So, you're going off to university. But how do you know you've got everything you'll need? It's hard to... but you might find this checklist useful. I compiled it based on everything I have with me in my Uni. room at the moment; your requirements will probably be a bit different, but this might remind you of something you've forgotten:

  • A computer, if you're taking one. You might want:
    • Case, if it's a desktop (I have a desktop and it's fine - I don't really feel I need a laptop).
    • Monitor useful for seeing stuff on.
    • Keyboard and mouse are also often useful.
    • Loudspeakers if you're playing MP3s, remember them too.
    • Headphones if you have noisy flatmates, or a roommate, or you're going to go to LAN parties.
    • Floppy Disks are still useful when the network's down or part of it isn't properly accessible due to interdepartmental incompatibilities. It happens.
    • Blank CDs if you have a CD writer... after all, you might want to use it.
    • Rewritable CDs can be useful, but you might not need more than a couple.
    • Short length of Cat5 network cable length 3-5m, to connect your computer to the room's LAN socket (your room does have broadband internet access, doesn't it?)
    • Printer, preferably one that doesn't suck. You can use it to print out your assignments and stuff. Of course, most unis have printing facilities that tend to feature high quality laser printers, so you can manage without one.
    • Consumables, such as paper, ink cartridges, CD cases.
    • Driver CDs, in case stuff fucks up and you have to reinstall. Trust me, it happens.
    • Mouse pad for your mouse.
    • CABLES to connect things together and everything to the power. Nothing's worse than bringng up a printer and not being able to plug it in. Well, many things actually are, but it's still quite annoying.
  • A portable CD or MP3 player can be useful if you have to make long treks to shops or something. Plus you can connect it directly to your speakers for a makeshift music player.
  • Batteries, mainly AA ones, are handy. They go in TV removes, CD players, electric toothbrushes, vibrators, fairy wings with flashing lights, etc. It can be cheaper to buy a pack of 20 than to buy loads of smaller packs when you need them - it's also more convenient.
  • Ring binders. I like the four-hole ones myself, but others are fine as well. Some modules will produce a lot more paperwork than others, so it's worth having some big files and some smaller ones.
  • A hole punch. Number of holes should match binders. It can be worth getting a decent one, as you might have to punch a whole bunch of sheets of paper, and a flimsy, cheap one might not perform.
  • File paper. Number of holes should match ring binders. It's worth getting a type you've tried before - I've had some pads that it's near-impossible to get paper out of without ripping it, and the last thing you want it a big pad of paper that's really hard to use.
  • Books. It's hard to know what to say here - I brought up some books that I never used at all, but the physics textbook I brought with me proved far better than the brand new course text I got in the university shop. It's up to you what you bring.
  • DVDs are great - you can watch them on your PC with your friends, or on TV, etc. If you have some good DVDs, you may as well bring them.
  • Big box of penguin mints. This is more a personal preference. You can bring any brand of breath-freshening thing you like.
  • String can be useful, like for putting Christmas decorations up. Bring along a meter or two of the stuff.
  • Sellotape (Cellotape, Scotch Tape) on a dispenser is useful around Christmas, and for people's birthdays.
  • Wrapping paper is handy too - most people don't think of this
  • A CD pouch - one of those ones that holds CDs without their cases - is a better way of storing your CDs than keeping them in cases, in my experience. Takes up less space and is easier to transport.
  • Multivitamins can be nice when recovering from a night out - it's also easy to get your parents to buy them for you.
  • Sunglasses are nice on sunny days, to stop you getting dazzled.
  • Hat(s) can be nice in cold weather, as can gloves and maybe even warm socks. The are also useful if you and your mates go ice skating.
  • A duster is useful for cleaning fingerprints off your computer monitor. You could probably dust with it if you want, but you don't have to.
  • Medical stuff can be useful. Headache treatments (or general painkillers), cold treatments, tubular bandages, throat lozenges and plasters came in handy for me, although not in large quantities. In the first few weeks, everyone seems to get sick.
