Starting your Varsity life is like starting a new chapter in your life.  But like with most chapters it takes me a few pages to get into it.  It is for this reason that I decided today I want to help you get into your new life faster and easier.  Let’s start with Your University Essentials Checklist, not to be left behind.

Bedroom Essentials:

If you are going to live in a commune or lucky enough to get space in Res, then your bedroom needs to be compact.  The essentials are all you need to take, for the bed is only to sleep in and you will be doing little of that as is.

  1. Pillows – Make sure you have enough
  2. Laundry Basket/Bag
  3. Duvet
  4. Mirror
  5. Pillow Cases + Duvet Case + Bottom Sheet
  6. Alarm Clock
  7. Bin
  8. Blanket
  9. Extension Cable + Multi-plug
  10. Lamp
  11. Pinboard
  12. Hangers
  13. Air Freshener

Study Essentials:

Again space is a concern, so when planning your study desk consider leaving the figurines at home.  They gather dust and you will have no space to safely put them.  Plan around a minimalistic mindframe – this will suite your space and pocket better.

  1. Pens + Pencils + Highlighters
  2. Study Lamp
  3. Notepads + Post-It Notes
  4. Folders
  5. Long and short Ruler
  6. Eraser + TipEx
  7. Hole Puncher + Stapler + Scissors
  8. Pencil bag – Something easy for class.

Kitchen Essentials:

Your Kitchen essentials will depend on where you will be staying.  If you are staying in a dorm room/commune then consider finding out who your roommate will be. Give them a call and find out what they are already taking, like a toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge (how big), est.  The idea is that you and your roommate needs to make this tiny space work for both of you.  By having 2 toasters and microwaves, you are planning to clutter your new shared-room very fast.  A recipe to get on each other’s nerves.  

I however would take my own fridge, but a mini fridge.  As a student you will be able to buy food daily and little weekly shopping will be needed.  Remember to tell your mom to level-out the frozen meals.  Your mini-fridge has a small freezer department.

Many student res comes with a pre-fitted kitchen and bedrooms these days.  Find out what is included in your room and what’s not.  You don’t want to end up with 2’s of everything.

  1. Kettle – Can be shared
  2. Toaster – Can be shared
  3. Microwave – Can be shared
  4. A Bin – Can be shared
  5. Cutlery
  6. 2 x Bowls
  7. 2 x Plates
  8. 2 x Mugs
  9. Frying Pan
  10. Pots * 2
  11. Colander
  12. Sharp Knives
  13. Utensils – A spatula. est
  14. Chopping Board
  15. Cheese grater  – Can be shared
  16. Can Opener  – Can be shared
  17. Bottle Opener  – Can be shared
  18. Tea Towels – Take enough (3-4), they are handy for other things too.
  19. Tupperware – For your lunches and left-overs.

Food Cupboard Essentials:

This is not a shopping list, but rather a suggestion of foods that you will forget and regret the moment you realise it.  Also having these already packed and ready to move makes it easy to offer a cup to tea/coffee while chatting to your new mates with a biscuit or slab chocolates.  Consider them as ice breaking food- to kick start your social life.

  1. Tea bags/Coffee/Energy Drinks/Hot Chocolate
  2. Sugar / Sweetener
  3. Cup a Soup – They are super handy
  4. Baked Beans/Tuna/Sweet corn – Whatever can food you like
  5. Rusks/Biscuits/Chocolate –  tons, we can never have enough.  Leave the chips, they take too much space.
  6. Alcohol – Its a good idea to have a few beers in the fridge.  Best way to make friends:)
  7. Herbs & Spices – You will need them to make that pizza sandwich at 2am.
  8. Salt & Pepper
  9. Butter/Oil for your frying pan
  10. Bread
  11. Favourite Home foods or cheat treat.

Bathroom Essentials:

Bathrooms are those nasty thing we as students find ourselves having to share.  It is here that you want to make sure you have everything you need, neatly packed into a massive bathroom bag.  Don’t skim on this list, you will regret it, even if you’re a dude.

