Learn from my mistakes: Packing
With only a few weeks left of summer, I’m sure everyone is starting to pack (or, at least for the procrastinators among us, starting to think about packing), and with that responsibility comes the age-old question: Do I really NEED 3 identical pans, 15 pairs of shoes and a lifetime supply of stationery?
Yes, I packed all of these things, and more, in my first year, and while I’m sure most people aren’t intending to over-pack to quite my extremes (it’s no easy task, I assure you), it’s so easy to pack far too much , to get to your university accommodation and realise you’ve not left any space for y’know… you. And so this blog post is going to be a few tips from someone who learned what not to do first hand, in the hopes you can avoid making the same mistakes.
First things first. Clothes. I am infamously TERRIBLE at sorting clothes at the best of times, so when it came to pack for first year I decided to basically take every item of clothing I owned. I didn’t, however, accommodate for the fact that I was downsizing from two wardrobes full of clothes- some of which I’d not worn for years- to the wardrobe and chest of drawers in my first-year home of Tocil. And so, upon arrival, I had to quickly reassess and ended up sending boxes back home full of clothes that I never really needed to pack in the first place. (The fact that those boxes then went unopened for two years before I finally caved and donated them this summer is only another testament to my hoarding nature).
Obviously, I know I’m an extreme case (and entirely enabled by my mum may I add), but what I’m trying to say is be ruthless with yourself. If you find yourself packing an extra few pairs of socks ‘just in case’, I can assure you that under no circumstances will there be a scenario in which you will regret leaving them at home. You will, however, definitely be grateful when you don’t have to Tetris the tower of socks into a drawer beside your ‘just in case’ pants and your ‘just in case’ 10th pair of jeans (something I got extremely good at over the last two years, but which never got any more fun).
Now you’ve got your clothes packed (hopefully not 10 boxes worth, but hey I’m not one to judge), you can start to think about your kitchenware. My recommendation here is don’t fall into the IKEA trap. As tempting as it is to get the opt for the cheap-and-easy sets of crockery and cutlery, that temptation strikes every student on their religious pre-uni IKEA trip (I’m yet to meet a student who hasn’t been), so it will only be a matter days until you’re debating which identical white plate is yours and which is your flatmates. Be unique! Be individual! Get cutlery with funky handles and plates in weird colours. Be the person with the spoon engraved with your name if you must, just don’t be left staring at the draining board trying to determine which of the ten plain metal knives is YOUR plain metal knife.
Next, think about the additional extras you’re planning to pack. I started university under the entirely misguided notion that I was going to have a lot of time to kill in my room. I packed dozens of books, my trusty Friends box set, various other films, art supplies and anything else I could lay my hands on. Ah, how I was wrong. Uni is a hectic lifestyle that I can barely explain and, while you obviously do get the occasional down time, because you’re living surrounded by people you rarely spend it on your own. For all of first year, the Friends DVDs sat on my top shelf collecting dust, and the books I brought looked on sadly as I left my room to socialise in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, you can always make alone time if you need it, but what I’m saying is don’t take dozens of things to occupy your time. Chances are, if you are feeling particularly bored, you can find something to do which doesn’t require most of your shelf space and a lot of heavy lifting. If all else fails though, get a Netflix account- it’s a lot easier to pack.
So now we’ve fully established that I am far from an expert when it comes to packing (let me fail so you don’t have to), and for fear of beginning to sound like an overprotective mother, here are a few things that I recommend you double check you have safely packed:
Firstly, your passport.For certain jobs at Warwick, you need proof of eligibility to work in the UK and your passport is usually the easiest way to prove this (for UK citizens). I applied to be a Student Ambassador in my first year (hence the snazzy yellow T-Shirt in my profile picture) and to get put onto the payroll I had to produce my passport, which required my dad becoming a personal courier service and having to drive it up one weekend. Also a lot of the sports clubs here go on an international tour towards the end of term 2 so you will most likely need your passport details for that if you end up joining a club and wanting to go!
Secondly, your ID (if this isn’t also your passport… obviously). You don’t want to get to uni and realise your proof of age is sat at home being no good to anyone, especially if you like a good night out- you wouldn’t want to miss out on the freshers nights in Coventry or Leamington Spa.
Thirdly make sure you have all of your electronics and their associated wires! No use in having a laptop without a charger, or setting up your TV and realising you haven’t got the power wire to plug it in, so double check your wires carefully to prevent an (admittedly minor, but not minor for YOU) disaster.
Also, as unwieldy as they are to pack, and as the official bane of my life, coat hangers are a must unless you want a pile of clothes on your bedroom floor all year (not that they completely avoid this most of the time, but at least they give you an alternative option, right?)
And finally, chuck in a pack of cards. There’s no need to fork out, or buy anything fancy, but having a spare pack will make you the saviour of many a pre-drinks (if that’s your thing), or just give you something to do with your flatmates to break the ice. Nothing is quite as universal as a highly competitive game of Irish Snap.
If you have any more questions about packing dos and don’ts feel free to comment below and I’ll reply as quickly as I can! Good luck!