  • Calculator, particularly if you're doing technical stuff. Check first to find out whether you need a certain type - my uni doesn't allow programmable or graphical calculators into exams, so spending cash on one would be wasteful.
  • Post-it notes are really useful if you ask me. Consider bringing some. A lot of store brand post-it notes suck, so either get a brand you've tried before or get 'real' ones.
  • Mobile phone, if you own one. Useful for texting, calling friends. Remember your phone charger.
  • Note pad, ideally with easy-to-remove sheets. Useful for shopping lists, and notes to give to people.
  • Wallet, to hold things such as:
    • Cash for buying stuff.
    • Tiny stubby pencil for writing when you didn't bring anything else.
    • Official Uni. ID card for getting into places etc.
    • Credit/debit card, hopefully a student one with a free overdraft. Not that you should need it.
    • Other cards and stuff, I have some membership cards, an organ donor card, etc.
  • Pencil, pen - useful for writing on stuff. Make sure you have a pen for writing cheques.
  • Clock, for telling the time with.
  • Permanant markers, for writing on CDs, marking people's milk in the fridge, etc. etc.
  • Tissues. Remember I said everyone gets sick? You will almost certainly get some sort of cold. Have tissues on hand ready.
  • Official paperwork - you know, sometimes you need this stuff.
  • Pack of pencils - I don't know where all of mine have gone... I tend to give them to people and stuff. It's nice to have them handy though.
  • Pack of cartridges for cartridge pen. I don't know why I brought them - I haven’t even opened the packet, and I've pretty much never used the pen.
  • Stapler for holding those important assignments together. It's worth getting a decent one. Mine keeps mis-stapling things, so my reports have a bunch of holes in the corner. Annoying. Remember a pack of staples to go with that stapler.
  • Blu-tak (Blu-Tack, Blue Tack, Fun Tak) or something similar is great for putting up posters and decorations.
  • Masking tape is handy - I put it over the lights on my computer to diffuse the light, as I leave it on constantly. It has other uses as well, of course.
  • Cheap biros (Ballpoint pens) are sometimes useful, so you could bring a couple.
  • Passport photos can be handy. I only ever needed two of myself, but you may as well get a strip.
  • Map of university. You'll probably get handed one of these when you first visit, or when you arrive or something. Hang onto it - you never know when it'll be useful.
  • Map of nearby towns for when you go there. Particularly if the uni is in a town. Oh, and note down instructions on how to get home if you're being driven somewhere by someone not from the area and you'll be drunk on the way back.
  • Cheque book, for if you decide to buy anything from other guys, signing house contracts, etc. etc.
  • Hard copy of important passwords, especially if you have 'high security' passwords that you've been keeping in a password storing program. It's nice to have a paper backup just in case (although this isn't very good security practice).
  • A few tools such as a computer-screw-size screwdriver, a tape measure, a pair of wire cutters, computer case blanking plates, wire stripping tool, chocolate block. Well, you probably won't need any of those things, but you never know.
  • Power strips with four or five sockets. If you have a computer, monitor, printer, powered speakers, etc you probably won't have enough fitted sockets to plug everything in. You may also have a phone charger, hair dryer, guitar amp, wireless headphones base station, etc. so it's worth taking two of these things.
  • Small suitcase with wheels, particularly if it's a long walk to the supermarket and you're not allowed to bring trolleys onto the campus. That 24-bottle pack of Stella might have been great value, but you don't want to carry it for 15 minutes. A small suitcase with wheels, however, can let you carry heavy things easily. HINT: You can also use this to transport things when first coming to university.
  • Drying rack. People always seem to end up doing their washing at the same time, so it's useful to have a rack of your own - you can't rely on communal things to be present when you need them.
  • Backpack for carrying heavy books and binders, and sports gear.
  • Posters and other wall coverings. Should be attached to walls to make room look less hotel-like. Some people like paintings and term planners too.
  • Bed sheets if they aren't provided for you. If they are, many people bring their own duvet anyway. You can too, if you want. Pillow case(s) are the same.
  • Shoes. Well, trainers most of the time but it's nice to have some other shoes available.
