It’s true that a lot of students in York come from surrounding areas and can go home whenever they fancy. For some, however, going home and picking up items that you forgot or only recently realized would be useful is not an option. I am part of this latter group, especially since I come from outside the UK. Paying for cabin luggage and carrying it on your way to York is not always convenient either. This is why, when I first arrived here, both of my parents came with me, each with a cabin bag filled with my things. Even so, there still were items that either did not fit or that I did not think to bring in the UK and this is most likely the case with every student that is not fully used to taking care of themselves on their own.
I was surprised to see that washing machines on campus are huge and that you should fill up about ¾ of one each wash. This means that if most of your white clothing consists of socks and a few shirts, you might end up washing them by hand, which I did quite a few times. Regardless, I ended up going to town and buying some white clothing, as well as a £10 drying rack that has served me well. It is not of the best quality but it’s not too large for my room, it does the job and it saves me £1.50. I would have otherwise used for a dryer that does not even dry properly. Obviously, carrying a drying rack from home may not be a good option for everyone but being more selective with the kind of clothing one brings is never a bad idea.
Not being catered may have something to do with it but at some point I realized I can’t rely mainly on ready-made meals, restaurants or different variations of pasta. This is not only for health reasons but also because of the cost. Cooking from scratch will generally end up being cheaper and one day, looking at their balance, most 1st years will come to this conclusion. So, to the extent that they can, newcomers should bring kitchen items that they have in surplus at home if they are the expensive kind. Some spices and other easy to carry ingredients could also be a good idea for those that are attached to their country’s traditional meals, if they were to think them hard to find in the UK. I for one have never had a strong attachment of this sort but I have witnessed it in some of my peers from countries outside of Europe.
I am not a sporty person and I have never been one so I didn’t initially consider the idea that I might want to join a sport club or college team. Later I realized that it can be a great way to keep healthy and socialize. As a result and to my shame, I didn’t bring any sports gear and so, there I was a few months later looking for good deals and sales online. And no, regular trainers are not a good replacement for tennis shoes. Maybe I could have used some of the money that I spent during Freshers’ Fair, when I managed to ignore everything sports related but pay memberships for societies which I never ended up going to. This is why the next few times I returned from home after the breaks, a large part of my luggage was constituted of sweatpants, sports bras, socks and so on.
I Am an Adult Now
I may not be fully independent now but I am far away from my home and the help that I can get from my family is very limited, which means I had to learn how to manage certain aspects of my life alone. At first it wasn’t easy because I had to find what suits me and my lifestyle best, considering the advice of other people, of course. In the end, all the planning about what to pack for my trips to home and back made me learn how to prioritize certain needs over others and how to use what I have efficiently. It can be a humbling experience because it makes you appreciate more all the care and support you have received from the ones close to you your whole life and prepares you to do it yourself in the future.