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What to Bring: The Ultimate Freshers Packing List

By the time you leave home you'll be squeezing your duvet through the window, but whatever you pack, don't leave this list of uni essentials behind. Fiona Parker and George Wood explain.

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Credit: Brandon Seager
Credit: Brandon Seager

Three years of less-than wholesome food, 6-hour sleeps and relentless assaults on your liver may leave you with a reasonable amount of psychological baggage. To add to this is the physical trauma of getting a year's worth of your life up to campus in the first case. I can't promise that you will still be able to fit your granny in - even if she did go for tea at Betty's with a boyfriend in the early 1940s...I have however done my best to concoct a list of twenty essentials.

Necessities. Whether it gets you through the boarding gates as you jet off for your term abroad, or merely over the threshold of your favourite nightspot (following a rather unfortunate incident involving your provisional) - don't make the mistake of forgetting your physicalized freedom (a Passport). Freshers' flu will hit you, so you'll need painkillers and cough syrup. Take a dressing-gown - three things in life are inevitable: death, taxes and 1am "accidental" fire alarm drills. Nobody looks "smokin'" in their Taylor Swift "T" and boyfriend's boxers on these occasions. Less is more. And don't forget flip-flops; you'll see why on your kitchen floor after freshers' week. Finally more jumpers than you can ever conceive needing - At this University, nobody can get away with just owning one jumper. Having achieved those conditional grade requirements, you are doomed to spend the next three or four years wrapped in a cocoon of cotton, wool and nylon.

Home comforts. Jazz up your room to avoid homesickness. An extra lamp, some snazzy bed linen and a few photos and posters can turn what would otherwise be a clinical residence into something more homely. Photographs of your former life are also great - those days will one day seem something more than a series of reoccurring humiliations and emotional breakdowns. Just pick your photographs wisely. Dad's firm's charity naked calendar might raise more eyebrows than it did money.

Food and kitchenware. Tea-bags and biscuits will make you popular, gherkins and Riveta less so. Homemade brownies were a double-edged sword for me; they won the hearts of my flatmates during freshers', but I've spent the last year pressured to make more. Splash out on decent knives for chopping (they make life so much easier if you're self-catered) and extra cutlery, for some will go "missing" (or wrapped in cling-film and frozen, depending on who you live with). Ikea bags - Once you've done six or seven trips from the car, the novelty of walking to your new room in halls will have inevitably worn off. These big blue beauties act as their Dr. Who phonebox look-a-likes. Egg Cup - Can be used when consuming something of a sustainable breakfast which will impress your parents more than a bag of M&Ms. It also doubles as a generous shot glass. Finally a toastie Machine - Communal kitchens can, too often, become stages for territorial warfare. Nothing fuels a peace talk like the combination of melted cheddar and a slice of ham (it's Tesco's finest hangover cure as well). Which reminds me - bring alcohol.

Niceties. York has printing services but a printer is worth the investment; journal articles are much easier to read when printed, and having one could be a life-saver when essay deadlines roll in. I personally recommend a Brother all-in-one, as the ink costs are much cheaper. Though board games and multiplayer video games (which can be used in your JCR) are more sociable forms of entertainment - drunken Twister is always fun. If you play a musical instrument, bring it up (unless you play the harp...), since it'll open up avenues to making friends through musical societies and bands. So you're prepared when that school friend phones you saying that she is on the bus from Leeds after realising that her "friend" only emotional trauma and woe, you'll need a sleeping bag. Even if you top-to-toe it, there's always the worry that you will wake up in the middle of the night to her slyly attempting to use one of your socks as a handkerchief. Friendship is something you can't buy, but for everything else there is the Millets sale.

And don't forget... Doorstop, drying rack, fancy dress costume(s), laundry basket and detergent/tablets, clothes hangers, durable bag to carry books/files around campus, stationery (post-it notes are especially handy), first aid kit, toilet roll, kitchen roll, wash bag and supplies, more underwear that you'll conceivably need, sewing kit, a less-than-loved coat (for nights out), portable speakers, air freshener, external hard drive, appreciation for ducks, geese and all forms of waterfowl, and finally...

An Open Mind - University will slightly alter your head - whether you like it or not. You may leave with a hockey stick and return with an air rifle. Allow yourself to try everything you have ever been remotely curious about. There'll be far less time to perfect your sky diving technique when you're working full-time at a top law firm.

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3 Comment

Mr Warning Posted on Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

Hate to be a party pooper. But there's not really any point in this whole freshers guide is there? Which freshers actually know about the York online papers before they see their stalls in Freshers week? I certainly had no idea before I came that there were two active papers...


Maria Posted on Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

I'm a fresher and I read it. There was a link on the facebook page, although I do think there should be more publicity


Anon Posted on Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

"York has printing services but a printer is worth the investment"

No. No it really isn't. At all.

You can pretty much cover your entire three years (longer than a modern ink cartridge will last!) with the cost of your average printer cartridge. The campus printers are fast, easy to use and high quality. Seriously, a double-sided A4 will cost you 3p, and you get PS5 at the start anyway. Don't bother with a printer, but do be careful around deadline days, as queues can get large.

Inkjet printers are awful, awful things, and the sooner we as a society can abandon them and their ridiculous ink costs, the better.


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