September 5, 2017, by Rebecca

What to pack when moving to university

We’ve all been there – looking with disdain at the ever-growing mound of ‘essential’ items you just have to take to university, while simultaneously wondering how you’re going to get it there.

After all, nobody wants to be the one whose arrival is heralded by the train of rental vans. And when you finally feel like giving up, everything magically fits in the car with millimetres to spare – just in time to take you (and everything save the kitchen sink) to your new home.

You’ll soon figure out in your first term that the extra tea cosy you took won’t come in handy after all – thanks Mum – but this rough guide is just to pinpoint the items you actually can’t survive your time at university without.

Making Friends:
Whereas you could probably manage without most of the items on this list, your first term wouldn’t be the same without befriending the people in your halls. Fear not, because with the help of these few items, it will become very easy to make a friend of your next-door neighbour.

  • Firstly, a doorstop is a must. Not only does this make you seem more approachable, it also allows your neighbours to come in and introduce themselves.
  • In fact, the only way that you could make yourself seem friendlier is by sharing snacks with your new acquaintance – so be sure to pack a box of chocolates for this exact purpose.

Making friends at university

Clothes:
In terms of clothing, there is no need to pack your entire wardrobe. As long as you pack washing capsules and a drying rack, you can make use of the excellent washing facilities provided in the hall laundries – and, thus, cut down on the amount of clothing that you have to take with you. There are just a few points that I would like to share with you.

  • As the washing is sometimes quite expensive, I’d recommend taking enough clothes for at least two weeks.
  • Unless you want your clothing to reside at the bottom of your wardrobe, it is a good idea to pack some coat hangers as these might not be provided.
  • Bear in mind that when you arrive at university in September, it will still be fairly warm. It may, therefore, be tempting to fill your suitcase(s) with your most fashionable summer items. However, by the end of the autumn semester, you will be wistfully remembering your wardrobe at home, overflowing with warm and woolly winter garments. It may be possible for you to nip home and collect these items – but if not, you’ll definitely thank yourself for the few extra jumpers that you packed.
  • Footwear is also important to consider – by all means, take sandals for the summer and high heels for the evening, but don’t forget that it will be raining by the end of your first term. Therefore, covered shoes and an umbrella will also be essential.

Bedding and kitchenware:

You will need to remember that you have to take your belongings from the car to your room so make sure that everything is in bags that can easily be carried for considerable distances.

To put this into perspective, the only lift in a five-story tall hall of residence has been known to break down on moving-in day. Thus, it’s important to be economical with space and cut down on the number of trips you have to make from the car.

  • The halls in Nottingham often offer a bedding package – so the bulk of your bedding (i.e. duvets and pillows) can be ready and waiting for you in your room, rather than having to be crammed in your boot. However, make sure that you have two sets of bedding, as you are now in charge of your own washing.
  • If you are in self-catered halls, it might be an idea to contact your flatmates and organise who is taking what. After all, it makes no sense to take up valuable car space with a wok, when your five flatmates have done the exact same thing – and when no one thought to bring a mug.
  • However, if you are in catered halls, you shouldn’t forget about kitchenware. Cutlery, plates and even wine glasses (for the all-important pre-drinks!) have been known to come in handy – as has washing-up liquid. Whichever type of accommodation you are in, having cleaning supplies will always pay off – even if it’s just to avoid embarrassment when your grandparents come to visit!

Many of the halls are multi-storey. Make sure that you can carry your belongings up and down the stairs.

Decoration:
Although these items may not seem important to you, I would recommend taking a multitude of homely decorations – after all, this room will be your home for a year. To avoid staring a four blank walls, posters and photographs are always a good idea, along with ‘washi tape’ to side-step Blu-Tack marks on the wall (and, thus, the loss of your security deposit).

Similarly, early mornings might not seem like a priority to you in Welcome week (unless it’s the Crisis all-nighter), but an alarm clock is indispensable when it comes to those inevitable nine o’clock lectures.

The pictures I took really helped to personalise my hall room.

Finally, a few points to put your mind at ease:

  • Try to remember where you’re going – Nottingham is not situated in the outer reaches of the desert, but is in fact a thriving city with two universities. There WILL be shops there to buy the essentials you forgot.
  • Failing that, the postal system is fairly effective too. I forgot my laptop charger and despite the (not so) minor breakdown that caused me at the time, two days later I was happily binge-watching Netflix again – so try not to panic.
  • Most importantly, no matter what you forget to pack, you will still have an amazing welcome week and a fabulous first year at Nottingham. Good luck!
    Rebecca 🙂
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