I don’t think a definitive list of what to pack for university exists but there are definitely a few essentials that won’t go amiss, unfortunately, none of it is very exciting. Cutlery, cups, plates and cooking utensils might seems obvious suggestions but I didn’t pack any of these things and, instead, thought I’d buy them once I was here to save on the bag space. What I didn’t count on was being swept away in the atmosphere of fresher’s week and the excitement of discovering a new town and new people!
I also had the problem of late student finance. I arrived in York a few days before my money, so buying these things wasn’t as simple as googling the nearest supermarket. When I did eventually get around to buying all of this, I bought it all at the same time and had to walk it back to my accommodation. My neighbour had done the opposite and came fully equipped, so I ended up borrowing some of their things during the first week – not a great first impression. I guess I learnt that it’s better to pack the smaller, more mundane things, rather than focusing on things like DVDs.
You can save extra space in your bags to make room for the necessities by not bringing books. Everything you need to read will be available electronically on the VLE or can be found on the library shelves. There’s a high probability that the books you bring might not even be relevant, or might not be of a high enough academic level. So unless you’re 100% that that book you’re packing is crucial to your degree, leave it at home. I ended up having a shelf full of books in my first year that looked good but were ultimately useless to me and they’ve been really cumbersome every time I’ve moved accommodation.
An absolute essential to pack is a clothes dryer. I read this on a StudentRoom blog a few days before I left for York and it’s the best advice I had. You’re not going to want to tumble dry everything as there’s always the risk of shrinking your favourite clothes. There can also be a lengthy waiting time for the tumble dryers and there’s never a crafty time to use them. During my first year, 90 people were trying to use two dryers, so a clothes hanger can be a fast-track alternative; it’s also free, so I managed to save a few extra £££s during my first year.
I’m quickly coming towards the end of my last year at York and the best advice I can give is to find your own routine. I spent most of my second year trying to hit the idyllic 9-5 Monday-Friday routine for studying but I spent most of this time procrastinating; daytime study just doesn’t work for me. I’m currently trying to write my dissertation and, even though it’s a bit anti-social, working from the late-afternoon is giving me my best results. It’s definitely easier to work at night in my third year than it was during my first and second years as the contact hours are fewer. The dissertation is the biggest piece of work I’ve had to do (around 10,000 words) and one of the hardest things has been choosing the topic; I still haven’t got a title. As a Social and Political Sciences (SPS) student, I had three disciplines to choose from and then an endless amount of topics and theories within those three disciplines, so it was, initially, a bit overwhelming. One of my lecturers gave me some great essay advice in my third year; choose a question you can answer. He basically told me not to pick a question based on what I thought would get me a good mark but to pick a question that, even if basic, I could answer and then the good marks will follow. My dissertation supervisor gave me the same advice.