So it’s come to that time of the year when new undergraduates start the big move to university. It’s an emotional time for both parents and those about to embark on their university journey. To make the process a little easier I have put together a list of things needed to make the gloomy student halls a little more like home.
Let’s start with some advice I gained whilst at university; it all starts before you even go, once the student has found out which university they are going to and what halls they are staying in, they need to get on Facebook, find out who else is staying in the flat and begin the process of making new friends. Here they can discuss things about the flat to make sure they don’t get a stock pile of toasters, kettles and irons (some universities provide these but others will require you to bring them). Discussions can also take place about the date they intend to make the big move over to halls. It’s best to coordinate these dates as the last thing a new student away from home needs it to be on their own for the first few days.
Now it’s time for the list, the list that can be used for home like success!
Most items in the living room will already be included such as; sofas (unfortunately no, it’s a shame but they won’t be Cavendish sofas) coffee table, TV, curtains.
But what won’t be included are little homely items you can take, such as:
- Scatter cushions for the sofas
- A little rug for under the coffee table
- Scent diffusers (candles are a no no in Halls but a scent diffuser will get the place smelling fresh in no time)
- Coasters (last thing the student needs at the end of term is a bill for any little marks)
- Posters/ photography (most halls don’t allow you to hang things off the walls but the notice board can be used)
- A lamp – most halls only have one light in the living area and it usually isn’t a very good one. A lamp can create that homely feel and create a great atmosphere.
The kitchen is usually situated in the living area as one large communal space and most Halls will provide two cupboards and one draw per person living in the flat. As already stated depending on halls, some do include some appliances, it worth looking into this as you don’t want to waste money and space on multiple purchases. Other than that the kitchen essentials are:
- Recipe book – whether it’s the old family recipe book or a new one, these can be life savers (although the thought of living off takeaways and junk food does sound appealing it isn’t practical).
- Pans – At least one sauce pan and either a frying pan or wok.
- Baking tray – one flat tray can be used for a variety of cooking needs (don’t forget tin foil is your friend here, line the tray with tin foil and ta-da no washing up).
- Cutlery set – knives, forks and spoons. It’s a good idea to have them unique so you can identify yours in the pile of washing up that will no doubt be accumulating. Ones with different coloured handles are widely available
- Plates and Bowls – As with the cutlery, ones with a design can be identified easily.
- Glass and mugs – When I went to university I took plenty of glasses; small, tall, wine glasses etc. however this excess is not needed, most either smashed or wasn’t used. All that is needed is at least two glasses (once to be used whilst the other is dirty), same can be said with a mug, one for the student and one for a friend is all that is required.
- Cutlery tray – organisation is key in a shared environment!
- Sharp knife – for all of the amazing meals you will prepare of course.
- Chopping board – you can buy these in packs of three in most places, grab a marker and label one for meat, veg and the other for what every you like such as bread. It’s useful to keep thing sanitary whilst living away from home.
- Scissors, Tin opener and a bottle opener – someone always forgets to bring one of these, it’s useful to have them to lend out when needed.
Some Halls have shared bathrooms, for these I would suggest only getting a wash bag that can include all essentials to be taken in and out of the bathroom when needed. However if the Halls include en suites, plenty can be done to turn these drab rooms into pleasant places to get yourself looking spiffy for the day of learning ahead. Extras you’ll need are:
- New shower curtain (it’s handy to learn if the bathroom has is glass or a shower curtain, or if it’s the latter you can get a new shower curtain that matches your style; ducks, rain drops or just a plain colour)
- Bath mat – things can get slippy and a bath mat can have the place looking a little nicer.
- Towels – get the towels to match the bath mat, this will tie a theme together within the room.
Now this is where you can get really creative with the space. This is usually where most time is spent, so it is important to have a homely feel allowing a place to sleep and relaxing space to study. Here are some things you will need to take to do just that:
- Bedsheets – Choose a style that is easy to wash and doesn’t look too bad being un-ironed (because let’s face it not many students would bother ironing their bedding)
- Duvet and pillows – make sure you check if it is a single or double bed, a lot of student halls also have ¾ sized beds (which is a little bit of a pain)
- Mattress protector – handy for added comfort.
- Coat hangers – for the many many clothes
- Laundry basket – make sure this is a easily portable laundry basket, with handles and a cover for the top.
- Rug – why not make the floor that little bit more luxurious with a cosy rug
- Photos – don’t forget these, not only do they help personalise the room but are a great reminder of home
- Fan – bedrooms have a room heater provided but on the hotter days halls windows don’t open very far, which can turn the room into an oven. A fan will always go down a treat on these days.
(note: although expensive, it is a good idea to buy most of these items new, as when it comes to weekends or half term there is nothing worse than forgetting your quilt at uni and don’t have anything back home)
- Most bedrooms have shelving, it is useful to take a few plastic boxes for the top shelve. These can house cleaning products in one box, extra dry foods in another ( always keep food away from cleaning products), and any extra bits hanging around rather than having them on show.
- Also try having a look under the mattress for added storage, here you can house extra items such as a suitcase for when traveling back home.
- Take a little emergency kit is always handy. Included in this can be things like, a needle and thread, plasters, paracetamol, etc.
Note for the student – don’t be scared to make new friends. It can be a scary and daunting time but just remember, everyone is in the same boat! You might not feel like going to many fresher’s events but here you will make friends and more importantly start to make the memories of your amazing university life.
Happy settling in,