Five university essentials to take with you in first year, and one to avoid

Amy O'Neill

Get in loser, we're student halls.

Packing for your first year of university can be a stressful time. You might feel like you need to bring along everything but the kitchen sink (and that's only because it won't fit in your dad's Fiat), but packing up your old life and bringing your most cherished mementos doesn't have to be complicated.

That's why we're picked out our top five uni essentials  - to help make your life a little easier. So now, you can save all that stress for your 9am lectures and first set of deadline. Hooray.


1. Things that remind you of home

Okay, this one is a bit of a cop-out. We're not really being specific here, but hey, we're not in your house. We don't know what's going to remind you the most of home, but you probably do. 

So make sure you take it with you. Whatever it is, having a little slice of home will help you settle into your new place a little easier. Whether you think it'll happen or not, we can tell you from experience that you will get homesick during your first year. Maybe not right away, maybe not for very long, but it's going to happen and having something around that reminds you of home will keep you chugging along until summer break.


2. A bright lamp

This one might seem a little bit out there, but you'd be surprised at just how much a bright light can spruce up the place. It'll also become an essential if you're pulling all-nighters. If you're going into student halls for your first year, then your bedroom is likely to be a little on the small side, and possibly even a little dim depending on the size of your windows, so bringing a little more light into the place won't really go wrong.

If you're someone who feels a bit sluggish over the darker, winter months - then splurging for a sun lamp is an even better idea, since it'll help boost your mood and keep your productivity high.


3. A houseplant

You might be scratching your head at this one, thinking "hold on, that's just another thing to look after!" And yeah, it is. But hear us out. Having a little green friend can be a nice, little edition to your place. Not only does it add a little bit of personality to the room, but it can also function as a substitute for any pets you're missing back home.

While it probably won't play fetch with you, houseplants have been proven to be great mood-boosters, and staying close to nature can help manage your stress-levels and brighten up your space - especially if you find yourself living in the middle of the city.


4. A few bed sets

While the arduous task of changing your bed every week might have never bothered you at home, it's going to be made exponentially more difficult with flatmates. Especially if you have a small kitchen space with only one washer/dryer - it's just going to be a struggle. 

To save you having to coordinate your washes with everyone in the flat, bringing enough bed sets to alternate can help solve the problem. You don't need to go and raid B&M, but having at least two or three different sets will mean you can strip off your old sheets, put on your clean set, and not have to worry about a fast turn around for the laundry. 

Let the rest of your flatmates fight over the dryer, gladiator style. 


5. A doorstop 

This is an old chestnut, but keeping your door open can help make you look approachable while you're trying to make friends at your new digs. It can also be great for just airing out your room and giving you more space, but the problem is - most university dorm rooms have fire doors which close automatically. 

To get around this, you'll want to shove a doorstop into your suitcase to keep your door propped, and keep yourself looking friendly and open. And if you don't want to make friends and prefer to remain the mysterious, aloof flatmate? Then switch out the doorstop for a lock.


And one to avoid...

(1.) Literally anything kitchen-related

We know those fancy dining sets make you feel all professional and adult. Like you're really getting your life together. But please believe us when we say, you're never going to use them. At best, you'll use maybe three of your own pots before you give up and just start pulling whatever is already in the cabinets - regardless of who it belongs to.

Whether you end up in a student dorm, or find a flat with some friends, your kitchen is going to end up as one, big, homogenised pile of mismatched plates, cutlery, and pans. Don't fight it, just accept it.