What to take to uni

Heading to uni this September? The most important question on your mind is probably 'What on earth do I need to take with me?' Here's our guide to help you remember to pack all the essentials without bringing the kitchen sink. Student Effie shares her top tips in this video.

Before you start writing your packing list, we recommend by starting off asking yourself a few questions.

1) How are you getting to uni?

If you can’t fit everything into a medium sized car, chances are there probably will not be the space for all your stuff when you get to the other end. You don’t have to take everything in one go too! It’s more than likely that you’ll be home before Christmas and if you get sick of pasta, probably much sooner. If you can’t get a lift (see if anyone else is heading to uni from your hometown) then you may be taking a bus or a train. If you are limited by what you can carry, take a look online as there are a number of companies that can send on your luggage.

2) Can you get it later?

Believe it or not, Birmingham has shops where you can buy things. In fact, there’s over 160 just in The Bullring itself and the city centre has no shortage of those bargain basement places that flog really useful stuff, so you can leave your favourite gnome by the fishpond back home and get another for your new room when you get here. So we recommend that you leave your enormous economy bottle of shampoo and other toiletries at home and buy them when you arrive.

Stationery must be essential, right? Even if you’ve collected a pretty impressive selection of stationery over the years; leave it. When you hit the stands of Welcome Week you will pick up enough note books, pens and USB sticks to fill a branch of Rymans. All those books you are going to get your teeth stuck into; get them at uni. If it’s on your reading list, chances are it will be in the library.

Any cooking planned? Even if you’re not quite Gordon Ramsey, you’ll still need to eat. If you are going into halls then you may not need to bring much in the way of kitchenware with you as all your flatmates will also be bringing their own sets of cutlery, plates and pans. Why not check to see what’s there at the other end and suggest sharing?

3) Do I really need it?

Although clothes are undoubtedly a must-have essential on your packing list, you don’t need to bring your entire wardrobe with you. Also, you probably don’t need to bother bringing an ironing board and iron. Your mum will be shocked, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll find creative ways to keep your clothes creaseless. The main item to ditch (but not literally) would be your car if you have one; everything you need should be in reach of where you are living. No doubt you will be extremely popular with other students and will be putting Uber out of business in your first semester if you bring it, but consider the cost of running a car, and, where will you put it?

Packing checklist

A list is a great place to start when you’re trying to get your head around just what things to take to uni! We’ve put some ideas together as well as asked a few students who have already made the leap. This may not be a definitive list as everyone has different requirements, but it’s a start!

1) Documents

Andreea, Digital Media Tech student advises: “Remember to take important documents that you will need for enrolment and getting jobs”. This includes:

  • Your course acceptance letter
  • Accommodation documents
  • Admissions letter
  • Student Finance documents
  • Passport photos – in case you create new documentation during Welcome Week and join any societies
  • NHS medical card
  • Passport (who knows where you might end up?)
  • National Insurance number
  • Driver’s licence.

2) Things for your room

 You might want to bring:

  • Alarm
  • Hot-water bottle
  • Door wedge (to invite people in and to stop yourself getting locked out)
  • Laundry bag
  • Clothes horse
  • Coat hangers
  • Ear plugs
  • Mattress protector
  • Duvet
  • Bedding (two sets will make sure you change your sheets at some point!)

You may want to think about livening the place up a bit; Sociology student Soton recommends bringing along some fairy lights.

You can pre-order bedding and kitchen packs from the Unikitout website and they will be delivered to your room ready for your arrival - use the promotional code 'BCITY17' to get 10 per cent discount. Please ensure that delivery date for these kits are on or after 01 September 2017.

3) Things for your bathroom

Some useful items:

  • Towels
  • Toothbrush
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Nail scissors
  • Condoms
  • Any personal medication
  • Paracetamol in case you begin to feel a bit ropey in your first week – Fresher’s flu is real!

4) Things for your kitchen

You’ll probably want to bring:

  • A couple of bowls
  • Plates
  • Mugs
  • Glasses
  • Sets of cutlery
  • Tea towels
  • Dish cloths
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • A wok.

We recommend you might want to get colourful crockery so you can identify it as yours in a shared kitchen. Soton brought her Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook; “I enjoy baking, I find that this helps me to take my mind off any worries or concerns.” We’re sure other students will  also enjoy a slice of cake therapy!

5) Clothing

Our top essentials:

  • Casual wear
  • Hoodie
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Flip-flops
  • Trainers
  • Going out clothes
  • Formal ‘interview’ clothes
  • Seasonal jackets
  • An item of fancy dress for Welcome Week
  • Underwear!

 6) Things to help you study

Our psychology student Sarah recommends you bring a diary and wall chart planner. Other useful items include a calculator, scissors and stapler but don’t worry about forgetting anything -  you’re in the best place to pick up what you will need to help you study anyway.

 7) Electrical things

The most indispensable piece of kit that will see you through uni, as tipped off from Sarah is: “A laptop! Needed for essays and Netflix!” Other things you may want to bring:

  • Headphones
  • Extension leads
  • Phone and charger
  • Docking station or CD player
  • Hair dryer
  • Table or clip on lamp.

 8) You!

Finally, yes, yourself! No matter how prepared or unprepared you are, if you arrive at uni and have forgotten something it’s not going to be the end of the world. Borrowing a wok could be the beginning of a great friendship! Borrowing underwear though, probably not.