0
Basket

There are currently no items in your basket.

Culture

The Hut Guide to Starting University

Starting university is without a doubt one of the biggest life events many of us will experience. It’s a time of huge change and excitement, but along with that can come uncertainty and stress that can turn your anticipation into anxiety. Moving away from home, making new friends, building foundations in a new city, it can be scary and overwhelming, but more than that, it is a chance for a beautiful new start.

Within months you’ll look back, with a new sense of independence and gusto, wondering why you were ever so nervous, but until then we’ve compiled our ultimate guide to starting university, complete with the answers to your burning questions, tips and top picks for what to pack.

Student

Photo: Lonely Planet via Unsplash

How should I prepare for university?

Not the most comforting response, but you can’t totally prepare. No matter how many lists you write, visits you take or days you plan, you’ll never feel truly prepped for such a big life change. So you’ve simply got to sit back and enjoy it. Remember that your university welcomes a whole new cohort of students every year, they have it down to a fine art so you’ll never be left behind in the chaos, and remember that everyone else is feeling the exact same as you. You’re all in the same boat!

While you can’t plan and prep everything, there are a few things you can do to ease the anticipation jitters.

  • Do some research on your new home

Take some time on google maps getting to know your new local area. Do some Instagram stalking of the best coffee shops, restaurants and bars. This will not only give you a better impression of where you’ll be living and some idea of directions, but will definitely get you excited about having a whole host of eateries to explore. Also, when your new best friend suggests going somewhere for a coffee in your first week, you’ll already have suggestions to hand.

Similarly, most universities have freshers Facebook groups. Join as many as you can and get social. There’s a high chance you’ll be able to find your flatmates before you even move in, connect with course mates, and start joining university societies and social clubs. You don’t have to wait for your first day.

  • Learn some fool-proof healthy recipes

While you’re in a stocked kitchen with your family on hand to save any disasters, learn your way around the kitchen. Regardless of your skill level, from total novice to master chef, learning a couple of easy, healthy recipes that you can make big batches of to freeze for later will be a lifesaver later down the line. It’ll take the stress out of cooking for yourself, but also sharing food is proven to make people more social and open with one another. Learn to make a big pot of curry or mac and cheese, serve it up family-style for your new flatmates, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you get to know each other once your bellies are full.

  • Make plans with your hometown friends

For something to look forward to and to make sure no one gets left behind, book in some plans with your hometown friends for a month down the line. While it’s sad you may not be in the same city anymore, starting university means you’ve just gained multiple new places to go and visit. Part ways with some printed photos of your best times for your uni wall and make plans to make new memories soon.

Starting university

Photo: Emma Matthews via Unsplash

What should I pack?

Besides the obvious of your clothes, cutlery and books, here are a few things you may not have considered but definitely should.

  • Nice pyjamas

3 am fire alarms, midnight snack runs and 8 am coffee means your loungewear is likely to be seen a lot, so make sure your PJ’s are something you don’t mind being seen in. That battered old dinosaur onesie might not cut it anymore.

  • Fancy dress

The stereotype that students love dressing up? Yeah, that’s completely true. You’ll be surprised how quickly you gather a selection of costumes from all the themed flat parties, club nights and social events. So dig out your childhood dress-up box if it’s still lying about or invest in a new disguise ahead of time.

  • Laptop backpack

A backpack may seem like an obvious one, but investing in a specific laptop backpack is worth it. Not only does it mean your laptop is secure and protected from any bumps and bangs as you run from one lecture to the next. But it eases the load by saving you from carrying a bulky laptop case as well. Fjallraven offers a bag with a specific laptop compartment so everything you need can be packed away in its right place ready for the day’s work.

  • Bedding

Another obvious one, but here’s a pro-tip. Choosing bedding, sheets and towels in the same or similar colour. This will make doing your washing much easier and eliminate the change of any unfortunate colour running incidents, letting your homeware stay at its best for longer.

In Homeware

  • Speaker

A flat essential, you’ll get a lot of praise for being the person with the loudest speaker at pre-drinks. A really good Bluetooth speaker will become the centre point of your flat that you all spiral round, battling over who gets to be the DJ that night.

