Tag Archives: student

Part One: Going to university, what to pack?!

This is the first in the series about university life. I base what I write on my experiences of living in halls and private housing while I’ve been doing my engineering degree for the last 4 years. I hope they help! If you have any questions just pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you. 🙂 

What to take the bare minimum.

Remember that the room/ storage you get given will probably be a lot less than you are used to at home so you are unlikely to have room for everything! Plus when you’re at uni you are likely to accumulate things- even if it’s just notes, so you will need to have room in the car/ suitcase to take them back home with you at the end of the year!

Kitchen
label your stuff that way no one claims your things thinking they are theirs because they didn’t see what Mum unpacked for them!!

  • mixing bowl
  • wooden or silicon spoon, potato masher, spaghetti scoop (great for stews and all types of pasta etc)
  • saucepan (I tend to use my saucepan as a frying pan too as I’m only cooking for 1!) It’s handy to have 2 saucepans one for sauce the other for rice/pasta/potatoes.
  • Baking tray and roasting dish
  • Measuring jug
  • Sharp knife- I have a small one with a sheath and a larger one
  • Chopping board
  • cutlery (2 sets of knife, fork, spoon & teaspoon as minimum and spare teaspoons- no idea where they go to!)
  • a couple of plates, bowls, glasses and mugs
  • storage Tupperware type boxes with lids
  • kitchen foil and plastic wrap
  • can opener and  vegetable peeler
  • dish spongers with a scrubber on the back and dish soap!

You may also need a kettle/ toaster- see what uni provides and try to get in contact with future housemates through facebook pages for your halls to see what others are bringing! You don’t want to end up with 5 toasters!!!

For store cupboard ingredients and basics see my post “Food for University”.

Clothes

Your choice here, but here are some things to remember:

Take lots and lots of underwear. Seriously! Uni laundrettes are expensive and have large drums so it will take you a while to get enough stuff to fill it! Have enough clothes so you can do a darks wash and a lights wash to save having white t-shirts etc go funny shades of blue and pink.

Going out stuff- I’d not really gone on a night out before and took nothing for this type of occasion. A couple of dresses and a pair of heels (ladies) or smarter jeans/ trousers and a couple of nice shirts (gentlemen) would do!

Practical things- a proper waterproof coat and umbrella never go amiss in the UK! Warm socks and wellies are also a good option! Also warm jumpers can be useful if you have bad heating in your halls/ lecture rooms.
Flipflops for the showers are a good idea as well and don’t forget your towel!!!!

Miscellaneous

Take a tin of roses chocolates, or tub of biscuits- so useful to make friends with people with as they knock on your door to say hello to their new flatmate!

  • Cereal bars- great for when you’re in a rush to get out of the door!
  • Pens and paper. I have no idea why people forget these as I’m sure everyone knows you go to university to study and at some point these items will be useful?? Don’t forget these as it’s annoying to have just met someone on the first day of your course and already they are leaching off you for stationary!
     Having a diary is useful too as you will suddenly have a lot of dates times and places to remember as well as deadlines. I’m currently using a Filofax which I LOVE (see my posts on using a Filofax at uni) but I one had a Palgrave Student Planner which was fabulous.
  • If you have a bike take a motorcycle lock not a d-lock; d-locks are easy to take off even though they (university security/ police) normally recommend them! I’d also recommend a laptop lock. Great for keeping it safe in your room, but also for when you need a toilet break in the library!
  • Things to make your place a little homely- photos, posters (if your allowed), pot plant, your musical instrument etc.
  • Finally a bit of a random one… toilet paper. You do not want to arrive and have none of this handy as most local supermarkets will have sold out as all students seem to arrive with none!

What not to take… for example, expensive kitchen stuff- your new housemates will probably not respect it how you would like- it may get taken or broken. If you do have expensive stuff make sure you wash it up straight away and take it back to your room.

I also wouldn’t take expensive jewellery or things that have a large sentimental value to you for the same reason. Even if you do get some insurance with your room it probably won’t cover things like this.  Check to see what your parents household insurance covers- sometimes you can be lucky and it will cover your mobile phone etc.

Hope you find these pointers useful, have fun packing and I hope you check out some of the other parts in the series below as they become live!

Series One: University

Part One: Going to university, what to pack?!
Part Two: Beating Homesickness and Fresher Blues- coping on your own
Part Three: Food for University
Part Four: Lecture note writing for easy revision
Part Five: University Organisation
Part Six: Dyslexia at University

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Exams bring out the worse….

I feel sick, I’m shaking and I feel like giving up… and that’s not the exams that are making me feel this way- which makes it all the worse. Not only do I have to battle with what I find really hard exams, but I’m having to do it alone.
It’s my first full year at uni- last time I only made it just past Christmas. This year I got to the summer term- I’m so proud of that, but I’m finding facing this exam period hell. Last Monday after my first exam I decided I’d had enough of uni- just over 2 weeks away and I was more than ready to come home again, so I did. I’d cocked up at the weekend- my man had gone away to see some new friends, and I ended up getting in a big mess with him. Not good. Not right before my exams…not at any time for that matter, but being exam time made it worse. The pressure on me is so much greater- I’m super stressed and this just added to it.