  • Alarm clock. Noisy, hard to turn off. To get you out of bed for early lectures.
  • Sports drink bottle. I keep one by my bed in case I'm thirsty at night. It's less bother than a glass. Also useful when doing sports.
  • Torch (Flashlight) - handy for seeing things in the dark.
  • Expensive aftershave. Well, you don't actually need this, but I have some anyway.
  • Socks, pants. You will probably not have enough underwear to go with all your clothes. Get your parents to buy you more, so you can cut don on expensive and bothersome trips to the laundry. And less trips to the laundry means less ironing.
  • Condoms. Better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
  • Toiletries, such as shaving foam, razor, spare razor blades, shampoo, soap (possibly liquid), fluffy bubble-making thing, anti-spot stuff, toothbrush (plus spare), toothpaste, deodorant, little bag for carrying things to the shower.
  • Large cardboard box, which I used to bring stuff here. You can pack stuff up in it when you're ready to leave, and until then you can use it as a holding place for junk you don't use. I'm using mine to store an umbrella I have never used and some spare four-ring binders.
  • Box of cheap glasses; shot glasses. Some of your glasses are bound to go missing and/or get broken, so it's worth having some spares. Also, it's nice to be able to pull out a full set of wine glasses or shot glasses when you need them.
  • Clothes are an important one. What you bring is up to you and your personal style, but I personally try to include:
    • Jeans in black and denim. Several pairs. This is pretty much student uniform.
    • Shirts can make you look a bit more studious and formal. Useful for doing presentations and talking to lecturers.
    • T-shirts are always nice. Pack a few so cut down on washing trips.
    • Jumpers keep you warm in the winter.
    • Tracksuit stuff is worth having, in case you take up a sport.
    • Martial arts uniforms will be useful if you do a martial art. Don't forget your belt, and a white belt if you're thinking of taking something else up.
    • Ties can all a touch of class to an otherwise plain outfit. Lots of places have events where you go in your school uniform, so take your school tie along as well.
    • Cufflinks and tie clips are pretty cool if you ask me.
    • Suits can come in handy too, but aren't vital. A nice suit can look good with a T-shirt, or you can wear a suit jacket with a shirt, jeans and trainers.
    • Swimming shorts could come in handy.
    • Pajamas are good for film-watching, sleepovers, breakfast, visits to campus shops, etc.
    • A coat or two can be nice.
    • A dressing gown will be useful when some fucker sets off the fire alarm at 2:30 in the morning. If this happens, grab a jumper or two at the same time for your less prepared friends.
  • Washing powder will be useful when you wash stuff.
  • A beer stein with a handle will stop your hand getting cold while drinking. Also, it can be a good conversation piece.
  • An iron will help you flatten your stuff
  • Stash of small 'fun sized' chocolates can make you instant friends.
  • Pots and pans are useful for cooking with. If you (or someone else) does big meals for everyone at Christmas etc it can be useful to have some bigger pans, but you won't need that if you're just cooking for yourself.
  • Cutlery will come in handy. Knives, forks, spoons, etc.
  • Crockery, such as plates, dishes and side plates will be useful.
  • Cooking utensils, such as a bottle opener, a baking tray, a sharp knife, a wooden spoon, a spatula, etc. etc.
  • Stationery needed will depend on your course. I do everything in 5mm mechanical pencil, but you probably want something else. Remember ruler, rubber, pen, spare lead for mechanical pencil, etc. etc.
  • Mugs for tea and coffee.
  • Teapot for brewing your tea in. Or maybe this is just me...
  • Sponge with washing liquid in handle. This is hard to describe... it's a sponge with a handle, and you can fill the handle with washing-up liquid, which feeds out as you use it. This is good when the sink is full of other people's shit - you don't have to fill the sink with water or anything; you can just run the hot tap and use this to soap and scouer.
  • Food of your choice. Get your parents to stock you up every time they come - it'll save you quite a bit of money. Play your cards right and they'll even pick stuff up for you and deliver it, so you won't have to go to the supermarket. Of course, if you are with them they won't 'forget' your 24-can pack of Kronenberg...
  • Bike, particularly if you live a long way from somewhere you need to go. Much easier/faster than walking. Clearly, less useful if you don't need to go anywhere too far away.

