The Ultimate Student Survival Kit

The Autumn term (Michaelmas, if we’re being fancy) approaches, and whether you’re a fresh-faced Fresher heading off to a new town for the first time or a seasoned Second-year (and beyond), it’s time to prepare for Moving To Uni.

Even if you’re only going down the road, it’s still a big change. Most of us are launched into halls or MDF-filled apartments unaware, on our own for the first time, surrounded by strangers (mostly) who may or may not come to steal our toiletries (or worse). It’s a jungle out there: a sweaty, hairy, salt-stealing jungle.

So we’ve pulled together the ultimate uni survival kit, designed to equip you with the means to whip up a superb spag bol with one hand as you fight off infiltrating kitchen invaders (the ones you don’t actually live with) with the other.

You’ll also find a handy “what to take to university”checklist, for that first big shop, further down. Lock and load!

Your Bedroom: Dressing gown, slippers, heater, blankets, food, water, tent*

Who knows how much time you’ll end up spending besieged in your bedroom? Prepare for every kind of weather, lack of access to a clean kitchen and the inevitable hangovers with a decent stock of gear.

  • Blankets and other bedding to make yourself a fort. And to sleep in.
  • Non-perishable snacks and some water (in a reusable bottle, no waste here!) for the days when you just can’t make it to the kitchen — whether because of your housemates or the oppressive hangover that confines you within a 1-metre radius of your bed.
  • Heater/fan you’ll probably have to face the extremes of freezing cold and suffocating heat in your box of a room.
  • Slipper and dressing gown for when you absolutely have to risk leaving your room…or are forced out of it by the idiot who set off the fire alarm. AGAIN.

*OK, we’re exaggerating with the tent. Unless you’re going to festivals. Or get to the point where you genuinely prefer sleeping outdoors…

Your Kitchen: Knives, yes - organic cider vinegar, not so much

When it comes to the kitchen, student essentials fall into two main categories: basic food, basic tools (besides, it’s easy to be ingenious with knives). Ain’t nobody gonna be spending £3.15 on one small bottle of soy sauce…sorry Waitrose.

  • Salt & pepper, the easiest seasoning ever. Dried oregano if you really must.
  • TINS. All the tins. They make useful ammunition, if you’d rather not eat what’s inside.
  • Potatoes, onions, pasta, tomatoes, garlic. Several (relatively) healthy meals within easy reach of these 5 magical ingredients — if you really must get fancy, add baked beans/cheese/meat/chilli flakes to your heart’s content.
  • Lemon juice. Just ask 19th-century sailors: scurvy’s not fun.
  • Sharp knives. Nominally for cutting up food, but you can guess how they might be useful in other ways too. That’s all we’re saying.
  • Chopping board. God only knows what horrors that kitchen counter has seen over the years.
  • • A couple of plates/pans/bowls/mugs/forks/Tupperware boxes - just a couple. If everyone brings a full set, all that happens is you have 20 lots of dirty everything which are never washed. Save yourself the space.

Anything disposable left even remotely within the grasp of another will be gone by the end of the first month, we can guarantee it. So unless you feel like buying endless rolls of kitchen towel that you feel like you never use, you might prefer to keep this in your room too.

Your Bathroom: Loo roll and a padlocked steel case

All the things you need for university residence pale in comparison to your toiletries. Whatever happened the night before, a good shower makes you feel more human again. They’re also the most easily stolen/surreptitiously used items; guard yours with your life.

  • Loo roll. Don’t even try and argue with us on this one. You don’t want to learn the hard way about being caught short.
  • Shampoo, conditioner. You can kind of use shampoo for everything else (shaving foam, body wash, bubble bath, toilet cleaner) so if you’re really having to scrimp, that’s your important one.
  • Bleach - for the bare minimum of cleaning.
  • Padlocked, steel shell, fingerprint-tested-retina-scan case to put it all in; a true staple of the university survival guide. We can’t guarantee this will keep everyone (and everything) away, but it’s our best offer.

The Back-To-Uni Shopping List

Maximise the hell out of that back-to-uni shop, and grab as much of the below as you can (sneak in booze at your own risk…).

  • Slippers, dressing gown, blankets, bed linen
  • A heater (preferably one that does hot & cold air. Worth the investment!)
  • Two sharp knives
  • One big pan and one little pan, both with lids
  • Chopping board
  • Oil (sunflower, vegetable, olive, coconut, whatever. You can cook with all of them)
  • Tinned tomatoes (as many as you can get)
  • Tins of soup (a warm hug for the hungover student)
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes — we prefer big baking ones, you can do them in the microwave if you can’t figure out the oven. 800w, poke a fork in a few times, 5-7 minutes x2 (turn it over in between)
  • Onions
  • Chilli flakes
  • Garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Two kitchen towels (not the paper kind)
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bleach
  • Loo roll
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Razor (optional)
  • Toiletries bag (if it’s not steel, at least you can transport everything to & from the bathroom in the fastest way possible)

Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Follow us on Facebook for financial tips and regular competitions.

Follow us


Student Life

Date Posted

26 September 2018