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Ideas thread for what to take/not take to Uni.......

(425 Posts)
MissMarplesBloomers Sat 17-Aug-13 11:37:45

We have found already that the student forum on the Warwick Uni website has been a valuabel resource.

Also advice from past students on here & other friends so thought I'd share a few "ooh ...good tip" moments that we've already had as the lists are mounting up!!

-Keep stuff to take to a minimum, check the list of stuff provided first or else the kitchens end up with 8/10 sets of everything by the end of first week.

-ditto for groceries, stick to dry/tins so tehy last longer & the shared cupboard in the kitchen/fridge shelf may not be that big!

- plain white china/crocks can be muddled/lost/appropriated with all the other IKEA stuff in the kitchen, a couple of granny's patterned plates will stand out as yours & can be found cheaply in charity shops. Ditto cutlery. Then no biggy if it doesn't come home at end of term.

-some halls provide linen/bedding but having your own from home helps with the settling in. Eg DD is taking her double duvet & own covers as that is snuggly on a single bed.

-lots of pound coins for laundry & buses.

-Double up the amount of underwear you pack, you'll be too busy the first week to do washing!

Loads more I'm sure, all little things but useful!

Please share your top tips <licks pencil & grabs DD's to do list> grin

inneedofrain Wed 21-Aug-13 21:34:52

Oh no I didn't mean to infer that! Just meant that they are an essential item!

It's an amazing place, can be pricy though

I would also recommend a couple of baggy clothing items I always used to put on a bit of weight when I was in Italy

I'm sure he is probably half way between ecstatically excited and worried

OldRoan Wed 21-Aug-13 21:51:36

Life I had a year abroad in Paris and set up a bank account, but if that is too much faff then have a look at the PostOffice cards where you can load them up with euros here and then use it like a bank card there. It can be topped up in a Post Office branch. Not sure what the exchange rate is like, but we found that if my parents needed to bail me out in Paris they had to pay a fee every time to transfer money to a foreign account. The PO card might be easier?

Lifeisontheup Wed 21-Aug-13 21:53:06

Don't worry, I have no illusions about what 19 year old lads can be like, best to be prepared.

He's so skinny a bit of weight will be a good thing, he's very careful with money and will get an erasmus (?) grant so should be ok. We're paying his rent as we do in the UK but it's cheaper in Venice which surprised me. He gets a grant for reasonable travel too which is great.

lookoveryourshouldernow Wed 21-Aug-13 22:11:22

.... If you are planning on buying your student the Budget pan set from Asda - they will need to have a screwdriver to put them together grin ....

Just checking all my purchases and trying to shoe horn them into some underbed storage beds they we have bought...

Fairdene Wed 21-Aug-13 22:45:34

What on earth is it with the condoms? If they're competent to have sex then they should be competent to buy condoms. Isn't it rather prurient to press condoms into their starter pack? I find it really intrusive. How far do most mothers get involved in their DCs' sex life? I stay right away. Especially since I know these things are likely to be more readily available from almost anywhere than from wherever mum's well meaning starter pack has been stashed.

Agree re condoms tbh. There is no way I'd give them to dd, as a 'joke' or otherwise. She'd be annoyed, insulted and embarrassed in equal measure.

Lifeisontheup Thu 22-Aug-13 07:27:08

I'm only including them on the list as he's going to Italy where, as someone said up thread, they can be difficult to buy which he may not have realised given their easy availability here.

Didn't bother when he was going to Exeter two years ago although we did have a 'chat' (one of many since puberty) about safe sex and the importance of consent.

wordfactory Thu 22-Aug-13 07:49:07

Completely disagree re condoms.

Many teens will not be regularly sexually active. They may have never bought condoms before. They may assume they won't need them.

But introduce drunk, homesick teens in close quarters...a moment's embarrassment of having your Mum shove a pack of Durex at you versus an unwanted pregnancy or herpes, not really a hard choice.

MABS Thu 22-Aug-13 08:12:56

agree wordfactory. and my dd was given the C card at school so she can get them free from most chemists. they were all given the card, think it applies til 23 or 24 years old.

I remember condoms being given out during registration at a hostel I stayed in in Amsterdam, and I thought that was quite cool (even though wasn't needed on that occasion) but I thought it gave a nice positive sex is part of life message (though could be slightly more embarrassing from your Mum I can see that blush - maybe as part of a crisis kit with the alka seltzer could be the way to go ?)

RevealTheHiddenBeach Thu 22-Aug-13 13:03:27

One thing I found really helpful to do was to look in all the communal cupboards at home (not just my room!) and think of all the stuff I'd used over the last couple of years. That quickly expanded my 'first aid' kit into a decent medicine box, including stuff like TCP, germolene, olbas oil etc that I definitely wouldn't have thought of.

Whoever said about the screwdrivers/coffee/biscuits "going away" present, that's bloody fabulous smile

It's getting pretty close to the bone now, but alongside condoms, if your DD is thinking of going on the pill it might be best to start ASAP, not in the first few weeks of uni - that'll give her hormones etc time to adapt before everything's completely new.

OldRoan Thu 22-Aug-13 18:06:37

I've been thinking about this a lot and have got another bit of (slightly negative?) advice: it's so easy to get swept up in the excitement of moving and meeting new people and everyone telling you how AMAZING university is that you can feel a bit of a failure when it isn't. I ended up seeing the university counsellors (who were fab) and on pills for stress - I was on the wrong course, but was too stubborn to switch to something I'd enjoy more. I felt like I had to put a brave face on at first and say how super everything was, but the minute you admit to not liking it all the time everyone comes out and agrees that, actually, it has its moments and some of them are pretty grim.

