Congratulations! Your child got the grades they needed to go on to University and they’re raring to go. They’ve got confirmation of a place in Halls of Residence, they’ve received the official ‘list of things’ to take to University and they’ve already bought half the books on their reading list. They’re all set to go!
Or are they?
Having helped my two eldest children go to University and shared in the similar experience of past students and coaching clients, I’ve learnt over the years that there is a ‘secret’ list of things to take to University or College that they never tell you about. These are the things that will help ensure that your child’s first few weeks are both happy and successful ones.
A Bullet Journal – University life is a whirlwind of activity, especially in the first few weeks, and can sometimes be overwhelming. Consider buying them a Bullet Journal to keep track of your all their lectures, seminars and social events; keep themselves organised with life goals and monthly/weekly/daily to-do lists and maintain a positive attitude by recording daily gratifications and positive affirmations.
A Watch – I know they seem so ‘yesterday’, but trust me they are going to need a watch. Many universities are now – quite rightly – discouraging students from taking mobile phones into lectures and seminars. Consider buying them a dual-purpose sports watch; not only will they be able to keep track of time in a lecture, they will also be able to keep track of how many miles they have run that day as part of their daily exercise programme.
A Memory Foam Mattress Topper – No matter how tidy and shiny residences look in the glossy prospectus, never kid yourself that is what you are going to get. Unless they are really lucky, your child will be just one of hundreds of past students to have used the room and its furniture. Their mattress will not be up to hotel quality levels and they won’t be the first person to use it. Mattresses in Halls of Residence are notoriousness uncomfortable. Consider giving them a memory foam mattress topper. They are not expensive, they are easy to transport and they will definitely need it if they have to move out to private accommodation in their second year, where standards are even lower.
A Large Comfort Blanket – We all use quilts these days, but nothing beats the comfort and security of a large, fluffy blanket. For good or bad, the first few weeks are going to be stressful. At the end of long day nothing will beat wrapping themselves up in that blanket and relaxing. And that includes the boys; my son took his ‘Star Wars’ blanket to maintain his macho coolness. The blanket will become a major contributor to the maintenance of their positive mental health.
A Fan – Unless they are REALLY lucky, the room will not have air conditioning. And they will be moving in during August / September. Trust me, take a fan. You and they won’t regret it, especially on Moving Day.
A Long, Multi-Plug Extension Lead – Most Halls of Residence were built before the onset of our modern technological age and very rarely have enough electricity points.
A Small Tool Kit – The Halifax Building Society used to give mini tool kits as free gifts to people taking out a mortgage with them. They ought to do the same for students taking out a student account. Your child will be surprised how many times they will need some simple tools to do some simple repairs and how much inconvenience it creates when they don’t have them. If you want to buy a first-year student a present, buy them a mini tool set and gift wrap it for them. They will love you forever.
Multi-Hangers – They will get one, narrow wardrobe. To utilise the little space they have, take as many multi-hangers as you can. These always make use of the length of the wardrobe in their drop, giving you more space along the width. Especially useful for jeans, which always seem to take up so much space. My daughter found these particularly helpful. She also realised that she didn’t need to take all her clothes with her. She simply took the seasonal clothes she needed for each term and circulated them during home visits during the holidays.
Storage Cubes – They get one wardrobe and one chest of drawers, which is never enough. On Moving Day, pack most of their belongings in collapsible plastic storage boxes. These are going to be a God-send as the year goes on and they are desperate for more storage space. These boxes took away nicely under beds and on top of wardrobes and therefore don’t take up any space. Make great bedside tables too!
A Hole Punch – Even if their lecturers post all their lecture notes and supporting documents on-line, you child is probably going to want to print them off for easy access and to scribble notes all over them. To help them securely organise handouts and print offs in the correct place in their study folder, invest in a good quality, strong hole punch.
A Large, Strong Backpack – Your child will soon find that University textbooks are very heavy and that their study folders will expand faster than they thought possible. Both of my children avoided studying too much in their dorm rooms, wanting to reserve them as sanctuaries from the day to day stress. They both invested in good quality bags for transporting their books and notes to and from the library, then found them indispensable when they went on to live off campus.
I do hope this list will make your child’s first few weeks at University just a little bit more comfortable. I know they are going to have a fantastic time, but if they do find themselves struggling don’t forget that I am here for them. Book a Discovery Call to find out how I can help them have a happy and successful time at University.
Websites like ‘The Student Room’ can also be a useful way of gaining support https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/
As a mother to three adolescents, as a high school teacher of twenty years’ experience and now as a life-coach to young people, I am passionate about supporting teenagers and young adults live happy and successful lives. I provide a confidential on-line coaching service for either / both adolescents and their parents. I can be available to you wherever you are and at a time that is convenient to yourself.
Remember that I’m here to help you thrive and not just survive these years of change. Reach out for a free chat by checking out my ‘Work With Me’ page or click on this link: http://bit.ly/bookFREE15mincoachingchat
With warmest wishes for your happiness and success, wherever you may be studying,