For all Student:

  1. Toilet Rolls *4 – Don’t take a 24 pack now, you don’t have the space.  But make sure every time you go to the shops you buy a few rolls.
  2. Body Towel *2 – You need one while the other stains up in the washing basket.
  3. Washing Cloth *2 – Just take them, the become handy.
  4. Toothbrush + Toothpaste + Mouthwash
  5. Shampoo + Conditioner
  6. Hairbrush + Hairdryer + Hair Clips/Bands
  7. Hair Gel + Hair Spray
  8. Face Wash + Body Wash – The soap might be cheaper, but it gets all icky.
  9. Razor + Razor Cream
  10. Perfume / Aftershave
  11. Nail Clippers + Files – Don’t forget
  12. Tweezers – Don’t forget
  13. Laundry basket/bag
  14. Condoms – Let’s be honest you want them.  If you need them is up to you:P

For the Girls:

  1. Cotton pads
  2. Makeup + Nail Polish
  3. Straighteners + Heat protector
  4. Makeup Remover
  5. Wax Strips
  6. Pads/Tampons
  7. Clean Wipes – You might wish you really had them.  Make it small, to put in your purse.

Gadget Essentials:

So many of these might not be considered essentials, but if you can afford some of these luxuries then I suggest you consider some.  They are there simple to make your life easier and less stressful.

The Essential Gadgets:

  1. Laptop + Charger

This is sadly most probably an essential  and costly tool. Consider what you really need from your laptop.  Most of our courses will need little more than Google.  Google offers your Google Drives, which has everything most of use will need, for free. Personally I would have recommended a Chrome Book, but sadly it seems we can’t buy them in South Africa, other than importing them🙁

If you are a student of the arts, then I fear you might have to save real hard for your machine.  My graphic design course did require me to have a big machine, simply to run all the programs.  But this might not be the case entirely for all art courses.  I suggest you wait for a week or so into the course and see what others have done.  Also go talk to your proff, he will be able to give you the most honest answer to what you will need computer-wise.

Think of your laptop as a 2in1 special.  It works great as a TV, especially if you add Netflix

2. Printer

You may think a printer to be a fancy, but the truth is running to the library, hoping to find an empty printer with ink is so nerve-wrecking, you will end up in cardiac distress before the end of your course. If you can afford it buy yourself a cheap HP Lasetjet, these little printer are robust, hard workers and simple minded.  A friend and I had 1 each from our college years, and they still prints without hickup.

3. Dictaphone

It might sound weird, but consider having a lecture that mumbles all the way, a lecture that talks too fast or too soft, or one with the flu – you are going to wish you recorded more than one class.  Most smartphones have this capability, use it.

Also did you know students who calmly listen to the lecture, instead of trying to catch every word tends to do much better at collage.  These students are smarter than me in realising listening and asking intelligent questions in class is more important than catching words.  Record the lecture and go home, redo the class and make your much needed class notes.  I promise you will see results in your marks.

  1. Headphones
  2. USB Stick
  3. Phone Charger
  4. Extension Cable + Multi-plug

The Fancies:

  1. HDMI Cable
  2. Ethernet Cable
  3. Mouse
  4. Chromecast

Admin Essentials:

  1. Passport / ID + Driving Licence
  2. Doctor’s Address
  3. Student Loan Documents
  4. Bus Pass + Train Pass
  5. CV Copies
  6. Passport Photos – For your Student ID
  7. Certificate Of Registration
  8. Student Accommodation Documents
  9. Exam Results

Cleaning Essentials:

  1. Laundry Tablets
  2. Dishwashing Liquid
  3. Dry Rack – If you have space
  4. Cleaning Cloth
  5. Dusting Cloth
  6. Sponges

Health Essentials:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Paracetamol
  3. Ibuprofen
  4. Plasters
  5. Throat Sweets
  6. Hot Water Bottle – Consider working through the night in winter, you want one.
  7. Cold And Flu Medicine
  8. Multivitamins
  9. Antiseptic Cream

To keep you Sane Essentials:

  1. Mini Sewing Kit
  2. Games Console + Extension Cable + Multi-plug
  3. A Fan + Heater – Wait and see, but I ended up with both.
  4. Umbrella
  5. Hot Chocolate + Marshmallows
  6. Most IMPORTANT, something from home.  You are going to miss home so take something to make it better.  Seriously we all missed home:(

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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