What I would say to anyone going to university, then, is this:
There is no shame in not enjoying yourself, wanting to change courses, or just feeling like you are missing the point a bit. At any time during your university career.

My sister sat me down, gave me a talking to, and said "it's just a means to an end. Remember that and everything will stay in perspective."

alreadytaken Thu 22-Aug-13 18:12:35

anyone with a few extra pounds to spend on a laptop this i5 at 340 is very good value. If we hadn't bought one not long ago I'd be very tempted

alreadytaken Thu 22-Aug-13 20:41:59

For the medics - tips from a medical student A separate notebook to take to anatomy (wipe clean cover). A whiteboard can be useful for sketching anatomy stuff repeatedly without wasting paper. Would never have thought of a whiteboard!

JellicleCat Thu 22-Aug-13 23:27:56

I have bought the condoms and they are in the "emergency box". Will dd be embarrassed? Maybe, but she is more likely to go "Oh mother".

However, my own first experience of sex at uni when I didn't have a condom and wasn't on the pill but went ahead anyway (in that way you do when you are 18), means I am determined she has them available for if/when she needs them. But then I have included paracetamol and throat sweets for the same kind of reasoning - so they are there when she needs them and doesn't have to go looking.

I don't see it as helicopter parenting, just common sense. After all whether she uses the condoms is up to her.

Fairdene Thu 22-Aug-13 23:59:34

My own version of common sense tells me that I don't need to be intrusive since condoms are available from almost everywhere at any time of day or night in university settings where they're needed. Each to their own. None of mine have contracted any unpleasant disease yet nor presented me with an unexpected pregnancy (several university aged DC later (both sexes)), so my common sense version seems to work pretty well.

MissMarplesBloomers Fri 23-Aug-13 07:49:50

Yes but Fairdene what if the DC concerned is not comfortable seeking them out?

My DD is getting her C card & some supplies from our lovely practice nurse.

mumeeee Fri 23-Aug-13 07:51:11

I agree with you Fairdene. DD3 would be very embarrassed if packed condoms in her case. I didn't do that with DD1 or DD2 either and they were both fine.

wordfactory Fri 23-Aug-13 09:30:32

fairdene I don't think you can extrapoltae very much from one family and their personal dynamics grin...

Lots of families are very open about such things. Or will simply laugh and roll their eyes.

Also, I work at two universities and trust me, there are plenty of students catching STDs and experiencing unwanted pregnancies. They don't all announce it at home!!!

MissMarplesBloomers Fri 23-Aug-13 09:39:03

Exactly word each family must do what is right for their DC's & as long as they are safe who cares where or how they get the contraception!

I'm just grateful she is thinking & asking advice about it!

RevealTheHiddenBeach Fri 23-Aug-13 10:14:19

what OldRoan has said really rings true for me - and as I say it to every "about to go to uni" person I meet, I can't believe I forgot it!

It's FINE and NORMAL to be homesick. Not everyone is, but if you are, it's ok.

I was really, really confident in school and at home, and nobody even thought of telling me that (or possibly they did and I didn't listen). When I was at uni, with my support networks taken away from me, I was appallingly homesick. I cried and cried for bloody weeks, and I was so shocked that this happened, that I didn't know how to deal with it.

I'm not saying that to scaremonger, and eventually I sorted myself out and absolutely LOVED years 2 and 3 (and then the 4 and 5 where I couldn't bring myself to leave yet) - but it's so important to know that it's OK to not land on your feet.

(technically this is a say and not a bring, but I still think it's important...)

mumeeee Fri 23-Aug-13 11:12:35

I agree it is all about your own family dynamics. DD1 and DD2 have told DD3 that's it's okay to be homesick and a bit nervous. She knows she can phone us at anytime. We are actually staying in Bolton for the weekend when we take her up, 1. because it's a long drive there and back in a day and 2 because she asked us too. However we are not spending the whole time with her she has already planned to go to the first freshers event on the Saturday and she has to enroll on the Saturday. She said she''d text us when she was ready to meet us for lunch on the Sunday,grin

StabInTheDark Fri 23-Aug-13 11:42:28

Fab advice OldRoan and Reveal. Hadn't even thought about reassuring her it's natural and okay to be homesick. She's always been very outwardly confident but can be prone to not asking for help when she needs it.
A completely unrelated question- anyone's DC worked out their weekly budget yet? DD has been given the most expensive accommodation and is now down to £100 a week. Is this do-able?!

Fairdene Fri 23-Aug-13 11:43:32

I wrote each to their own wordfactory, so that's hardly extrapolating universal truths. Condoms are everywhere, absolutely everywhere. I have plenty of doubts about all sorts of things but one thing I can rely on is that if a condom is needed at uni then a condom will be ready to hand. One of my DC is in charge of these things where he is and has an arsenal of literally thousands, all free and freely available.

Fairdene Fri 23-Aug-13 12:06:02

Also, he has lubricant, rape alarms (though he has to charge £2.30 for these) and pregnancy tests. Apparently he has a wide variety of different types of condom too, so students can idle over a choice, not just feel constrained to stick with whatever workaday version their mum has supplied.

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