Starting university can be a daunting time. Moving away from home can lead to all sorts of questions of how to set up life in a new place, away from your home comforts. Like many prospective students before me, I did a fair bit of research into what to bring to university, consuming every blog and advice column I could find during the summer before freshers. Overall, there seemed to be a reassuring theme of toastie machines and soft furnishings, to make me feel more ‘at home’ at University. Like any nervous fresher, I took the advice to heart and packed the reoccurring items that were suggested.
While I don’t think I went overboard in packing, I was shocked when I got to my first-year halls and there really wasn’t space for everything I had brought with me. Albeit, I was even more alarmed when I was packing up to leave my first-year bedroom and realized how little of my ‘ first-year essentials’ I had actually used.
So now, in preparation for returning back for my final year of university, I am ready to impart my wisdom on incoming freshers. Take what you will from my list of recommendations, but in the end, even if you forget something, we do have shops around Warwick.
Ditch the 16-pack idea crockery set, opt for some large pasta bowls.
I showed up for my first week of university with a full set of crockery and not only did it leave me with very little space in the one cupboard I was able to claim from the communal kitchen, but the plates quickly became communal property as half the flat hadn’t brought any crockery. Realistically, I only used one large pasta bowl throughout the year. The plate was big enough to fit any of the variety of foods I was cooking. By the end of the year, all the initial plates that I had brought were broken or chipped. In short, don’t show up with a full set of plates, you can always buy more if you need and try and buy a distinctive colour to avoid your plates being muddled with everyone else’s.
If you are buying a lamp, buy an additional pack of bulbs to go with it.
I definitely suggest bringing a bed-side lamp. Lights in halls tend to be stark and unflattering and really, there is nothing worse than having to get out of bed to turn off the lights. That being said, nothing makes me feel more like a child than spending half an hour in Wilko trying to match the light bulb to the one I had brought from my lamp. Save the trouble, bulk buy your light bulbs and save the trip.
Trust me, buy some toilet paper and hide it in your room.
If you are fortunate enough to have an ensuite, this won’t necessarily apply to you. But, if you are about to enter the world of communal bathrooms, listen closely. First off, it will not be as bad as you think. In my halls, the bathrooms were cleaned twice a week and the toilets were cleaned every weekday. Toilet paper is replaced by the university, but on the weekends, it can become a scarce luxury. Save yourself the trouble of rushing to the other bathroom to steal their toilet paper and stock up before you arrive.
Buy a double duvet even if you have a single bed.
This is the one piece of advice I took from all the blogs that I had read that I would happily pass on to any incoming freshers. It might seem silly to purchase such a large duvet for such a small bed, but hear me out. University halls can be cold: I was assigned to Whitefields in my first year, where the heating was temperamental to say the least. The double duvet meant that I was able to wrap up on cold mornings, possibly to the detriment of my 9am lectures. Also, when moving to your second-year accommodation you will, most likely, have a double bed. Purchasing a double bed and sheets to match means you don’t need to repurchase everything in your second year.
Invest in one good pillow.
Seems simple. What difference can a good pillow make? While you will be provided with a pillow in your halls, investing in a good pillow, or bringing your pillow from home, will really make the difference. Especially during fresher’s week where the few hours of sleep need to be as restful as possible.
Bring the ridiculous fancy dress costumes.
The fireman costume you haven’t worn for years? Bring it. It might seem counterintuitive to bring childhood costumes to the place you aim to start adulthood, but welcome to Warwick: you will need the fancy dress. Themed ‘circling’ (explained here) is a staple to Warwick life. Bringing them from home will save you from making a last-minute dash to Cannon Park on Wednesdays, and save you some money in the long run.