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Advice For First Years: Essentials VS Non-Essentials To Take To Uni

The return to university is fast approaching and although it may not be the same as it was last year in terms of face-to-face teaching, many new students will be arriving for their first year and living in halls for the first time. Having experienced it myself, I thought I’d offer some advice on what essential items you should take and what it’s possible to live without.


Here’s a list of things that are essential:


  1. A Throw

This is arguably the most essential item for surviving living in halls. Honestly, you should invest in one because in winter it gets really cold. Even with the heating on, it can still sometimes be a little chilly, so a throw is a good way to stay warm. They’re also incredibly soft and comforting so can help you feel right at home.


  1. Personal belongings

Speaking of feeling right at home, personal items are also an essential for settling into a new place. You could hang some photos of all the good times you’ve had with friends and family, as well as some fairy lights to add a soft ambiance to the room.


  1. Over the door mirror

There is nothing worse than getting ready for a night out and not being able to see what your entire outfit looks like from the waist down. Especially for the first week of Uni when you actually care about what you’re wearing, you want to be able to approve those everyday outfits accordingly. You should definitely invest in a long mirror if you don’t already have one in your room.


  1. A Speaker

Speakers are an essential part of the Uni experience. They’re not just useful at parties, but for everyday tasks too. Do you need motivation to tidy up? Do you want to have a jam session in the shower? Fancy a singalong in the kitchen with your flatmates? Or are you simply fed up of sitting in silence? Speakers and listening to music out loud can always lift the mood in almost any scenario, which is why they’re an essential item.


  1. A Clothes Airer

Most accommodation have driers in their laundry facilities, but an airer is still an essential. Sometimes you might have to put clothes in the drier twice to get them fully dry and other times you might not even have access to any as they get filled easily. Also, to wash and dry your clothes all the time can be quite expensive and depending on your budget, it’s not something you want to do often. So, save your money and invest in an airer.


Now onto the things that aren’t essential:


  1. Stationary

If you’re a fellow stationary lover like me and you plan what things you’re going to buy in advance, listen to me carefully. You don’t need it all! You will not use half of the folders that you take with you, especially if they’re lever arch folders. You will not use all of the coloured pens that you’ve bought unless you’re an art student; you’ll only end up using a few. You might handwrite your notes, but you still won’t need all of those extra notepads. The key thing to remember is that you’re studying one subject so you can use one folder with dividers for your modules, or store everything electronically by working on your laptop.


  1. Books

Depending on how you spend your spare time, you may not have much time allocated to reading. Honestly, if it wasn’t for COVID-19, I wouldn’t have read as many books as I did. On top of Uni, work, socialising, eating and sleeping there wasn’t much time left for anything else. My advice would be to take a few books rather than your entire bookshelf and be realistic about what you will actually read.


  1. A Printer

Additionally, a printer isn’t a necessary item to have at Uni- I could count the amount of times I used mine on my hand. One of the perks of being a student is the access to facilities that we have. It’s much easier to just use the printers on campus and in the libraries as it doesn’t cost as much as buying ink and paper for your own printer.


  1. A Kettle

Unless you live with/are an international student who can’t carry many electrical appliances then the chances are that someone has a kettle in your flat. This means that it’s not necessary for you to take your own.


  1. A TV

Depending on your accommodation you might have a television in the kitchen/communal area, but you may be tempted to get one for your room. If I’m being honest, I used my laptop for everything because I mainly watched Netflix and Amazon Prime. Therefore, I didn’t see the point of having a tv and getting a tv license at extra expense. Unless you’re a gamer or you know that you would use a TV a lot then it’s not necessary to have one.


Words By: Tamikka Reid

Edited By: Caroline Rauch




I'm a 20-year-old undergraduate, currently studying journalism at the University of Leeds. I'm a film lover, concert goer and dancer. In terms of writing, I love arts and culture as well as lifestyle. If you'd like to see more of my work check out my blog https://allaboutthatfeature.wordpress.com/
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