What To Pack and What Not To Pack!

A handy guide of what to pack and what not to pack when first coming to college, courtesy of Annabel Jenkinson.

I’m Annabel and I am a self-diagnosed “over-packer”, whether it’s a weekend away, or I’m starting university! Here is a little list of things I recommend bringing (and not bringing) to uni from my experience.

Bring:

  1. Don’t forget the obvious things like medicines, ID, laptop, chargers and teabags (teabags certainly count as an obvious and essential item to me!) 
  2. Bedding and towels – In John’s there is an option to have your bedding done in college. I would advise you to bring more than one set of bedding if you are taking your own, just in case you can’t get to a tumble dryer.
  3. Lots of warm clothes and a very good waterproof coat – My cousin went to Durham and told me this and I thought “haha, it can’t be that cold.” I am here to tell you that it can, especially when the wind blows right up the Bailey! Umbrellas aren’t much use in Durham with all the wind, so a good hat or coat with a hood is a good idea. 
  4. Formal clothes – John’s has weekly formal dinners you can attend where everyone gets a little dressed up and puts on a gown for a nice dinner in Leech Hall. Freshers’ formal is not one to miss! 
  5. Wellies or walking boots. – Don’t be the silly fresher slipping and sliding up the bailey because wellies aren’t cool. Wellies are cool in Durham, or at least cooler than falling over. 
  6. Clothes hangers – your room won’t have many at all.
  7. A mug and other crockery (not too much) – John’s is fully catered but it can be useful to bring some crockery. You have to bring your own mug to breakfast for hot drinks. A bowl and spoon can be good for when you miss breakfast (it will become common no matter how much you think you will never do this. Drinking cereal from a mug because you have no bowl or spoon at 8:50 before your 9am lecture is not the best plan.)  
  8. Doorstop – I propped my door open sometimes in freshers’ week and then spoke to people walking by. Not all the time, though!
  9. Biscuits – Seems rather odd, but my neighbour came over with some biscuits when I arrived to introduce herself and we had tea (see, those teabags really are a necessity!) and I thought this was such a lovely idea. 
  10. Decorations – fairy lights are highly recommended. I found some fabulous ones with clips on that you can hang photos from. 
  11. Photos and pins – For your pinboard to make you feel at home.
  12. Other items to remind you of home – it could be cuddly toys, a special blanket your grandmother bought you for Christmas, or anything really!
  13. Blanket and dressing gown – excellent for when the weather is really cold and for movie nights with friends. (Tip – put the blanket over your bed then all the popcorn and crumbs go on that rather than in your bed. Genius!) 
  14. A corkscrew/bottle-opener – unless you are really nifty with a knife or something, or a key in my case.)
  15. Insurance, especially if you have an expensive musical instrument, laptop or something – make sure they are insured. You can get contents insurance, mine came included or incredibly cheap with the bank I had my student card with. 
  16. Railcard – handy for trips home or day trips to Edinburgh and York. 
  17. Hooks that hang over the top of your door so you can hang your coats up.

Don’t bring:

  1. Millions of copies of your passport. One copy in a safe place in your room is fine. 
  2. A ridiculous amount of clothes – the college wardrobes aren’t huge, or at least mine wasn’t. You can always swap your clothes around a bit when you go home!
  3. Don’t get a massive drying rack! Seriously, don’t. 
  4. A huge rug – see your room first, then get a rug to fit. (Covered market in Durham is highly recommended!) 
  5. An iron – there are some in college. 
  6. Kettles aren’t allowed, but there is one in the corridor kitchens. 
  7. A printer – I took one but found it took up a lot of space, and it was so easy to print in the college library that I didn’t need it. 

I hope my little guide has helped you to get your head round the musts and must nots of packing for university! Have a great Freshers Week, and a great year!

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