  • Easy storage and organisation

Until you’re all moved in and unpacked, you’re not really going to know how much space and storage you have, so it’s best to bring along a couple of extras that will work in any room. Over the door hooks for holding your coats and bags, foldable storage bags and boxes will be your friend, giving you a little extra space and organisation that’s easily stored if you find you don’t need them yet.

  • Reusable coffee cup

The best option for the environment and for your wallet, a reusable coffee cup is the best accessory on campus. More and more universities are starting reward schemes, offering discounts for bringing in your own cup and cutting down on single-use plastic. So if you don’t already have one, make sure you do before your first day.

  • Battery-powered lights

Most universities specify that your fairy lights must be battery power, so this is something to pack for sure. A ridiculously easy way to make your room look and feel cosy, drape them over anything for some softer lighting. Bonus points for lights with a little extra design or detailing that will add a lot to a room with little to no effort. We love these photo peg lights that also double up as a handy way to display all your favourite photos, tickets and memories.

  • Camera

Never look back with regret, make sure you capture all the new memories you’re going to make. Sure you could just take them on your phone, but having an actual camera is always better. Gathering all your new flatmates and taking a Polaroid means you’ll have the memory for life, instantly, to put up on your wall.

How to cope with starting university

The thought of starting university and moving away from home can be daunting, it’s easy to imagine the worst about such a big change, but trust us it will all be fine. From the graduates at The Hut to you, here’s our advice for coping with your first days.

  • Unpack early

Try to unpack as soon as possible. Your room doesn’t have to look perfect immediately, but having your bed made and some photos up will make you feel far more settled and comfortable. Also, with no boxes to unpack, you can’t use it as an excuse to shy away from meeting new people and diving into the new experience.

  • Remember to take care of number 1

The pressure to be involved and do everything can leave you lacking in time for some R&R, but don’t let it slip away from you. Even in the hustle and bustle, make sure to keep some free time for self-care, whether it be a 5-minute face-mask or a 10-hour sleep. You have a whole year to go out to parties and meet new people, so make sure to leave some space in your first-week schedule to check in with yourself. 

View this post on Instagram

Did you watch the study day morning routine which I uploaded last week? I love morning routines because they capture such an important moment of the day — a beginning which is so full of hope and possibility that it can be the most fitting time to smile 😊 I know that exams are very soon now, but think of them instead as an opportunity. And think also of the new beginning which lies beyond that last exam date. Think about all of the things which you want to do, and the person that you want to be. The end of exams gives you a chance to start afresh. It’s not long now until they’re over, really. And exams are, at the end of the day, just a tiny step after all of the work you have done this year. I wish you all the very very best 🧡

A post shared by Ruby Granger (@_rubygranger) on

  • Don’t worry if you’re not enjoying yourself immediately

Freshers week isn’t for everyone and maybe your first lectures aren’t instantly fascinating but don’t give up. The first weeks will be the hardest, and things will only get easier. As you settle into routines, form friendships and join new social clubs, your experience will get better and better. So don’t feel like you should be having the time of your life on day one.

  • Try not to fall behind with work

Remember, starting university is also about academia. If you’re stressing about a deadline you left till last minute or a book you’ve been putting off reading, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself or have time for the best parts of uni life. By week 5 or 6, you’ll be all set to deal with the stress and time pressures, but in your first weeks, you don’t need to add to your worry so get your work done. Having a notepad for each module, with a to-do list at the start, is an easy way to stay on top of things, keeping all your notes in one place and all your deadlines clear. 

  • Be yourself

The simplest piece of advice but also the truest. Starting university is nerve-wracking, but you will find your feet, you will make friends, you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to. So be yourself, be nice to people and enjoy it, 3 years go by pretty fast.

SHOP STUDENT ESSENTIALS NOW>>>

Written by Lucy Harbron



Lucy Harbron

Lucy Harbron

Writer and expert

Inspired by the most iconic women in history, my style is informed by the Monroes, Sedgwicks and Birkins. Forever torn between maximalism and minimalism, you’ll find me stomping around in heeled boots and trying to refrain from buying another pair of earrings.


Lucy is currently loving...