Freshers’ inventory #2: more essential, less obvious items
With Freshers’ week fast approaching you may be starting to get that familiar butterfly feeling in your stomach. Moving away from home for the first time can be a daunting prospect. No more cuddles from mum for starters. It’s crucial therefore, that you surround yourself in your new hall of residence with as many home comforts as is humanly possible to squish into your parent’s hatchback. Thanks to Sophie Warnes’ Freshers’ Guide: What to take to university most of the boxes on the list are already checked. However, drawing on experience, there may be a few less obvious items which are missing from your SOS Student Survival Kit.
Dressing gown & slippers
Dressing gown and slippers are undoubtedly the official student dress-code. They are as much a couple as bread and butter. The Brad & Angelina of loungewear. Most of your student life will be spent curled up in these two furry garments. Consider the following situations. You need to pop down to the local shop at the crack o’ dawn… There’s a midnight snowball fight going on in the courtyard of your hall… The central heating has bust in your flat… Slip into your snuggly robe and don your granddad slippers: all-weather attire, if ever there has been any!
Girls – this essential item may come as part and parcel of your manicure set. Boys – what are you supposed to do when your manky toenails start prodding into your skanky converse? Bite your fingernails all you like but unless you are a talented contortionist, toenails are unreachable. Solution: invest immediately. What’s more, nail scissors are a versatile item. They can be incredibly handy if your hairdresser has taken liberties and made a royal botched job of your barnet. I’ve witnessed friends attempt a Trivia for Dummies shaving kit solution to rectify the damage. Don’t. Your mop will end up looking patchier than a poorly-sheared sheep. Use nail scissors instead.
The importance of cereal cannot be underestimated. It’s a staple of the student diet. I was fortunate to have many international friends at university: French, Dutch, Bulgarians & Indians to name but a few. Their currencies varied from the Euro to the Lev and the Rupee. Surely I, a British national, brought Pound Sterling to the table? Oh no. The only currency I dealt in at university was cereal. Cereal is a heaven send. Granted, cereal requires milk, unless that is you fancy adding boiling water to your porridge oats, creating gloop with the consistency of wallpaper paste. Fill your inside fridge door with Co-op’s uber six-pinters though and problem solved. Breakfast, brunch, tea, dinner, supper, sorted. With an unlimited number of varieties and flavours, cereal never gets boring.
Blue tack/white tack/pins
Having unloaded all your suitcases you lollop back on to your creaking bed, scanning your new surroundings and four walls. Four bare walls. Gosh, it’s a bit dull in here isn’t it? This is where blue tack/white tack or pins (depending on the leniency of your landlord) come to the fore. Walls portray personality. Like a three-dimensional myspace page, your walls will quickly become a storyboard for your personal student experience. The walls in our student house were pasted with a collage of newspaper columns, adorned with an Egyptian flag and pinned with a calendar from the local Chinese. Who knows how we accumulated such rubbish but one thing is for sure – it became a Mecca for guests. Get decorating.
Sweeping open your cupboard doors, disappointment strikes: a bare rail stares back at you. Uh oh, hadn’t considered this eventuality? Don’t bank on your university providing you with clothes hangers. It’s a dangerous gamble, so stash as many as you can in a bag at home and bring them with you. Otherwise a permanent floordrobe is on the cards.
Students are renowned for their opinions. Bringing your voice to university is crucial. Opportunities galore exist within your institution; societies, committees, perhaps a student newspaper to vent your feelings. If nothing else, your voice is what will identify you to other students. Socialising, meeting people and participating in university life – none of this possible without your vocal chords. Make yourself heard.
You will need a sizeable proportion of this if you are to get by in the bubble that you live. Believe it or not, there are local inhabitants of the cities and towns that you are set to invade. Not everyone is fond of students; stereotypes exist and hostility towards you bunch is common. For this reason you are going to need to become street-smart very fast. If a dodgy fella driving a white van pulls over offering you snip-price speakers, don’t fall victim to the scam. If a skinhead approaches you in a boozer and enquires as to your political persuasion, tell him you are a raving fan of Nick Griffin’s nationalists and scarper pronto.
Above all, you will need this item in super-abundance. You may be cut out for student life. You may be shy and nervous. People adjust at different rates. Not having home comforts will be difficult at first, but be strong. If it means drinking black tea when milk supplies have been exhausted, do it. If it means enduring a chastening cold shower when the water is off, do it. Life will get better.Tagged in: freshers, freshers' week, student, Students, university
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