A Quick Guide Of Things You Need When Moving Out For The First Year of University.

Obviously, everything I am going to mention here isn’t going to be applicable for everyone. There’s a good possibility that I might forget some things. Add and subtract from the list as you desire.

Bedroom and study:

  • Duvet
  • Duvet cover
  • Bedsheets – multiple, particularly if you get heavy periods. Sometimes you won’t have time to wash sheets.
  • Pillows
  • Flipflops/sandals – your floor is going to get disgusting.
  • Table lamp – one of my coursemates’ room had seriously poor lighting. Needless to say, having a lamp helped.
  • Laptop – invest in a good one. You’re going to need access to a computer every step of the way.
  • Extension cable.
  • Folders – trust me, it will help you organise your things so much better. As for general stationeries, it depends on you as an individual.
  • A sturdy, medium sized lightweight luggage – investing in a good one is worth the price.

Kitchen: this is more useful for someone moving into a studio.

  • Toaster/toastie maker (unless provided by the accommodation) – for the love of anything at all, if you are like me and know cooking is something that will take time for you to learn, get a toaster/toastie maker. Chances are you’re not going to have time to make fancy meals and opting for homemade sandwiches will help you save money.
  • knife
  • Chopping board
  • Small, medium and large plates – one of my friends (her parents) bought an expensive dinner set to university and broke almost all of them. Students just don’t throw dinner parties, it’s just not gonna happen. I, for one, don’t have a supply of easy money and have to save as much as possible. If you want to save money, just bring some cheap plates that you are going to throw away eventually.
  • 2 x bowls
  • Mixing bowl
  • Glasses and mugs – bring a few, 4 should suffice. Once again, no one’s throwing dinner parties in university. Shot and wine glasses on the other hand are a different story. I don’t drink, not a good idea for me to advice one on that.
  • Cutlery – a set containing 4 pieces of each type will do fine.
  • A few containers to store food in. If you are particularly broke, head over to poundland and get a set of 8 microwavable plastic containers. They are surprisingly handy.
  • Tea towels – wash and reuse to save money on kitchen towels. I just recently realised how much I spent on these. You do need kitchen towels but it’ll help reduce a lot of waste to have something reusable as well.
  • Frying pan
  • Sauce pans – small and large.
  • Wooden/plastic utensils – for cooking.
  • Tin can opener
  • Baking tray – may not be necessary, my oven came with one.
  • Colander – pasta is going to save your life. It’s also useful for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Dish rack – organising made easier.
  • Kitchen scale – a small kitchen scale is incredibly useful, especially if you are awful at measuring things like me. Helps make my food a little more edible. Bonus, helps to keep track of portion size and calorie intake.

Bathroom:

  • Toilet brush with holder
  • Small bin – you can thank me later.
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Soap dish
  • Plasters, paracetamol etc.
  • At least 4 hand towels, 4 face towels and 2 bath towels.
  • Lots of underwear.
  • Shower necessities e.g. back brush, sponge etc.

Good hygiene is everything.

Now that the essentials are done, here are some other stuff:

  • Fairy lights – are you even a student if you don’t have a set of fairy lights in your room? They can also create a nice relaxing atmosphere.
  • Good pyjamas, dressing gowns and hoodies – if you are a headscarf wearer, hoodies will save your life.
  • Diffusers – because some accommodations have very sensitive fire alarms.
  • Fancy dresses – you don’t have to bring everything at one go. Usually, in October there’s a lot of themed parties. I don’t attend these as they’re not my thing but this girl once needed emergency minnie mouse ears for a house party. Besides, there are end of year balls, summer balls etc.
  • Jars – for storing biscuits and other food products.
  • Smart clothes – just one white shirt/blouse, one black trouser, one brogue/any smart shoes and one blazer will go a long way.
  • Extra blankets and throws – some accommodations have very poor heating.
  • Mesh curtains for ground to third floor – if you need the privacy, that is.
  • Microfibre cloths – for quickly cleaning your devices.

On the day you move in, you’ll have to go grocery shopping. So, here’s a basic (vegetarian) grocery list. Once again, it all depends on your lifestyle.

