You've survived results day, bagged yourself a place at a university and have been making the most of what remains of the seemingly endless summer holiday. Just before you know it, you've only left yourself a few weeks to gather all those essentials you'll need to survive on your own.

Your mum may be more prepared than you, and has already organized an expedition to Ikea to buy your pots, pans, and bedding. However, if your family is new to the whole university thing, you may forget about some of these less obvious items ...

Toy bus


The Things You May Need:

ID and Important Documents

Realizing that you've left your ID at home is probably the worst way to start freshers, so make sure you've packed yours! Also remember to take any paperwork you may need with you too, such as your medical card or insurance.

Photographs and Room Decorations

Photos of your friends and family are perfect for decorating your room, as well as posters, cushions and throws. Remember to take some pins if your room has a cork board or some blue tack to stick things up on your wall.

Door Stop

Everyone recommends taking a stop to maximize your opportunity to meet new people in your halls. Even if you're an introvert, it's still worth taking a stop if it makes moving your stuff in and out of your room so much easier!

Suitable Pajamas for those 3am Fire Alarms

Make sure you pack some pajamas that you don't mind being seen in by hundreds of other students as you stand outside in the freezing cold on several nights. A dressing gown is probably a good idea too! (who doesn't love a dressing gown?)

Can and Bottle Opener

These will come in handy if, like most students, you intend to live off baked beans, spaghetti hoops and alcohol for most of the year.

Enough Food to Get You Through Freshers

If you plan on making the most of freshers' week, chances are you'll spend most of the day (when supermarkets are open) recovering from the night before, so it's probably best to pack enough food for your first week just in case.

Sticky Labels

For the more paranoid among you, it may be worth packing some labels to stick on your food and drinks because, trust me, people will ‘borrow’ your stuff! You may want to use a permanent marker to name your kitchenware to prevent it from getting lost, too.

Pens and papers


Airer and Travel Detergent

One of the main consumers of your student loan is laundry, which could be around £5 just for one wash and dry. An airer for your room will help cut down on drying costs. It may also be worth packing some travel detergent to wash some clothing in the sink if you can.

Laundry Bag and Bin

A laundry bag, or even just a reusable shopping bag, is useful for transporting your washing to the laundry. And unfortunately, your mum won’t be there to pick your dirty washing up from the floor so a laundry bin is also essential!


Many people advise students to not take a printer; however, your halls may be quite a distance from the library. If you tend to finish your work at 4am the night before the due date, it may be wise to get a printer to save you walking like a zombie to the library, wasting valuable sleeping time!

Extension Lead

An extension lead is worth packing just in case your room only has a couple of sockets, and if you plan on taking multiple electrical items.

Water Bottle

 A reusable bottle will save you time and money, as you won’t have to keep buying new ones every day.

A Travel Bag

If you’re planning on visiting home or friends at some point in the semester, don’t forget to pack a travel bag.

Going Out Bag

A little purse or bag is essential for keeping your phone, money, ID and keys safe throughout the night. You really don’t want to lose your key and realise you’re locked out of your room in the early hours of the morning!

Purse and heels


A Kettle for Your Room

It’s probably best to check that you’re allowed a kettle in your room, but it can be nice to have one for when you want a hot drink at an odd hour of the day and don’t fancy the trek to the kitchen in your pyjamas.

Coat Hangers

Don’t forget to pack coat hangers if you have a wardrobe in your room!  

Freshers Outfits

Make sure you have enough going out outfits to last you through freshers, and a fancy-dress costume may come in handy for any themed events, or even for Halloween.

Medicine and a First Aid Kit

It’s pretty common to become ill after freshers’ week, but even at any time of the year, you don’t want to become ill and realise you have no medicine with you. Lemsip is a lifesaver, and so are plasters!

The Things You Don’t Really Need:

Washing Up Bowl

It’s just going to get filled with everyone else’s dirty dishes for days so there’s really no point in bringing one.

Iron and Ironing Board

Wasting valuable time making sure your clothes are nicely ironed is kind of pointless when you already turn up to your lectures looking like a zombie after 3 hours sleep!

Kitchenware You’re Not Going to Use:Pan with egg and vegetables

Unless you’re already a professional cook, you only really need the basic kitchen items to start with, such as saucepans, plates and cutlery. Let’s be honest, who needs a blender and a sieve to heat up a ready meal? Be realistic about what kitchen items you will actually need and think about what kind of meals you will be cooking.

If you have limited car space to pack everything into, you could always just wait until you arrive and then buy the bulkier items such as airers. Also, once you've arrived you will have a clearer idea of what is already provided in your flat, and what you can get later on. So don’t worry too much about packing absolutely everything! 


This article was written by Amy Wright, a 19 year old English Literature student from Norwich. If you want to contribute to the StudentJob UK blog, email

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