Results day is over, you’ve accepted your offer, and now it’s time to pack your bags and move to your chosen university. Here’s what to do and what to avoid while moving:
DO plan carefully. Leaving home to go to uni is both very exciting but also intimidating and frankly quite stressful. Planning ahead is the best way to keep the stress to a minimum. Start by making a list of all the things you need (and want) to pack and how you’re going to do so. If you are travelling to uni by car, this part is a bit easier because you can simply pack boxes and shove extra stuff in the car. However, travelling by plane or train, is trickier as you only have limited space. The positive side of having limited space is that it will keep you from packing too much unnecessary stuff, but it also makes planning all the more valuable.
DON’T try to pack everything. It is incredibly tempting to pack your whole life into boxes/a suitcase and just take it all with you, but in the end, this is not necessary and overpacking is inconvenient at best. Your room at uni might be (a lot) smaller than your room at home, and bringing all your stuff will just make it look even tinier.
DO only pack winter clothes. If you are moving to uni for the winter semester, you will not need your entire summer wardrobe; it will definitely not be warm enough. You can bring a light jacket for milder autumn days, but shorts, sandals, and the like won’t be needed. You can simply swap out your jumpers and winter coat for more summery items over the easter break instead of having an overcrowded wardrobe all year long.
DON’T leave packing to the last minute. Packing for uni is not the same as packing for a short holiday; it takes time and requires more thought. Because you won’t be able to pack everything you have to decide what to pack and how to make the most out of the space you have. Most likely, you will have to re-arrange everything at least once, and that is a lot less inconvenient if you don’t have to do it in a rush. Leaving plenty of time also makes you less likely to forget something.
DO get an idea of what your room will look like. If only possible I’d suggest you go and see the room you’ll be living in. That way, you can already plan how you will store your belongings and get and start thinking about how you want to decorate it to make it feel more like home. If that is not possible, and it wasn’t for me, ask for pictures and videos and maybe a floorplan. While this is not the same as an in-person visit, it will still give you an idea of the room and you won’t be completely surprised when you get there.
DON’T worry if you forget something. Shops exist even in your university city. If after all that careful planning you still forget something, you can just pop to a shop and get it. Most stores have student offers on home- and kitchenware at the beginning of September/October, so you’ll get away with reasonable prices. At the same time, shops will be packed during the first couple of weeks, so try to keep trips to a minimum.
DO try to find and get to know your flatmates (if you have any). If you move into a shared flat with people you have never met before it can be reassuring to meet them virtually before, meeting them in person. There are Facebook groups for most universities where people look for their flatmates, just join one and maybe you’re lucky and find yours.
DON’T bring anything too valuable. This is especially true if you are moving into halls, the risk of having a valuable or sentimental item such as jewellery stolen is too high, and it is therefore safer to leave these things at home for the time being.
DO bring cleaning utensils. Although your place should have been cleaned beforehand, it’s better to give it a quick clean before you unpack everything, just to be absolutely sure.
DON’T buy a 12-piece dinner set. You might think this is a joke, but someone in my first-year flat actually brought one and took up more cupboard space than anyone else. You DON’T need that many plates! Two, maybe four if you don’t like washing up, plates and bowls are more than enough. The same goes for cups, mugs and your other kitchenware.
DO print some photos of friends and family. To make your room feel more like home from the get-go, bring some of your favourite pictures and put them up first thing; it makes all the difference. Just be careful that you don’t leave any marks on the walls.
DON’T bring plenty of food. Again: shops exist in your uni city, packing food takes up space that could be used for more important and personal items. It is a good idea to bring enough for a few days (if you have the space) so you don’t have to do a food shop on the first day, but it is by no means a necessity.Do bring your bedding if you can. If you have the space to bring your bedding from home, I would do so. Sleeping in the bedding you’re used to makes the new bed feel more familiar and you’ll sleep better. It will also help with feeling homesick.