When moving, remember that for things like clothing you don’t have to bring it all at one go. Unless you live extremely far away, you’ll go home again and can bring back the things you left behind. Besides, you’re still living amongst civilisation and there are going to be shops there for you to buy things when you need.

Building Confidence

“This is the type of clothes I like, but I would never have the confidence to wear it.”

Naturally, my style has changed over time. Once, I used to wear lots of day dresses (even in winter) with my head-scarf styled in a way that clearly said she doesn’t know how to wrap a scarf. Then I wore sweater/jumper dresses and paired them up with colourful scarves. My shoes of choice were: boots in the winter, flats in the summer and converse type trainers during spring and autumn. I used to also wear faded green jeans with everything.

While at the time I thought I was doing fine, I do cringe a lot now. Seriously, where did my more shy-self find the confidence to leave home wearing four different colours? I do not know. I don’t hate myself for it. Maybe it was an external symbolism of the person I was back then. Or just bad decisions.

I am not fashionable, at all. But I really love certain styles and have a generic interest in fashion and makeup. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a particularly confident person but I can come off as more confident when needed. I was/am more insecure about my personality than my looks, but it varies between days. Some days the voices are so faint, they don’t even matter.

Sometimes, I can’t help but fantasize about having a more chiseled face, smaller and defined nose and ears, mouth and eyes without pigmentation around them, louder voice, extroverted personality etcetera etcetera. All that self-hating jazz. Ideal Western beauty standards we have been fed since birth. And I know, I am not the only one in this.

I am not going to say everyone is beautiful. Because beauty is subjective and it doesn’t define a person. Some features are more commonly approved of by the masses than others. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the epitome of beauty. We don’t find everyone we meet beautiful, for some of us, that include ourselves. But we do treat these people with the same respect and humanity we’d treat people we deem beautiful with. Except ourselves.

That’s where self-compassion come in practise. I could spew the I learned to love myself bullshit but let’s face it, all of us don’t. Should we try to? Absolutely. But we don’t need to torment ourselves if we find it difficult and an incredibly slow process, maybe even fruitless.

The thing about negative emotions is that, they can be metastatic. Loathing one thing leads to loathing another thing and it spreads and affect our day to day lives. So, here’s my philosophy. I am aware this philosophy of mine may not work for all but I’ll share it anyways.

When I used to volunteer in a hospital, the lady who ran the kitchen once told me: “if I was young and pretty like you I’d never do this work.” Now, the reason why I remember this is because it makes me laugh. No matter what anyone tell you, it won’t change the beliefs you hold about yourself.

A lot of the times, I used to find myself wearing something and then taking it off and changing into something more ‘neutral’ before going out. The reason being my belief that I am too shy to be seen in that or my face is too unpleasant for me to feel confident enough to wear that.

The problem with that is, I’d buy clothes and then store it away for when I am more confident or when I can apply better makeup and so on and so forth. It’d slowly eat away at me because I knew, I am not going to wake up one day all confident with pigmentation free skin and altered features.

Don’t get me wrong, some days I do like what I see in the mirror. But it’s only reality that some days will be good and others won’t. And I’ve accepted that.

When we don’t like something about ourselves, we either change it (if possible) or accept it. When I feel that it’s societal pressure that makes me want to change things about me, I don’t. So, I drop the negative thoughts by contradicting them with realistic thoughts. Of course, sometimes they will come back with full force but eventually I’ll remember the values I hold dear and go back to being myself.

About confidence, all I can say is; be patient and start small. I cannot stress the importance of little wins. Getting a job, doing good in exams, going on trips, gaining more independence, being able to consciously control anxiety are just some of the things that helped me build courage. For me, courage is confidence.

I’ve learned that I am my most confident when I am in a state of self acceptance. I hate saying this out loud: when I was a bit younger, I used to hate interacting with new people because I knew my body language revealed that I am a shy and introverted person. But I persisted and got out of my way to do things and develop life skills. Although, I made one crucial mistake.

