your already-strained luggage allowance. If necessary, you should be able to find inexpensive snow or rain boots where you’re going.
Fancy dress clothes for themed parties
You may want to pack that enormous witch’s hat and those heavy steampunk goggles for a themed party at your college. But you only have so much space. Why not be resourceful and make your own fancy dress for Halloween and other costume parties?
The list above covers the basics of packing for university. Of course, you’ll need to tweak the list based on your situation. Maybe you’re a minimalist who can get by with just one pair of jeans all term and your laptop. But whatever you do, don’t be the guy that brings nothing and always has to borrow everything from their roommate!