Sunday, 18 August 2013

Attention Freshers!

Many of you would have got that little brown envelope last Thursday (or in July if you, like I was last year, are an IB kid). For a lot of you, that little envelope held your golden ticket into university in September! For those of you brave enough to venture straight into the world of work, treat this post as the ultimate pay day wishlist, for those future freshers among you, this is a selection of the things you will most definately NEED at university.

If you are anything like I was last year, you will feel like an entire new wardrobe is needed for uni. So you will head for Primark and buy everything in the shop and then have nowhere to pack it, nowhere to store it when you are at uni and the millions of items you purchased before uni will probably be quite poor quality. I did this last year and regretted it massively when my entire wardrobe basically fell apart within the first few weeks because I had gone for quantity over quality.

After a year at university, I finally think I have got the must have uni wardrobe nailed. So, I have put together the items I think you definately need to invest in while you still have access to mum/dads bank account and while you are still willing to spend the money (trust me, when you get your student loan you will be studying your bank account religiously everyday).

This is not going to be a cheap list, but if you play it right, these items should last you long enough that you won't need to replace them for at least a year- they are definitely investment pieces.

A well fitting, good quality pair of jeans is essential. Head down to Levi's and grab yourself a pair. You must make sure you try them on as there are all sorts of different measurements in the store that you will need to try out to ensure you get the perfect pair- the shop assistants are generally really helpful so ask them if you have any questions. Don't forget to take someone with you for a second opinion! But they are £80, but so worth it. I've had mine for a year and they're still going strong.

A decent pair of boots is a complete must. You will be walking a lot (unless you are braving taking a car- I wouldn't advise that though) so it's important to make sure your feet are nice and comfy in your winter boots. Those £20 ones you got in New Look last year will sadly not survive a winter of walking for a second year I'm afraid- I found that out the hard way. Again, make sure you try them on and have a little parade around the shop to make sure you're going to be comfortable. Try and get a pair that will go with most things so you won't need to buy 5 pairs to match your 5 favourite outfits. These are from Jones the Bootmaker are £89 (these might be one to ask for for Christmas...)

A great quality winter coat. You probably get one almost every year anyway, but I would say get yourself a nice one that will last you through the Autumn and the Winter for a couple of years. This will prevent you having to buy one for every outfit, as long as you get a colour that goes with most things. I find that it's often good to get one in a size up so you can wear jumpers and what not under it, comfortably. This one is from Zara and is £109.

A big bag is essential for taking books and laptops to and from the library and lectures. Don't be fooled by that really nice one in Primark- the handle is going to snap in the library, spilling your worldly possessions all over the floor in the silent study area. Yes, this happened to me. Invest in a strong one from somewhere like Accessorize. This one is £45 but they do student discount! 

Get a pair of Converse or Vans that will go with anything. I find that white is always a safe option. They are really comfy and will tie you over until you get your boots and then will be a god send when spring eventually comes around. These are £45.

It's a lot to spend, I know but these products will all last you for the whole year and beyond, so well worth the investment, even if you just pick a couple of them. Always flash your student card- you never know!

There are a couple of other tips I found that I think are worth sharing:

- Don't buy all of Ikea when kitchen stuff shopping. You don't need it all- ask yourself what you are realistically going to use- otherwise it's just filling a space in the car on the way down.

- Vacuum pack anything that can be vacuum packed. It will save many arguments when packing the car the morning you leave.

- Don't take your summer clothes! You won't need them. Unless there is an event that you are sure is coming up that you will need them for, leave them at home. Make sure you take a good supply of jumpers!

- Get an NUS card. It's £12 for the year and you save so much money. Some students can get away with just using their uni ID card, but some shops can be funny and you can't use them online, so get an NUS just to be safe.

- Get a railcard. It will be invaluable to you when going home for the weekend, popping over to a friends uni or going into London. You save a third, but you can't use it before 9:30am, which won't matter anyway.

- Budget! I cannot stress this enough. For some of you, your student loan will be the biggest sum of money you have had- don't get too excited! It has to last you until January so don't spend it all in one go. Make sure you budget what you're spending. I put my loan straight in my savings account and transferred about £600 of it to my student account so I didn't splurge the whole lot. But I was only entitled to the smallest loan, which didn't cover my rent, so luckily my Dad was paying that. If you are paying your own rent, always make sure you have enough every month! Otherwise you might get an overdraft charge- no fun.

- Have fun! Your primary focus in the first few weeks is to settle in and get to know people. Make sure you enjoy yourself and never underestimate the power of the budget alcohol brands. Smirnoff and Malibu are not going to be realistic, Glenns and Copacabana are. Obviously enjoy these responsibly...

Corr that was a heffer of a post- hope I've still go some of your attention! I know going to uni for the first time is stressful and expensive but once all that is out the way and you've moved in, your parents have wept at the loss of their child, get out there and have fun. I personally had quite a difficult Freshers Week. I wish I'd chilled out and just gone with it a bit more- so make sure you do that!

Happy packing and congratulations!


  1. Wow this is super helpful! :) I will have to save this for later!! :)
    Penny Rose

    1. aha thanks- a few of the things i wish i'd known last year! given your blog a look- following you now :)

      Becci x

  2. Hahah love the bit about Copacobana....I lived on that stuff in semester 2 and can vouch that it's a fab alternative to Malibu (and about 1/3 of the price :P )

    1. aha ikr! found a really great one called cocobay from aldi- only a fiver! x