On Thursday, you got your A-Level results.
On Friday, the hangover and the reality of university hit.
For most people, this means moving away from your home, your family and your friends. It’s exciting: you’re finally an adult and the joys of student life await you. Freshers! Studying! Living alone! Etcetera!
And then the panic sinks in. The date looms when suddenly, you’re cast out into the world, left to fend for yourself. Obviously it’s not that dramatic but it certainly feels it. It’s like you’re starting from scratch, whether that’s buying your own plates and cutlery, or deciding what you want to take from your childhood bedroom. A trip to Ikea is in order as you start to pack every single thing you own into your family’s suitcases. I will tell you now that you won’t even touch 2/3 of it and this time next year it will re-emerge, still not unpacked from September.
Here are the things I wish I had avoided bringing to my first year of university:
- Good quality pots, pans and plates. No matter how nice your flatmates are, someone will break them, leave mouldy food on them, or just outright steal them.
- Nice clothes for going out. Student nights are sticky affairs and most people wear jeans.
- Heels. No one wears heels at university, except once a year at your society ball or graduation. Don’t be the dickhead tottering around when everyone else is in their filthiest trainers.
- Your favourite teddy bear from when you were a baby. Or at least hide it very well, otherwise it will end up a victim of pre-drinks when someone thinks it’d be funny to cover it in lube or something (this one didn’t happen to me but one of my friends is no longer able to look at Bertie Bear in the same way).
- A printer. Everyone will be begging you to use it for “just this one thing” which turns out to be sixteen pages of a full-colour presentation that ends up in the bin anyway. University libraries have their uses, printing being one of them. Or, work out which of your flatmates is the idiot who bought a printer and abuse that.
- Brand-new stationary. This isn’t Year 7 when a trip to WHSmith resulted in a bag of various gel pens, matching folders and a dent in your bank balance. You need paper and pens, that’s it, so don’t be the one person carrying around a rainbow pencil case crammed with colouring pencils.
- Student cookbooks. Just google it.
And what I wish I had:
- Tupperware. You’ll batch-cook everything from chilli to casserole and if you leave it in the pot for the next day, your flatmates will be out for murder.
- Toilet roll. You never remember to buy it until you run out.
There’s plenty more but I think that every first year needs to make stupid mistakes for themselves. Let’s call it a ‘learning curve’, although it’s definitely more just for the amusing stories that will come out of it.
Those of us in final year are looking on your naivety with a mixture of nostalgia and condescension. All I can say is good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour.*
*I’m definitely five years behind with the Hunger Games reference. Just shows my age.