Freshers: Your suitcase essentials

Freshers, an exciting era is about to begin for you. In a matter of weeks you will find yourself stepping into a new home, meeting new people and embracing a […]

Freshers, an exciting era is about to begin for you. In a matter of weeks you will find yourself stepping into a new home, meeting new people and embracing a brand new student lifestyle that you’ll wish could last forever. Freshers is bound to throw a whirlwind of amazing opportunities and experiences your way, but how can you best prepare yourselves for such unknown territory and unpredictable events?

Indeed, it can be a little overwhelming knowing which essentials to take with you into this world of Fresherdom, but here’s where the Tab can lend a helping hand. Like older siblings, we are here to guide your fresh-faced, onesie-wearing selves into this stage of life, as we’ve been there, done that and got a vast amount of carnage T-shirts. Behold, our informed list of life-saving items that risk being overlooked when battling with bulging suitcases which you would otherwise deeply regret leaving behind.



Sounds like the most boring item on the planet, but this little fella will really open doors for you (no pun intended). Irritatingly, the majority of halls tend to have the heaviest bedroom doors in the world – those health & safety types that slam shut every time you walk through them – and this can be a real barrier between you and a host of potential new best pals. So wedge in your trusty doorstop, keep an open door and an open mind- be the friendly one allowing fellow flatmates to pop in and out, not that unsociable troll slamming that door shut all the time.

Tab Top Tip: If in doubt, a fork works just as well.

Bottle opener

One of those things that’s never there when you need it. Best to avoid cracking a tooth in attempt to crack open the beers that you brought along in order to break the ice with your flatmates… Available as key rings and even on belt buckles (snazzy), having a bottle opener to hand is easy as pie and you will be loved for it.

Tab Top Tip: You’ll get loads free at the Fresher’s Fayre.

Face paint

Freshers’ week, and indeed Freshers’ YEAR, is renowned for dress-up events. If you’re keen and have no inhibitions by all means dig out that old cowboy hat and those fairy wings that have been sat collecting dust since your eleventh birthday. Be ready to embrace the whacky themes, especially if you plan on joining a society or two. But for those who are less inclined to go all out with the dress-up, ensure that you at least have a stash of face paint- it’s simple and easy, yet can be incredibly effective.


In order to make your new room feel homely and cosy it’s a great idea to bring a few posters and photos along. You may think that after the eighth text from your mum checking you’re still alive you’ll feel glad to be rid of the ‘rents, but there will come a vulnerable time when you’re hungover watching Frozen in your onesie that you’ll be glad to see their little faces dotted around your room.

Tab Top Tip: Go to the poster sale at the start of term in the union- you’ll find a few things to sit alongside the inevitable chunder charts and lists of drunken quotes that will grace your kitchen area.

Pack of Cards

Predrinks are a great way of getting to know your flatmates and breaking the ice before evening events commence. Both boozers and non-drinkers alike can participate in card games, so if you come prepared with a pack of cards you will never be lost for something to do. Remember not to go too hard with the drinking games so as not to make it out to the actual event however! This leads us onto our next item…

Large glass/jug

A.K.A. the ring of fire King vessel – always handy for those predrinking sessions! If you are the unfortunate soul that gets dealt that deathly 4th King card, do use your common sense in terms of drinking the middle bevvy. It may feel like the peer pressure is on but only you know your limits, and if the concoction will take you beyond them simply remind your fellow pals that they’ll be the ones forfeiting a good night out if they have to accompany you back home at 12pm…

Passport photos (of yourself)

We don’t tell you to do this so that you can distribute mini pics of yourself to all your new pals, nor so that you can look painstakingly vain with them in your wallet. Passport photos are handy for all that admin stuff that will fly at you in your first few weeks of uni. Registering for your halls residency card and signing up with a local doctor will both require one, and these boring processes are all that much speedier when you’ve got the photos to hand. Oh, a passport-sized pic is also required for your all-important Jesters card, but for this one, it can be anything, from a Sharpie doodle to a Google image- the choice is yours!


Because you’re going to want to take off your clothes and touch each other. Safe sex is great sex people, and you should keep your stash of condoms right next to your bed in the event that you are blind drunk/ hazy-eyed or just plain lazy when the dirty deed occurs. Remember it’s just as important to practise safe oral sex, because STI’s aren’t fussy and they’ll getcha good from your head to your… you know. We advise you to enrol at the campus doctor’s surgery ASAP when you arrive and remember – contraception is free on the NHS, so fill your boots!

Alka Seltzers

The champion of hangover cures. As well as helping hangovers to subside these badboys crack down hard on headaches, minor aches and pains, fevers, indigestion, heartburn and excess stomach acid. Excellent. Did you also know that drinking a glass of milk before boozing, staying hydrated with plenty of water and eating a banana before you go to bed help to beat the pesky hangover? Well, now you do.

Ear Plugs 

Because noone likes to listen to their flatmates having noisy sex, nor listen to their neighbour snoring. Ear plugs are a simple essential that will enable you to have a glorious night’s sleep when you need to recuperate after burning the candle at both ends.


So there you have it Freshers, our little list of essential items that will make your first few weeks at university that little bit easier. Good luck with the packing!

Ex-Freshers- have we forgotten anything? Let us know in the comments!