The list of stuff you need for uni can be dizzying. Cutlery, plates, new clothes, hangers, bed clothes, computers, printers and scanners, and the list goes on and on and on. The weeks leading up to leaving can be stressful, whilst also a bit scary. That’s what I found. I couldn’t think about which forks I wanted, or how I was preparing for university as I was about to leave everything I had ever known for something completely new.
Eating Macaroni and Cheese with a Ladle
I wasn’t that fussed with all the shopping, but it’s worth having a think and being smart. Maybe the cheapest set of plates from B&M won’t last too long. The biggest thing you need to think about, which I didn’t, is how generic is the stuff you are buying. Plain metal cutlery is a stupid choice, because your room mates will always, always use them, saying ”oh sorry, I thought they were mine”. This is exactly what happened to me. Slowly but surely, it all went missing. 1 month in and I was eating macaroni cheese with a ladle, which, spoiler alert, is neither fun or easy. Go for distinctive stuff. I’m not saying that neon green forks are the most visually pleasing, but nobody can use the excuse that they didn’t know it wasn’t theirs. Just so you know, you will have a scum bag room mate who will use your stuff regardless, but at least if your stuff is different, you have grounds to shout at them, or just bitch about them to the other housemates. The other thing to remember when doing all this shopping is durability. Whilst the spoon set for £2 might be suitable for general use, will it survive when you come back from the student union at 2am and are bashing through a litre of Ben and Jerry’s?
Mum and dad do actually know best
Something else I learned in this time; you will argue with parents. Being sage and full of wisdom, my parents would often offer advice on stuff I’d need, but did I listen? Did I bollocks. I was an adult now, free to make my own decisions and my decision was that a binder with all my uni documentation was boring and therefore unnecessary. Stupid, very stupid. Listen to your parents, even if they haven’t been to uni. They have lived by themselves and they will have some useful tips if you are willing to listen. The best one I got was about washing; do it every week rather than letting it pile up, otherwise it’ll be a whole day affair rather than an hour chore. Remember I told you…
Technology and beyond
When thinking about technology, a laptop should be on the top of the list. If you already have one that operates fine, happy days, skip to the next paragraph. If not, bloody well get one. I got a desktop computer instead and I regretted it almost instantly. Not only is a laptop better suited to uni work, as it is portable and so can go with you everywhere (the library, lectures, dorms etc.), but there is also a social aspect connected to that piece of metal. Wherever you go on a uni campus, there are people click clacking away. By having a laptop, you open yourself up to more social interaction, potentially meeting people you wouldn’t of otherwise. Plus, even though this is a ways off, having a laptop is useful during revision season, when you can go round a mates and work together with ease.
Feelings are our friends
Obviously, this is just the physical side of the preparation. You also need to be thinking about the mental side. I tried to brush it off as it came closer and closer, said it would all be fine and I wouldn’t be affected. It’s a big and scary step in your life. Come to terms with it beforehand and it won’t hit you like a freight train on the day. Make the most of spending time with your friends and family and use your time to the fullest. If you are apprehensive, share with other people. Your friends will be feeling the exact same way. You are at a cross roads in your life and, whilst the future is bright, it’s also uncharted territory.
Get social on social media
Lastly, there is a lot that is said for joining Facebook groups and chatting on forums with your future course mates. Whilst that might work for some, I wouldn’t freak out if you don’t do this. I ignored it completely and was no worse off. Whilst yes, you might make friends before you arrive, at the end of the day, you form relationships organically. They just sort of happen. Don’t stress about being alone, because everyone will be in the same boat as you (crying and asking their parents not to leave them alone). Going off to university by yourself and not knowing anyone is a ballsy move, but it will all slot into place for you, whether you know it or not.
This all was my experience of the lead up to going to uni. This is in no way textbook or standard, there are a million things you can do to prepare, but these are some of the essential things to think about. Just remember, if you forget a single thing, everything will go wrong and your whole life probably will implode. Just kidding. But seriously, don’t forget cutlery and plates or you will be drinking pot noodle, which doesn’t sound as inventive and fun as it sounds.
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