Starting Uni — The Must-Buys

What do you really need to start your first year at uni? This list of essentials will help save you cash and packing time

20 Aug 2021

Whether you’re moving away to study, or studying from home, there are a few things you can buy to make the transition to university life a little bit easier. Here’s a list of what a first-year student really needs.

The Essentials

Kitchenware (pots, pans, plates, cutlery, bowls, mugs, a cheese grater, etc)
A hairdryer

You might also like to bring along a few recipe books — once all of those Freshers’ buy-one-get-one-free Dominos vouchers disappear, you will actually have to cook for yourself!

And don’t forget, you’ll also be needing some backpack essentials aside from books and stationery in light of this very unique time — hand sanitiserantibacterial wipes and the all-important face covering (here’s our blog on how to make your own face covering).

Finishing touches

For instant Instagram magic, fairy lights are a great addition to any space to literally brighten things up. You could also decorate with postcards, posters, or photographs of loved ones. Especially if you’re moving out, it’s all about making your space feel like a home away from home. Other interior design buys might include rugs, blankets, pillows, potted plants, or desk lamps. IKEA is your friend.

Tech for your course

Almost as important as the computer itself is a trusty memory stick or hard drive. Get one with plenty of space on it, as you will be using it a lot. Within the first day, you will doubtless be told a cautionary tale or two of a poor former student without any backup whose computer crashed, costing them a whole term’s worth of work. Do not become the star of that cautionary tale.

Stationery staples

During those first few weeks, the workload might feel overwhelming, or it might take a while to get used to the pace of things. A planner makes a wise investment, helping you to keep track of deadlines and tasks such as weekly reading. A lot of what you do at university will be self-managed, so using one will make sure no dates slip your mind and help you to break things down into manageable chunks.

Having nice stationery really helps make note-taking and studying, in general, feel less arduous. There might be course-specific things you need, but in general, the basics are highlighters, notebooks, a ring-binder with plastic wallets, pens of several colours, pencils, post-it notes, sticky tabs, a stapler, a hole punch, and files. Hit up shops like Paperchase and Typo to find fun stationery.



Bring your passions with you. If you play, is cracking out a musical instrument can be a great way to put yourself out there and make friends. Or an instant camera can quickly make you the most popular person at a party — everyone wants those cute little prints of them with their besties!

Student Discounts

Lots of big companies and subscription services offer their own student discount schemes, too. Some that you might find useful include Apple, Amazon Prime, and Spotify Premium.

Written by Ellora Sutton