I believed, if I gained enough skills it’d change my personality. But confidence is an expression of self acceptance; of being at ease with your flaws and all. Once I realised that there’s nothing wrong with being the way I am, I grew better. There’s this myth that if you accept yourself, so will everyone else. Yes, some people will, some won’t but it doesn’t matter.

Everyone is obsessed with themselves. If you still can’t find the courage to wear that item you’re thinking of remember this: no one actually cares. No one notices what anyone is wearing. Even if they do, they don’t care. We are all self obsessed to some degree. Some of us with the things that are supposedly wrong with us.

Time and time again, I’ve learned that no matter how superior someone acts they have insecurities too. So, don’t take things personally. Nine out of ten times, if someone is rude to you for no particular reason, it’s because of problems they have with themselves. Trust me, this is something I’ve witnessed repeatedly. Don’t fall in this trap that there are right ways to do subjective things. They are subjective for a reason.

One last thing, it is okay for you to feel down and hurt. It doesn’t mean you’re taking things personally. As human beings, we have feelings. Crazy, who’d have known?! But it’s what you do with that feeling that matters. If you are hurt for whatever reason, don’t focus on it. Because what you focus on grows. Instead, acknowledge it and practise self compassion. Use it as fuel to improve something about yourself. But don’t ever feel ashamed for being human.

As for the quote at the top, that is something my friend once told me while admiring this aztec-ish printed hoodie (the one in the featured image) from Cow Vintage I was wearing. She is taller than me and I prefer her face shape to mine. Did I mention, she has a smaller and cuter nose?

 

Evernote review

Like many people, there are numerous apps in life that I downloaded and later parted with. It either irritated me by existing once I was done and over with it or because my phone forced me to delete it. Why can’t smart phone companies make phones with a decent memory capacity and battery too!

I’ve had my current phone for over three years now, so it is a fairly old model. It does support SD cards which is more important than one might imagine. It was on this phone that I first downloaded the Evernote app for reasons I can’t remember. Later, I deleted it before it made a permanent come back.

Evernote is a very sleek and sophisticated app. Its logo is a green blunt edged square with a grey elephant’s undetailed head on it. It looks very professional despite my description. Evernote offers its customer three choices; the basic one which is free but can be installed in two devices only. Evernote plus which is £3.99/month or £29.99/year and includes more space and unlimited installation in various devices. Evernote premium which is £4.99/month or £44.99/year and include access to all its features.

Being an openly broke student, of course I use the free plan. Before Evernote limited the number of devices one could install it on, I used to have it on my laptop, tablet and phone. Now, it is installed in my laptop and phone only.

I show a lot of type A personality traits which include compulsive list making for every single thing. To minimise waste, going paperless is obviously the best option for the likes of me. I am going to be honest and admit that I am not completely paper free. I bought two journals and a beautifully designed plain A5 notebook two years ago, which I still have and use. However, it is my mission to reduce paper usage as much as possible. For educational purposes, I am always going to need an A4 notebook or two.

For professional purposes such as work, it would make sense to have the premium plan. It enables one to do many things including annotate pdfs, access and edit microsoft documents, create slideshows, share projects and findings with other users and what not.

As for me or anybody who doesn’t enjoy carrying an extra weight like those bulky planners, Evernote is the way to go. I usually make checklists or type down notes here and there, so the free plan is perfect for me. Checklists can actually help work done, especially for procrastinating type As like me.

During A levels, if I had to see the student services to get a letter of proof or had to see a teacher to discuss a particular question, I would put it off because I used get really tired after class and there was always another day. Ticking off checklists is one of the pleasures of feeling accomplished in the life of type As. Therefore, making a checklist would actually make me go and get those things done because I couldn’t wait to tick it off my list. While I didn’t use it much to make notes in class (we weren’t generally allowed to use laptops in class), I made observational notes during my time volunteering to later make use of these in my personal statement and CV. I plan to make more use of it in University.

Whoever you may be, if you need a quick access to checklists, notes, reminders and much more, I couldn’t recommend Evernote enough. Try it out if it intrigues you, it is afterall free.