Graduate Blog

Things You Didn’t Think You’d Need at University (but actually come in very handy)


1. Screwdriver

I didn’t even realise I had packed this when I moved away from home. My dad had sneakily snuck it into my case, and when I asked him about it later he just replied with “well, you never know when you might need it”. Aaaannddd, my Dad was right. I’ve used this screwdriver more times than I ever imagined, and it actually ended up saving my flatmates and I being charged for an ‘incident’ (that may or may not have involved kicking a football from one end of the corridor to the other as hard and as quickly as we could, which may or may not have resulted in a light being hit and coming loose). By having the screwdriver at hand we could quickly fix things ourselves, without having to bother campus maintenance.  Also, the washing machine in the house I’m living in flooded a few weeks ago, and we were able to attempt to repair it ourselves with the help of loosening and tightening some screws (it didn’t fix the situation, but made us all feel as if we had tried really hard and were really grown up). Also, top tip, a saucepan and colander make for a great mop bucket when your kitchen floor becomes flooded with dirty water.

2. Torch

When your bathroom light breaks, and your landlord does not make an appearance/you haven’t bothered to email him, you may find yourself showering in the dark for nearly two weeks. But, if you have a torch at hand you will still be able to tell your shampoo and conditioner bottles apart. A torch is also really useful when it comes to walking home alone in the dark. Some of the streets where I live are very poorly lit and the pavements are rather uneven, so I carry a little torch in my bag, and it’s been really useful to help guide me home (it also puts my mums mind at rest, as she likes to think I’m safe and aware of my surroundings at all times)

3. Geek glasses

These plastic fancy dress items, which can be found at Primark for near enough £2 (or save your 3D glasses after a trip to the cinema), are an absolute LIFE SAVER when it comes to fancy dress. Geek Night-you’re outfit will be A+. Hipster Night: they’re a must. Super-Hero night: Clark Kent would be majorly annoyed if you didn’t wear them (they are the ultimate disguise). A poor attempt at Harry Potter, you will look magic. Minion goggles, perfect. Although you won’t necessarily find ‘Fake Glasses’ on most Uni Packing essential lists, you will be surprised how often you can find yourself using them.

4. Batteries

X-Box controllers, radio-alarm clocks, your torch, will all need batteries, and now you’re not at home, you can’t just go rummaging in a draw to see if there are any spare ones lying around. Always a handy thing to have, and it’s great to see what measures your male housemates may go to in order to beg for your batteries when their controllers die mid FiFA game…

5. First Aid Kit

Plasters, anti-septic wipes, bandages; all of these were used during my first year at Uni. Although I am no Doctor (despite my Young First Aiders certificate) it was a relief to know that if anyone on the floor was to injure him or herself, whether that be through cooking or drunkenly falling over, they could be patched up. (Apart from one incident where a male housemate did have to go to hospital for stitches….) Also, it is always worth having a supply of Lemsips and tablets, for when Freshers Flu decides to strike.

6. Spare Bulb

Who knew bulbs could be so confusing to buy!? When my desk lamp decided to give up, I headed to Wilkinson’s to try and find a replacement. When I got to the till the cashier politely informed me that the bulb I had picked up would not fit a regular desk lamp, and she very kindly sent another employee to get the right bulb for me. However, this delay lead to the older woman behind me in the queue (who stereotypically only had cat food in her basket) to start muttering about “bloody students, don’t even know how to buy proper light bulbs blah blah blah”. So that this incident didn’t occur again, I bought two extra bulbs.

7. Stamps

I officially feel old. I now always carry stamps in my purse. But they have come in so useful! Some job offers and applications are still worth sending via post, as opposed to email, and by having stamps at hand means that you can send your forms off much quicker than most. Furthermore, when it comes to sending your Mums birthday card, she’ll be oh so pleased that you remembered her, and shows how grown up and mature you are now that you’re living alone.

8. Sewing Kit

I managed to fix my jeans. Sew a bow back onto a pair of shoes, and fix a housemates drawstring on his sports bag. Although not used that much, it saved a few items that would have added to expenses if they had to be repurchased.

About the Author

Louise Burt Louise Burt

My name is Louise Burt, and I'm a twenty year old student in my second year at Loughborough University reading English and Drama. I have a keen interest in journalism, and am currently Features Editor for my University magazine

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