August 5, 2018, by Anjni

What to Pack for University

Although summer is still in very much session, bright and hot as ever, with uni right around the corner it’s high time we students start to consider what to take – or not to take – with us when we head on back, because every bit of space counts (trusttt me). From having lived off more stuff than I should in first year because I was anxious  and wanted to make sure I had my whole life with me “just in case”,  to living out of a mere suitcase and a half in second year because studying halfway across the world restricts you in terms of luggage allowance, I now feel like I –sort of – know what I need to take with me into third year and thought I’d share my thoughts to give you an idea of what to pack for university (and what you can get away with omitting!).


So to start off simple: kitchenware.  Now whilst you’ll need a lot of items when you head to uni you will not need an excessive amount of kitchenware, this is not Come Dine With Me. Basic utensils and crockery are needed; things like cutlery, a saucepan or two, bowls, mugs, cheese-graters (may sound odd, pasta-lovers will agree with me here). Student accommodation will tend to cover the rest; kettles, microwaves, toasters etc should be included, although blenders, rice cookers and toastie machines are sadly not, so you can bring them if you absolutely must, although I would advise against it as items like these are extremely bulky and take up a lot of room. You may think you need everything except the kitchen sink, but you can definitely manage without, I assure you!

Study Materials

Another fairly simple one where all you really require is just the basics: a few pens, a notepad or two and couple highlighters. Again this stuff can be easily bought from your local Paperchase or Staples once you get there so you can omit it from your list if you’d like to, especially since heavy notepads and ring-binders will take up more room than you think. But, being the stationary hoarder that I am, this is not option for me, and I personally like to go into university knowing I have all of my favourite pens and notebooks at the ready. I remember last year I had to take the bare minimum; I took a few biros and a thin notebook which I had just  slotted into the outside zip of my carry on, and let me tell you, it absolutely KILLED me not having my beloved stationary supplies with me, but unfortunately with limited allowance I was forced to cut out something, and so I chose these because I knew there’d be a stationary shop somewhere close by to pick up all the supplies I lacked. It hurt, but it;’s doable; definitely something to  give a go if you’re a bit tght on luggage space.


Clothes, Shoes &  Hangers

Slightly tougher choosing what to bring and what to omit here – especially if you have more clothes than you know what to do with (can’t say I’m not guilty here!). As tempting as it is to empty the contents of your entire wardrobe into your suitcase, you probably shouldn’t. Not only is wardrobe space very limited in student accommodation but you probably won’t find the need to wear half of the items you take with you.  I suggest you look into the kind of weather you’ll be expecting day-to-day where you are and then pack accordingly, like stocking up on jumpers and scarves if you find that you’re somewhere really up north, or packing shorts and sunhats if you’ll be off exchanging in the middle of Asia. I’d  also recommend packing at least one black-tie option for society balls or Christmas formals, but again, you can buy these when you’re over there and, like fancy dress, it isn’t an essential-essential (like pyjamas are). And remember, you can always swap things out and bring in more stuff when you take a trip home;  small rotations throughout the year are a great way to help your wardrobe from overflowing!

Also, hangers! Something, although I took it into first year, I completely neglected to take last year when I jetted off on exchange because baggage allowance was tight and I thought I’d just fold my clothes for the whole year. Now whilst possible (I mean, I lived off of a very minimal amount of clothing last year) a hanger or two would have been nice to stop my shirts and dresses from creasing. Plus – they help maximise what little space you’ve already got!

Bedding & Home Comforts

Basic things like fitted sheets and pillow covers are pretty necessary in my opinion, and whilst some universities will provide you with a duvet – like UoN! – others may not. I remember when I went on exchange last year and arrived in halls, only to be greeted by a duvet-less mattress without a single pillow or cover in sight, and so packing a fitted sheet and a small pillow into my case had served extremely useful. Of course, if you decide to omit these, you can always buy them when you get there, but it just depends on how busy your first day of moving in is for you. Also, I find patterned bedding from home to be a nice reminder of the place, and it can be quite comforting to have something like that when you’re living away. Other home comforts – a stuffed bear, your favourite cushion and photos – are also lovely bits to pack. Not only will they jazz up your generic uni-style room, but they’ll also make it feel more like home, and will give you that sense of familiarity which can be extremely comforting , especially if it’s your first time living away from home.

So there you have it! Important items to take with you – or not to take with you – if you’re a little tight on space when it comes to uni essentials.  If you forget something, no biggie! Purchase it there or make do, but don’t go into a panic, it’s not the end of the world I assure you. Just make sure that whilst you’re busy packing all this stuff, that you take an open mind with you before you go.  Although it can seem nerve-wracking and a little scary starting uni and moving away from home for the first time, it’s also an exciting time where you can open yourself up to a range of experiences and opportunities. It’s an adventure, and packing too little – or too much – won’t ever hinder this.

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