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University: What to take!

My room at University!

I just wanted to say a big well done for all those who are coming to the University of York to study History of Art! I’m so jealous of you all starting your very first year, and I can guarantee that you’ll have the most amazing time, both here in York and throughout your degree.

I thought to ease the burden and the stress, and to lend a helping hand for all those about to embark on their new life here at York (and where ever else you are going if you’re reading this), I would comprise a list of all the things I think you need and should bring to uni.

The horrible stress of A-Levels is now over and done, and you’ve left behind the constraining school environment. University is an amazing path to take in life, and I’m so thrilled that I’m there as well.

So now you might be thinking, ‘What on earth should I take?!’ Well do not fear as I have composed a list of what I feel is important that you must remember to take with you!

  • Plug in air freshener –  trust me, if you want your room to be inviting and to be a room that people actually want to hang out in get one of these. They plug into the socket, and make your room smell delightful. If you’re a boy and think that it’s too feminine to have one of these, think again. I know at least 3 boys (I won’t name and shame!) who had these in their rooms.
  • Extra lights – fairy lights/lamps – creating the right ambiance is of top importance if your room is going to be the room people want to hang out in and just to make it more homely. I brought an extra lamp and fairy lights and this made a whole lot of difference to the environment in my room. It also helps at night too, as you don’t want to have to leave the big main light on till you go to bed.
  • Door-stop – bring a door-stop so that during the first few weeks you can leave your door open. This is a great way to meet the people who live around you, as most of the times they’ll stop and say hi (make sure you return the favour of course).
  • Drying rack for clothes – these could be in the form of the big collapsible ones or the ones that you put over your radiator. (I had the radiator ones) This will save you a bit of money on using the drying machine and will make your room smell nice when you hang clean clothes on it!
  • Bowl – mainly for girls! – having a bowl to clean delicate underwear, eg. Bras etc is a must have. The bowl doesn’t have to be that big either so doesn’t take up much room.
  • Extra storage – I had plastic box draws in my room, which was fantastic. You could put extra clothing in there such as underwear, or food (not in the same one mind!) To make it look prettier I bought some really nice cloth and put it on top. Not only do you have extra draw space but you have extra table top space too. A win win.
  • Printer – History of Art has required a lot of printing, so I invested in a printer which is a god send. The department would send us a list of the required chapters on our student evision for us to print off. The library only had limited books, so don’t be dependant on getting them from there.
  • Photos – print off some of your favourite photos to hang up in you room. I found that a few funny and slightly embarrassing ones were great ice-breakers! You can get some great photo deals at Student Beans here.
  • Posters – like the above with photos, to hang around your room.
  • Flip-flops – great for if you’re sharing bathrooms in your halls (trust me, you don’t want to walk around with wet feet), and also for the communal kitchens too. If you want your feet to remain clean invest in these. However, don’t be those people that wear them outside during the winter. No. Just no.
  • A camera – I wish I had my own digital compact camera with me, as the one I own was far too expensive to take to clubs. A camera is a great ice-breaker, and can help make you new friends. Take photos on nights out as sometimes they’re the only memories you’ll have from them!
  • Note-pads – comes with out saying. Stock up. Get folders too.  Plus pens, obviously.
  • iPod speakers – great for pre-drinks, and blasting out some great tunes. But be respectful when you want to use them, and what you play!
  • An extra cushion – the more the merrier. And the comfier you’ll be.

During freshers week, and the first/second/third terms (and the rest of your uni life!), you’ll need a select few items to keep you going with all the themed nights out.

  • Face/body paint – for all those fancy dress socials.
  • School t-shirt and tie – it’s a must, even though you’ll probably only wear it once maybe twice, there are school themes here and there in various clubs.
  • Geeky glasses – got to be done. Everyone student should have a pair.
  • A variety of random costumes – if you already have any fancy dress costumes, then brilliant! Bring those with you.
  • Red stripped top – for all the Where’s Wally themes of course.


  • ID – Some kind of ID, such as drivers license or passport.
  • National Insurance Card – if you want a job you’ll have to have it with you!
  • Insurance documents – not a must, but it’s better to have a copy of this with you just in case.
  • NUS/National Rail Student Card –  if you don’t already have an NUS card or a National Rail Student card you must! They totally pay themselves off, and I would be completely lost without either. The National Rail Student card gets you 1/3 off rail fees which definitely helps.

These are all the things that I brought/wish I had brought with me for my first year at University. If I can think of anymore I’ll keep updating this list!

Hope this helps! What would you recommend new students to bring?

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Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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