Seeing as A-Level results’ day has now passed, and a whole new cohort of students will be eagerly waiting to start at Imperial in October, I thought now would be a pertinent time to offer some advice on what you DON’T need to bring with you to university. Most freshers have the basics covered pretty well, but often end up grossly overestimating what they’ll need to survive university life. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on five things you can probably just leave at home.
- Excessive kitchenware You may think you’ll need a pizza cutter, toastie maker and corkscrew when you’re at uni, and you may well not be wrong. However, the likelihood is 6 out of the 8 people sharing your kitchen will have had the same thought. I’m not advocating that you should spend the whole year living off other people’s things, and everyone definitely needs their own basic pots, pans and tableware, but there’s no point everyone buying identical items that you’ll end up using once each. Instead, I suggest getting to uni, seeing what your kitchen already has, and then if anything’s missing offering to pick it up from the shops or making a flat trip out of it. That way you don’t end up with loads of duplicates and save a bit of space in the kitchen.
- A holepunch and stapler (and other excessive stationary) When I got to university I was horrified to realise I didn’t have a holepunch or stapler and made a special trip to WHSmith to pick a set up. It’s safe to say neither of them left their packaging. Obviously, this might vary a little person to person, however, the vast majority of people at uni take notes on a laptop or iPad, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been given a paper handout, which makes a holepunch and stapler fairly redundant. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even carry a pen by the end of first term.
- Course related books I do admire people who come to uni wielding the entire recommended reading list in a suitcase, however, I would recommend holding off. University textbooks are quite expensive and all of them are available for free in the campus libraries. It’s also difficult to know which books will be of use to you until you actually start doing your degree. There’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic but ‘getting ahead’ with reading course materials over the summer certainly isn’t necessary.
- Every single pair of shoes or item of clothing you own Most university hall rooms have fairly small wardrobes and limited floor space. Therefore, while you might really want to bring five pairs of trainers and twelve pairs of jeans, in all likelihood you won’t have the space for it. What I did during my first year was bring a basic selection of clothes and shoes and then switch things around every time I went back home. This made sure I didn’t get bored of my wardrobe whilst also having enough space to store it.
- A pack of cards Don’t get me wrong, a pack of cards is a very useful thing to have at university as an easy icebreaker to get to know your classmates. However, the people who produce freshers’ freebies seem to know this as well. By the end of my first week at university I had accrued at least 4 packs of cards from my halls and various other clubs and societies. Card games in university kitchens also almost always end up getting messy with a few cards lost along the way so I’d recommend leaving your favourite novelty pack of cards to use at home.
I hope this has been somewhat insightful and saves you the trouble of hauling a boatload of things to uni that, at the end of the year, you realise you never even looked at!