When I arrived at York, I thought I’d stand out with my big suitcase, carry-on suitcase and backpack. I really didn’t – in fact, I had a lot less stuff than anyone else I met. Even other international students had more stuff: parcels they’d shipped in advance, or parents sending them off who carried a couple extra suitcases. I fit my entire life into 32.3 kilograms, and I actually didn’t forget anything at all – a pretty impressive feat, I’d say. So when it comes to packing for uni, how did I do it?
First of all, I had help.
Moving is ridiculous – suddenly, you’re going to feel like you can’t leave a single thing behind. I had my best friend decide whether something should come or stay (and listened to her about 6 times out of 10).
Even the biggest rooms on campus have finite storage space, and (spoiler alert) in two years, I’ve never felt like I missed my college textbooks or the five hoodies that lost their colour in 2012. Having a friend (rather than a worried parent) there with you will help you be rational, but not take yourself too seriously.
Secondly, allow yourself to take some ‘comfort items’.
I actually did let myself take one hideous, hole-ridden hoodie a beloved family member had given me. One hoodie, a t-shirt, a book I’ve read 10 times.
Allowing yourself to take a few comfort items is really helpful because it stops you from filling up an entire suitcase with stuff that really should have gone to the bins ages ago.
The things that you do pack, pack tight – roll (not fold) all your clothes, fill up all your shoes with socks, put bulky things in first and fit all the small stuff in the empty spaces.
Thirdly, make a packing list.
It’s the only way you’ll not forget something really important. Do this as early as possible so you don’t have to spend your last evening at home panicking about not knowing where any of your jeans are.
Make a list of the things you’ll take, things you’ll want to buy at home and things you want to buy at York. For me, this was cooking equipment, linen and towels – I got the linen & towels package from my college and did a big Morrison’s shop for food and cooking equipment on my second day in York.
I think one of the best parts of Freshers’ Week was being able to pick the designs of all my tea towels and plates and mugs.
Finally – don’t freak out!
Packing can be incredibly stressful and that’s okay. It’s a rite of passage. You’re leaving one life and starting another; it’s a great chance to think about who you are and who you want to be (as cheesy as that sounds).
Just don’t worry too much: as long as you pack some warm clothes (October in York? Put those shorts away…) and a toothbrush, you’ll be alright.
The great thing is that York is full of shops, you’ll be home for Christmas in 10 short weeks and able to pick up anything you forgot, and if that’s too long of a wait, your Mum will be elated to send you your first care package!