So you’ve finished your exams, and you’ve got a long work free summer ahead of you to agonise over your results? At some point, you’ll have to start thinking about packing up to move to uni. There are thousands of university packing checklists available; I’m not going to write another one, because frankly, I can’t be bothered (and also, if you really need an itemised list of all the toiletries you use on a daily basis, I worry about you living alone). What I am going to do is share a few things that I either forgot or that I rely on pretty much 24/7. So here’s the abridged version of my Uni Packing Essentials.
Okay, so I was 100% convinced that my vans and Chelsea boots would be more than adequate footwear for university. My mum asked if I wanted to get some comfier shoes and I practically scoffed. How wrong I was, and how my feet suffered. You will probably do more walking in your first few weeks than you did all summer. London may have amazing underground and bus services, but getting to, from and around campus is all on foot. My vans gave me blisters within days, and hard sole boots are just all round painful. The sooner you invest in proper trainers the better, for you and your feet.
A Sturdy Umbrella
An umbrella is obviously essential when living anywhere in the UK. I naively (and somewhat optimistically) decided to buy a Primark umbrella: it was cheap and covered in cartoon giraffes, ideal right? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to cross the Thames in horizontal rain with a Primark umbrella, but let me tell you it was a battle of epic proportions. You will inevitably have to abandon the umbrella (along with your straightened hair and mascara), as Primark plus strong wind equals one seriously useless umbrella. A decent umbrella will save you from the classic ‘drowned rat’ look that comes with crossing Blackfriars Bridge during winter.
I ran out of chocolate within 3 days of arriving for freshers: it was traumatic, as I’m sure you can imagine. Bring chocolate in every form you can think of: a tin of chocolates to offer around when you arrive, chocolate bars for on the go, chocolate powder to make hot chocolate (or to eat from the spoon when you get desperate… There will be situations that dire). Currently in my room I have a half eaten Toblerone, 6 Kit Kats, a box of cookies, some chocolate éclairs (rejected from a tin of Celebrations), as well as various chocolate cereals. Writing this down is making me think maybe I’m just slightly obsessed, but it’s important. (Is chocolate beginning to not sound like a word to you too?)
After practically bending my spine carrying a handbag full of textbooks, I decided that I should probably invest in a rucksack, to save my back and free my hands for my coffee and phone. Best decision I have ever made.
Some basic political knowledge
Now I know this isn’t something you can physically pack, and I definitely don’t want to give you summer homework, but reading up on world affairs will definitely help you fit into the LSE bubble. I thought I knew what was going on in the world until I came to LSE, it turns out I knew next to nothing. Read every piece of news you can get your hands on, believe me you will feel clueless the majority of first term, but reading up will help you out. LSE is full of people with strong opinions and wow they like to debate. So prepare yourself for drunken freshers debates about the pros and cons of an EU referendum, because it will happen.
So there you have it, my packing guide for leaving home and living at university. I hope it wasn’t too clichéd and predictable (I didn’t even mention packing a doorstop!). I guess that’s the extent of my freshers advice, except to say remember to call your parents- they miss you, and keep paracetamol and water by your bed in case of hangovers.