There may be other stuff you need, depending on your situation. If you can think of any glaring omissions, just /msg me and I'll add your suggestions.


tdent says How about - Money - to buy most of the above? Certainly saves on the transportation costs. Of course you'll need some things to get started, but I don't think it's necessary to buy ring binders in advance...

That's true if your uni is in a city or something, but I'm on a campus university, and the on-site shops only sell two ring binders (although they do have a startlingly large selection of colours, university logos, sizes and mechanisms)

tdent says OK, if the university is in the middle of nowhere then the list is more relevant...

Yeah... plus in the US people might go to a different state, but in the UK people simply don't need to go so far. And my uni is about in the middle of the country.

Mortice says I pity your parents taking all that stuff back and forth. And I thought I had a lot with me...

It's even worse than that - I have a 19 inch monitor and a printer, and friend's 15 inch monitor, printer and scanner. And a 5.1 dolby digital decoder. And a bunch of other stuff. And when I came up, I had a complete computer I was giving to someone (as I had it spare). Estate car with roof box definitely required...

Cletus the Foetus says "Sellotape" should probably be "Cellotape", if you mean cellophane tape. In North America we call it Scotch tape. Biros are ballpoints, and torches are flashlights. Those might be confusing for non-British readers.

Fixed. For us Brits the generic name is Sellotape, a product name (like Kleenix in the US). Although my tape is 3M Scotch 'Magic' tape. Biros are also a product name, as you probably know.

Andrew Aguecheek says wow! This is almost certainly going to proove increadably useful

It will to me when I have to pack to return - Before I came, I couldn't find a decent list when I looked online. So I decided to post mine. Hope it helps.

kuben says Some additions. Any cables you may need for your comp tower -- I'm an idiot and left my power supply cable at home. You can firmlink blu-tak as fun tak...

Fixed. A friend of mine brought power leads for his computer and monitor, but forgot an identical one for his printer. Of course, like any self-respecting man, he had a bunch of generic leads at home, but until he got one sent up, he'd have to print, turn off his monitor, and plug the power cable into his printer until the job completed... or use my printer.

kuben says ...And tell the public that store brand post-it notes suck and never stick.

My store brand post-it notes stick fine... except the glue is so strong that when you peel them up, the glued edge gets all curled up. Then you can't get any contact area between the glue and the surface, so they didn't stick. You culd get them up by sort of slowly pulling them up and sideways at the same time...

Teiresias says I still remember my French housemate at Uni turning up with nothing bar clothes, a litre of Gin, 200 Galoise 6 glasses and a box of cookies... Needless to say he was a total maniac...

I gather you're a brit, but for the reference of our American cousins: In the UK, you can buy boose from age 18 onwards, and there's a pretty lax attitude to under age drinking. If you look 'nearly 18', a lot of places will still serve you. I turned up to uni with three bottles of wine and two bottles of export strength Smirnoff. It was all gone within about three weeks... and the vodka disappeared long before the wine. It was my birthday yesterday, and I am now the proud owner of a glass shoe containing 42% proof Italian Grappa. w00t.

Uberbanana says under "short length of cat5" you forgot the end parenthesis, and what is a "HB pencil". You might want to not Torch = Flashlight for those across the pond.

Fixed. HB means 'Hard Black'. See that writeup for details of the bizarre UK pencil labeling system.

Uberbanana says and under Cutlery and Cookery get disposable ones. Light wieght, cheap, and no need fo cleaning.

Yeah, you can if you want to. Personally I like my metal cutlery - it's nice to have something solid for cutting steak, buttering bread (the sideways motion can be hard on plastic knives) etc.

mkb says re Things to take to university: pssst, you want "stantionEry", not "stationAry"

Fixed. Thanks very much. Of course, many courses will need you to be stationary as well, at least for some of the time.

liveforever says Wow. I mean wow.

Thanks, man. I'm pretty awed by the number of messages I've recieved about it.

Wntrmute says ah good, it wasn't just me who kicked off their uni list with every bit of computing kit first... as an extension to the university map, can i suggest an A-Z of the nearest town?

Yeah, there's sort of an order to it. I started with the computer, which is right in front of me, then went down the shelves (Files, books, hats), over the desk (Single pencil, calculator, wallet, phone), through the desk drawers (cartridges, blu-tak, uni paperwork), over the floor by the desk (power strips, suitcases), around the room (posters, bags, bedsheets), through the bedside drawers (clock, underwear), over the sink (toiletries), through the top cupboards (glasses), then through the main cupboards (clothes etc). Except I rearranged some bits to make it make more sense. Added information on nearby towns.

SharQ says God, this is the longest GTKY node I have ever seen - and it is actually useful. Kudos. Now if I only wasn't about to finish uni in about 2 months...

Thanks, I guess.

bucko says Oi! You forgot to mention bicycle (if you can bring one). It also goes a long way towards replacing a small suitcase for medium trips to Tesco. A bike with a rack can fit an immense amount of stuff.

That's true... although I didn't bring a bike (seemed awkward to transport, and I didn't know how far away Tesco was) I can imagine one being useful, especially if you were at a satellite campus.

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