Preparing for the Big Day – Part 3

Phew… if you’ve made it this far, kudos to you, my friend. This is my final post in this… unexpectedly long trilogy!

If you haven’t read the first part, about the things I consider essential, you can find it here.

Alternatively, if you missed the second part, which is about making yourself at home, it can be found here.

Here we go!


Step Three – Uni Stuff!


Whether you’re super organised like me and will have all of your lecture notes in pristine, chronologically organised sheets with colour coded sections, filed between labelled dividers – or you’re more of the “I’ll find it when I need it” kind of person, you’re going to need stuff for uni, whether you like it or not. I may sound like your nagging mum, but at the end of the year when you take those all important exams – you’ll be glad you filed your lecture notes in some sort of decipherable order to revise (yes, revise) over the Easter break.


Now, onto what you need.


The absolute must if you’re even going to attempt to pass is lots and lots of paper. You may be the sort of person that uses one lined A4 pad, dating and titling the page with the module and lecture number at the top and organising the pages by module dividers in a folder later on, or you might be the sort of person that likes to use one pad for each module. Regardless, get paper, and get at least two pads to start you off (you don’t want to run out half way through a lecture… trust me, it’s bad).


Paper would be pretty darn useless if you don’t have anything to actually make notes with – so get some pens! Get at least two colours – the standard are black, blue and red and you can buy packs with all three which is pretty convenient. This will help during seminars/tutorials or when you do some lab exercises/class tests so that you can clearly see which colour your answers are in, and then what the corrections are. Or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll buy a pack of 20 differently coloured pens from Asda for about a pound so you can make your notes look anything but boring. Pencils are also quite helpful if you have any sketchy-type modules or things that require a lot of remodelling.


If you’re doing something like Computer Science where a lot of programming is involved, or any subject where you need to think out your ideas before you execute them/work out some theory before you put it into practice, a little jotpad will be your best friend for the year. Seriously, I filled a couple of A5 pads this year in lab classes whilst doing programming exercises and coursework, because sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to and you need to either try and work out a different way to do it, or visualise it to see where things are going wrong. A quick example is when I did one of my early lab exercises in October time last year, and we had to create a car out of rectangles and circles using coordinates etc. to organise the shapes into a car-looking arrangement, and my first attempt failed pretty badly as the wheels were overlapping the roof and the chassis was half way across the page… Out came my trusty notepad and I could draw it out, working out the dimensions as I went so I could figure out exactly where I wanted the shapes to be – and then it was easy. It can also be helpful for little sketches if you’re doing something design-based I imagine, or recording some ideas for later use. Either way, and for all courses, it’s awfully handy to have anyway.


Here’s the assorted list of everything else you can undoubtedly find in my stationary drawer (yes… you did read that right…):

  • Lever arch folder (you’re almost guaranteed to have a lot of notes, and ringbinders usually won’t cut it – they’ll also prevent pages ripping!)
  • Page dividers (handy for separating module notes)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sharpener
  • Stapler
  • Hole punch (useful for any handouts you may get, and if you want to put them away in a folder. Just saying, but a two-holed one will make your life a whole lot easier)
  • Post-it notes
  • Highlighters could turn out useful
  • Hole strengtheners (if you do opt for a ringbinder, hole strengtheners are polo-shaped stickers that you put over the punched holes in the paper to prevent them from ripping, and I recommend you buy a few packs to make sure you don’t lose any of your notes!)
  • Paper clips
  • Bulldog/Foldback/Grip clips (these are so helpful if you have a big piece of printed coursework you need to keep in order, or even holding a few sheets together which can then be hung from a pin on your pin board (clever, right?), so investing in a few of assorted sizes is a good idea if you want to save yourself hassle)
  • White/blutac (I recommend to get whitetac because most halls will allow it instead of blutac for things on the walls – but check first)
  • Glue
  • Tipex (lifesaver, all I can say)
  • Pen pot (in all honesty I bought a pack of three tumblers from Poundland and use those for my penpots! Cheaper and more convenient)
  • Plain paper (for if you have a printer, and for if you need to sketch/draw/doodle/use some paper…)
  • Page markers (these can be like slim post-it notes to mark important pages in your textbooks without damaging them – always helpful!)
  • Envelopes and stamps (not always a priority, but there have been a few occasions I needed to post something last year, so it’s worth considering having something just as a backup I suppose)
  • Calendar of some degree (academic or year, both are useful! I’ve gone for a normal flip-style calendar that I have on my board. I’d say if you do get one, look for one that has a fair bit of space to write next to the dates as this will be your lifeline for the year! Don’t let deadlines creep up on you, so write them down in big, red letters on your calendar. Also record important dates like if you’re working or when a special event is, so it doesn’t slip your mind – as your year ahead will be very busy. I’d personally stay away from big, academic wall calendars as they take a lot of whitetac to stay up, and it may damage the walls if it stays there all year – but that’s just my opinion!)


That’s all I can think of right now! So, at the end of this long, long post, I hope I’ve helped to identify some of the things you may forget or may need to still buy before/after you arrive at halls. Things like your favourite mug or slippers will surely be already packed in the boot of your car in preparation, and you needn’t worry that you’ll not have anything to sleep on because your bedding will already be stowed away too.


All that’s left for me to say is don’t forget to pack your excitement! I know how daunting moving into halls can be – I’ve been there myself! But seriously, you’ll have an amazing time – just don’t forget to look forward to it and don’t let your nerves shadow that!


~Good luck 🙂