4 Things You Need to Take to Uni and 3 Things You Don’t


That big pre-uni IKEA trip can be exciting, but it’s worth remembering not to get too overwhelmed. You really don’t need that 6 pack of random kitchen utensils, or 5 saucepans in various sizes; stick to the basics. This article should stop you making the mistake of bringing too much, but also gives you that last minute reminder of some of the biggies you might have forgotten.

What to pack:

  1. Firstly, pyjamas and lounging clothes are essential – everyone knows that a dressing gown is the best hangover cure. Even if you don’t drink, having lots of big jumpers will help keep you warm both in your flat and on the walk to that 9am (well, the ones that you make, anyway…). This probably isn’t something you need to buy especially for uni, and there’s no need to splurge either, cheap hoodies are just as warm and cosy.
  2. I can’t lie, my bed in halls was not comfy. I’d recommend waiting until you’re settled in, but it is definitely worth considering buying a mattress topper. It set me back about £45 from IKEA, a luxury I know not everyone can afford, but if you do find that you can feel all the springs and it’s stopping you from sleeping properly, then it might be a good idea to considering investing, and thinking about getting one.
  3. A rain coat and umbrella are essentials. If you find that you really need to make it to that seminar, where they always take attendance, you’re going to have to walk in the rain. Pick up a small umbrella and keep it in your bag with you just in case you’re caught out. A good raincoat is a sensible purchase that your parents might agree to help with – if not, you can buy cheap one that will work just as well at protecting you when the bus just isn’t turning up.
  4. Something many people don’t consider is some kind of insurance for their belongings when they’re away from home. Halls at Southampton have a pretty good basic contents insurance which is outlined in your contract, but it definitely doesn’t cover everything, especially if you have expensive electricals. It’s also worth noting that you’re not covered in communal areas, only your bedroom, so if your phone is stolen from the kitchen, there’s little to be done under this particular insurance scheme. As a fresher, after only a few weeks into my first semester I spilt a drink all over my MacBook and completely broke it. I didn’t have it specifically insured and it cost a lot to replace on my house insurance at home. Protectyourgadget.com offer policies from as little as £12.51 a month, covering your devices wherever they are; you can rest in peace, comforted by the knowledge that if you make a stupid mistake like I did, it won’t cost you a bomb. Protect Your Gadget covers all kinds of digital devices from laptops and tablets to sat navs and smart phones. If you’ve just been kitted out with a device for the new term, it’s certainly worth thinking about getting insurance to protect it.

What to leave behind:

  1. Now on to the things that weigh down the car and just end up cluttering up your room. Don’t bother bringing all your favourite DVDs/CDs/books – they’re really not as essential as you think they are. Things like this take up a lot of room quite quickly and the reality is you probably won’t use them. If you are a massive film buff use online subscription streaming services. Amazon offer a half price deal to students, only £3.99 a month for loads of films, books and music as well as all the other Prime benefits. Spotify also offer half price at just £5 a month, or, convince your flatmates to take out a family plan at just £15 a month for up to 5 users living at the same address.
  2. As a general rule here, you don’t need your old school notes. If you’re doing a History degree you probably did A Level History too, but all those old notes about the Tudors or Soviet Russia probably won’t come in as useful as you think they will. Anything you need to know you will be taught or you’ll read about as you go along. It’s unlikely that you’ll come home from a lecture and re-read those 300 flashcards you made about osmosis. Personally, I can’t bear to look at past revision notes, so my advice is to move on from the trauma of A Levels and make new notes that cover the specifics of all the new things you’re learning.
  3. Finally, I want to tell you the exact opposite of literally every single list you have ever read about what you should take to uni: don’t bring a doorstop. I know they all say they’ll help you make friends with your flatmates quicker during freshers, but what they don’t tell you is that all the doors in Southampton halls are fire doors, which means that legally you can’t prop them open. My flatmate was slapped with a £50 fine and the threat of having to attend a fire-safety course when she was caught with her door open during an unannounced check. Save yourself the cash and the hassle by just hanging out in the kitchen in your free time.

I hope this has put your mind at rest a bit, after inevitably seeing everyone on Snapchat post stories of them stocking up on trollies full of stuff. Be practical, don’t take lots that you definitely don’t need and make a list so you don’t forget what you do need!


Second year politics student from Northampton

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