I know, I know – I am late to this. I blame the summer holidays. I blame the summer holidays for everything right now – plastic in the oceans, anti-semitism in the Labour party, the renaissance of measles in Europe… everything.
You have probably kitted any Fresher-age kids – (kids?? Adults!) – in your care out already with everything they need should they be heading off to University in October but in case you haven’t, I have spent some time compiling a list of thoughtful and unusual and very useful things, (even if I do say so myself), that you might not have considered.
Honestly the best things I brought to university with me, (possibly the best thing about university for me, full-stop, which was otherwise a 3 year slo-mo car crash), were a set of 2 tall plastic glasses. Actual glass would have smashed when I tried to wash it up in the hall communal bathroom basins (shudder) and I almost always had a nightmarish hangover and had to drink Ribena and Berrocca on rotation.
If you’ve had a child at boarding school you will already be evangelical about these otherwise monstrous items. These particular ones are 25cm x 60cm which is a good manageable size for clothes and other clutter. When not in use they can be folded down and stored away in a tiny space. I never pack for anywhere in anything else unless I have to go on an airplane and even then I would if I didn’t think my husband would say no.
I’m told that University students need a time device separate from their phone that is battery-operated; this looks pleasingly practical and is reassuringly expensive. Try not to laugh at the phrase “German movement”.
For the young coffee addict in your life; proper coffee without needing a cafetière. We have TWO of these for the older coffee addict in my life.
I have many of this brilliant Nabaiji quick-dry swim towels. They pack down to nothing and do the job well. If you have a particular dorkster as a kid, you can have a joke as you hand it over about Ford Prefect and the importance of always having a towel etc
A delicious cheese and ham toastie in even the mankiest of communal toasters.
… because until The Matrix becomes real life and we are the batteries, electricity on the hoof is essential to the modern student.
For wedging your dorm room door open to facilitate socialising. Ugh maybe only if I’d had this I’d have made some friends.
I can’t imagine life without our UE Boom Box. I take it everywhere, either for an impromptu disco when we have run out of other ideas, or to listen to Radio 4 through my phone when there is no radio. I have had other portable Bluetooth speakers in my time and the Bluetooth always stops working after a while – but I’ve had my UE for 3 years now and it’s going strong. This one I have linked to is their newest model and is waterproof so your Fresher can listen to Today in the shower at 7am. Ha ha.
Just a general life essential for everyone. I’ve got one in my kitchen right now. This one looks like a clever and snazzy design.
Who doesn’t need scissors? I have 4 pairs in my kitchen alone.
I like this natty nesting set (though your child will lose all the component parts in a matter of minutes) for making healthful and economic packed lunches to eat in breaks during 8-hour library study sessions. Ha ha.
For learning new languages. Ha ha!
I have a pair of these Bose ones and can vouch for how good they are.
Hanging stuff up is 100% easier than folding it – these hangars are brilliant, (whether or not you are off to university), because they are non-slip and take up very little space when not in use – unlike giant slippery wooden clattery jobs. Your University-age child will mostly not hang their stuff up but when they come in drunk at 2am and suddenly decide to have a massive tidy-up (this is a recognised phenomenon) they will come in handy.
[p.s. if anyone is thinking of pointing out that I have spelled “hangar” wrong know that I purposefully LEAVE spelling mistakes in that have been pointed out to me, so infuriating do I find it to have spelling mistakes pointed out to me. So, like, don’t bother.]
Because communal dorm bathrooms are the most rank, shudder-some places in the world. If Adidas made HazMat suits I would recommend one of those. If for some reason your post-millennial wunderbabe doesn’t already have a pair of these, they need some.
What else have I forgotten? I don’t mean linen and pots and pans – I mean unusual and quirky essentials that might not occur to everyone. Please leave a message in the handy box below.