The truth about freshers

I WISH someone had told me what university, especially in Aberystwyth, was really like before I packed my bags and tottled off from home. For any nervous or unprepared freshers out there – this is your chance to dispel any myths!

suitcasesFirst things first – do not bring the whole kitchen sink! It’s a cliché but it is true. I live about six hours away from Aberystwyth by train, so in my head if I had forgotten anything important I couldn’t just nip home to get it or get my mum to bring it on a weekend. Therefore, I brought pretty much everything I owned and more useful clutter my mum had bought me specifically for going to uni. This included an octopus we bought in Ikea for drying underwear on that I had pushed to the back of my wardrobe and forgot about until half way through the last semester. It is useful but maybe not a necessity. You definitely do not need:

  • Your whole wardrobe. I made this mistake, but you will not wear everything you bring, or at least not all in one term. Leave some at home, especially some of your warmer winter clothes. Aber doesn’t get that cold until well after September – you will still be able to wear your shorts and flip flops for a while! Take a mixture of Autumn/late Summer clothes and make a trip back home (where you can coincide this with politely asking your mum to do some of your washing) and swap some stuff over when you get back.
  • Everything in your kitchen cupboard. This does depend on what type of halls or residence you are in, but you may have things already provided. Kettles, toasters and microwaves are provided by the university, and you are not allowed kettles in your room in case they set off the fire alarms. Toastie machines are useful but then again you run the risk that you all bring one, which is wasteful. I advise you only bring one or two pans and plates etc, and make sure what you bring are items that you would not mind getting broken or get stolen (because in halls things have a tendency to disappear!). Alternatively, wait until you get to Aber and see what your flatmates have brought, then head to somewhere like Charlies, Morrisons or Argos to get what you don’t have cheaply.
  • I had it in my head that I would join the Hiking Club when I got to Aber and make the most of Snowdonia as it so close by. Needless to say that didn’t happen. I had stupidly gone and got walking trousers and other equipment for hiking, and I brought these to university on freshers’ and ended up not using them. Don’t buy anything or pay membership fees until you know you are going to stick to something. Most clubs have kit they can lend you and depending on what it is, many offer free taster sessions at the start of term.

On the other hand there are some things I couldn’t have lasted first year without which includes:

  • A decent waterproof jacket. As previously mentioned, the weather (in my opinion), is normally fairly decent but when it does rain it buckets it down. The last thing you want to do is start missing lectures because you don’t want to go out in the rain. A decent one may be more expensive but will last you the whole time you are at Aber.
  • A printer. Again, like a toastie machine, you do not necessarily need one. I found it very handy because I am quite technologically challenged and also because it meant I didn’t have to use the library printers which you have to pay for. A handful of people in my flat had one and the ones that didn’t used mine to print off their essays. You don’t need a fancy one but if you live in town it may be worth looking into, just to save you the trek up the hill.
  • Decorations for your room. This could be a few posters, bunting or pictures from home. This makes your room feel a bit more homely and a bit nicer to look at when you are ill, hungover, doing an essay or maybe feeling a little bit homesick. Decorations in your room are a good starting point for conversation with your new flatmates, if for example you both like the same band and are a good ice breaker.