So, your eldest child is off to university! Congratulations!
You can pat yourself on the back and them, of course. The hard work has paid off. The beginning of the best few years of their life — or least that’s how I remember it! So much to organise — where does one start?
Firstly there’s the Tech…
Laptop — every student needs one — particularly with all the blended learning. Plus, most work needs to be emailed (or uploaded) rather than hard copies submitted. Whether it’s Mac or PC, new or used, that depends on your budget and how they’ll be using it.
Mobile Phone — it goes without saying — an extension of most people’s hands these days. Make sure you have a plan that fits your data and voice usage needs, and check on the signal of your campus location before deciding which network to sign up to. Check out this tool for seeing what coverage is like.
Headphones — a decent pair with active noise cancelling functionality, so they can concentrate when on webinars, whatever their flatmates are up to. They can also enjoy streaming the latest boxset or listen to music, whatever time of day.
Printer — not a necessity in the first term perhaps, but can be useful particularly if they’ve got loads of essay drafts to go through and / or they want to avoid the communal / library printer queues.
The other bits…
Luggage — something that’s robust enough for them to get their clothes to uni, but also suitable for traveling back home for holidays. It should be suitable for doing a university tour to see all their mates during reading week (half term to most of us) and possibly getting all their dirties to the hall laundry room, when they’ve run out of things to wear. You could add a laundry basket to your list to keep the room tidier.
Bedding — most uni accommodation will tell you what size bed you’ll have, so it’s worth checking before splurging on an optimistic double duvet cover. For fussy sleepers a mattress protector / topper may be worth it. There’s enough going on in the first few weeks of being away from home (for most youngsters) without contending with an unsatisfactory sleep space. Don’t forget to take your favourite pillow and snuggle bear!
Towels — at least a couple. No one wants to have to drip dry in the communal showers during Freshers. Don’t forget flannels and hair towels too!
Remember basic toiletries as well as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. And of course any regular medication — inhalers etc. If your child has any ongoing medical needs, or even otherwise, it may be worth getting them to register with student health as soon as they get there. It’s much more of a faff when they’re feeling under the weather.
Depending on whether your child is going into self-catered or catered they’ll need some basic cooking equipment. Don’t go overboard though, as there may not be a huge amount of storage for everything in a shared kitchen. Most halls won’t want everyone bringing their own kettles, toasters and mini fridges! If they aren’t provided, it’s easier to chip in for what’s needed, rather than take too much. A couple of bowls and mugs might suffice for those in catered housing for chats over a cuppa or late night cereal. It’s definitely worth ensuring everyone has a couple of favourite recipes they can rustle up for whether it be for themselves or when there’s an in-hall Masterchef cook off.
Don’t encourage them to take all their clothes and shoes! Most youngsters will continue adding to their wardrobes either in store or online. Just make sure they take some practical footwear and outerwear, depending on where they are going. They probably won’t need their prom dresses or tuxedos in the first term!
Don’t go wild on stationary. The absolute basics will in all probability suffice and so much is now on their laptops that you’ll be hard pushed to need any lever arch files or colourful dividers.
Don’t worry about anything they’ve forgotten. Most things can be easily replaced once they get there. You may not hear from them at all once you say your goodbyes — hopefully they’ll be far too busy decorating their new living space and making new friends over a cup of tea and their favourite biscuits you snuck in their packing!
With Lifefyle, students can easily manage their busy lifestyle while making it easier for them to make more time for studying and enjoying their free time.