Just flipped my calendar over which can only mean one thing: the countdown to Freshers has begun. With 28 days to go until the new academic year starts, it’s time once again for me to get my ‘Things to take to Uni’ list out and start gathering all the student essentials.
If you are a newbie, then you will have already no doubt spent time on a popular search engine filing through different checklists for everything you will (or might) need for university. I would recommend taking some of the items with a pinch of salt – you are not going to need spare light bulbs if you’re living in university accommodation. However, I have compiled a list of items that are stand-out in my mind for things that came in really useful (I’ll trust you to remember the bare necessities):
- An alarm clock – undoubtedly this will become your worst enemy but it’s just being cruel to be kind, honest – a phone and/or groovy gadget will suffice but only if the alarm clock works (I do know people who had to get their mums to ring them as an alarm…)
- Diary/planner – the first semester of university can be hectic and you will have different lectures/seminars/supervisions/tutorials (which will inevitably be re-timetabled) and work due so keeping track will save stress
- A substantial amount of glasses or mugs – better to be safe than sorry, there are 3 main reasons for this: (1) you will break some crockery (2) when friends come over they probably will want a drink and/or if you throw a small get-together drinking utensils will be the holy grail and (3) there will be a week where you (for no particular reason) will not wash any dishes for a few days so it’s nice to have reserves*
- Lined paper – reams and reams of it – I know for Mathematics that I am a slave to the wonder that is a sheet of narrow lined paper with a ruled margin – at least a couple of notepads are a safe stock for the semester**
- White-Tac – if you want to stick up posters, then this particular colour of adhesive is definitely better to avoid anything being knocked off your deposit (remember this for your later years at university too)
- Cold/flu remedies and because prevention is better than cure; multivitamins – Freshers’ Flu usually comes back with a vengeance each autumn so make sure you are prepared for the coughing orchestras in lectures and sneeze-fests (might as well add hand sanitiser to the list)
- A door wedge – a great way to keep your door propped open on moving-in day and make mingling with flatties easier – also good when moving items into your room if you want to avoid stubbing your toe trying to push a door open several times
- T-shirts you don’t mind getting ruined – at some point during Fresh Festival, there will be an opportunity to cut up a plain white tee and splash neon paint all over it
Of course, to ease your stress but more realistically, get your mum off your back, it is vital you plan! You can see a snapshot of my own list below and it might be an idea to rustle up your own (or just print one off the internet). Having to rush off to buy forgotten items on a Sunday afternoon is not ideal and let’s be honest, you would much rather be getting to know all your new acquaintances. Seriously, have your belongings ready at least 24 hours before you leave and a mini checklist of things you need to remember to take in the morning – you don’t want to leave those all important straighteners or phone chargers.
Hopefully you are not thinking ‘wake me up when September ends’… now is the time to gather your head (and stock up on multivitamins!!), do anything your course requires before starting (stay tuned for my next post) and spend time with your home friends before you all go off around the country.
But most importantly, start getting excited for the next chapter of your life – it’s a real page turner!
*I should say not washing dishes for a week is not always wise and that for a peaceful life/happy flatties, it is important to keep up with a tidying rota and do your bit
**Please remember to recycle your notes when finished with them (say no to lecture note bonfires!)
2 responses to “28 Days Earlier”
Hi, Pamela, my name is john and a new student about to start university of leicester, your article is very interesting but also very useful at the same time. There are few questions if you would like to answer them: How did you manage your time in your first year? How useful are the books? How difficult are the exams for Analysis exams? Thank you very much for your time and helps!
Hi John – thank you! Hopefully these will answer your questions:
– Managing time in first year was difficult at first, but I found that keeping a diary to write down important dates/meetings and work that was set really helped keep myself on track. Whilst it is important to keep track of course related things, it’s also just as important to allow time to socialise – I found that by using the daytime generally to work (i.e. spends hours between lectures in the library) then evenings could be spent with friends enjoying the other aspects of uni life.
– Books given by the department are useful and provide lots of exercises for practicing methods taught – in terms of other books given on module descriptions – it’s always best to ask the lecturer which they think are particularly helpful then visit the library and take a look at them to get a better idea (I would say for maths it’s better to take out certain books from the library than order them)
– I believe the modules in first year differ from the ones I took but as with all exams, they are difficult if you haven’t revised enough so that you understand all the concepts – analysis can be hard to get your head round at first but honestly, the more you read on it – the better it gets. Even if you have to reread a chapter four times to understand it – it’s fine! Past papers are also really really useful in helping prepare for the exams.
Hope this helps! 🙂