My housemate hasn’t exactly helped. He has a habit of screaming and swearing at the top of his voice at his computer and his work- anything that remotely annoys him. Every time I jump and get on edge.
Today he even made me late for my exam-I was boiling my pasta 20mins before I had to leave- 10mins to cook, 10 mins to eat. I came back down stairs when I thought it would be ready to find it had been turned to the lowest setting possible- it wasn’t even boiling! The pasta was still hard too! He said that it was wasting energy if I had it on any higher- it would still cook just as quick on a lower setting- well it obviously didnt did it!!!
I couldnt believe this- he said that i was wasting energy cooking my pasta when he’d left the cooker on for over 1/2hr because he’d forgotten it was on, after he’d taken his food off! I had to turn it off for him only 10mins before!!! Anyway… I tried to turn my pasta up, but it didnt really work because we have a rubbish cooker- once you turn it down- you’ve had it, it wont turn up anymore. So I ended up bolting half cooked pasta and then running to my exam.

I digress…
Sometimes all you need to hear when your upset or stressed or worried is “I love you”. Sometimes hearing it from anyone will do, but other times you need to hear it from one person. Well that one person hasn’t said it properly for a week now, when it’s normal to hear it a couple of times a day- that makes you worried. Especially when you’ve messed up with them, your away so cant properly talk to them about it, and your horrendously stressed with being away, so that you turn every molehill into a mountain.
I have half an idea why it hasnt been said. I’ve tried my best to retify that problem, but it hasnt helped not even a bit! I feel like all my efforts (and they have been huge efforts for me even if it hasnt seemed like it to that person) are for nothing. They tell me to stop over thinking- but what can I do when I’m shut up in a room on my own with only text books and notes for company! Revision doesnt distract me! I’m trying- but it really is so difficult when I’m given no reason to believe anything will get any better.

Oh I just want to go home. I want to fix everything, make it better again. I cant do well if I feel like crying every minute, and I have to choke back tears before I say anything to anyone.

Half of me says- just go on regardless. You’ve made it this far, it’s only 7 days, 4 exams till you get to go home again.
The other half says- why bother, the things that are really important to you are falling around your ankles, if you are failing at life- why bother trying to do uni. Go home now.

-big breath and a moment to reflect-

As much as I dont want to, as much as I want to just fall to pieces, I dont think I can risk it. If I do- I really will lose everything I’ve worked for. Worked REALLY hard for. Not just academically.

These exams have brought the worse back out of me. They have made me feel like I did over a year ago, and it hurts SO much. But that’s just why I’m going to have to fight it. I got out of that situation by hard work- all be it with family around me supporting me… I can do it again, this time on my own. I have to. These exams will show the best of me- maybe not academically this time around, but mentally. I will get through this, and when it’s over, and everything is back to rights- I will wonder what all the fuss was about. I can tell it’s not going to be easy though, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got!

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Deadlines, exams, assignments and more assignments…

This week has been a funny one. I know I must be feeling stressed with all the work I’ve got on,  as I’ve been fine one minute and crying in despair the next! Over the next 2 weeks I have got to do 8 assignments and 2 exams. 4 assignments aren’t officially due till after the Easter ‘holidays’ (holidays- ha! yeah right!) but they need you to use specialist software (that I cant find my copy of)/ and get help from tutors which will not be available during the break, so you pretty much HAVE to do them before! 1 assignment hasn’t been handed out yet, and 2 were only handed out this week- both due on the same day!

What frustrates myself and the other 3 people on the course is that the departments in our uni don’t talk to each other properly so we often find that we are set work which is all due on the same day, they don’t realise that the people who bridge across 2 departments could possibly have a large work load from the other department! At the moment this has resulted in 4 large pieces of coursework all due on Tuesday 29th March!

I’m trying to get those particular pieces of work out of the way as quickly as possible, I don’t want to end up having large parts of all of them to do on the Monday night! However this is made tricky as I cant concentrate on them because I have an exam on  Tuesday- which covers all the work done, done in the past semester in one of my modules(- the hardest module!) and I am totally unprepared for it!

At times, I feel like this huge amount of work could be achievable if I plan my time correctly… time management isn’t one of my best attributes at the moment but I’m learning fast (I don’t have a choice not to!). Other times, normally when I’ve been at something for hours , but haven’t seemed to achieved very much at all;  I feel totally overwhelmed and want to back down, but have no corner in which to do so- as they are all filled with piles of papers relating to assignments/ revision!

As a sort of break from the work I’m going out, on a night out, for the first time this term, tomorrow! Half of me says I really shouldn’t, as it’s valuable time that I could be revising or working in, but I don’t think realistically I’d actually achieve anything between 9pm-2am would I? Also it will mean that I’ll lose out on my most productive time of day- the morning, as I catch up on the night’s missed sleep! But I’m really looking forward to going out, as going to FAB- in the guild (our uni’s version of a SU) is one of the things on my “wish list of things to do this year”.  Talking of which that’s a post I want to do (at a later date of course). I have lots of different wish lists of goals I want to achieve- in the academic year, the calendar year, and my life.  But I’ll leave that for another time as I really have to get back to my assignment on Zirconia…

x

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