This is an updated version from last year, but much of the copy is the same for speed. But it was a whole year ago so you may have forgotten some of the jokes.
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 but is worryingly inexpensive.
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 these brilliant Nabaiji quick-dry swim towels. They pack down to nothing and do the job well. For long hair their quick-dry hair turbans are terrific. 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 4 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. Top tip: get one in a snazzy colour so you can always find it.
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.
For making healthful and economic packed lunches to eat in breaks during 8-hour library study sessions. Ha ha. My top tip from chef friends is NOT to get nesting boxes – get four exactly the same size, then when ultimately one of the lids gets lost you will have replacements.
For learning new languages. Ha ha!
I have a pair of these Bose ones and can vouch for how good they are.
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.
Just handy. Or this one looks incredibly serious.
I am reliably informed that having your own chopping mat or tray is very useful at university so that you can put down your food on a clean surface and you don’t need to clean the whole of some utterly rank kitchen before making a sandwich. Simple, wipe-clean trays are also very useful for bathroom stuff or other kitchen activity.
Absolutely no.1 most popular recommendation from last year – a set of string lights will cheer up and make cosy even the most ghastly digs. These are mains operated but you can get battery ones, too.
Your Fresher will probably balk in the first term at labelling their stuff but after a term of having everything nicked, they might change their mind – get a sheet of Stikins with their name on it in anticipation of this.
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.
An extension plug, extra sockets are always welcome. A first aid kit with pain killers, antihistamine etc. Drawing pins, there’s usually a cork board.
Potentially controversial one here, but the Meningitis Vaccine if not already given
Nigel Slater Eat. The little yellow one. Fast, cheap, store cupboard friendly. I seduced a v hot Arabic boy w his recipe for aubergine parmigiana.