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Tips and Packing Guide

Before you arrive

Before you arrive, there are several things that you need to do and some things that you should do in preparation to start your uni life!

    • Familiarise yourself with the University’s “Welcome Week Guide“. This guide features important information on registration, enrolment and other vital events during Freshers’ Week. This website, the College Facebook Freshers’ Page and the College Guide will also contain useful information; focusing on Cartmel College and the social side of Freshers’ Week.
    • Open up a student bank account. It seems really obvious, but it means that you are protected as a student, overdrafts are easier to manage, there are deals and support that your bank will give you just because of your account. Even if you just deposit money into the account each week, it means you will be more secure financially. Or, if you are an EU/International student, you can do this once you’ve arrived at Lancaster.
    • Organise yourself! Get all your documents together regarding funding, proof of entry, any correspondence with student finance and the university, put them in one folder and make sure you have it with you, it will make all your registering and signing in much easier if you have everything in one document.
    • Get directions. Sooooo many Freshers each year get lost and turn up late or go to the wrong college. It’s really simple, just go on the university website and get directions to the uni. If you come in through the main entrance, follow signs to Alexandra Park, as this is where Cartmel is.
    • Surf the web! Have a look at the Fresher Pages on this website, have a look through Facebook and have a chat through the forums set up, and if you don’t have Facebook, get it, none of this, I don’t believe in it, most university events happen through it!
    • Sign up for a Purple card before hand. A purple card allows you to access a range of student offers from businesses in Lancaster. A purple card also makes it easier to sign up for societies. Entry to the Sugarhouse (SU club) is £1 cheaper with the card, so for many people it quickly pays for itself. Purple cards are not compulsory but are highly recommended.

Freshers Week Top Tips

    • Everything is down to confidence! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people. Be yourself and you’ll make plenty of friends.
    • Perfect your small talk and have some pre-prepared questions to ask. This is just to get the ball rolling, but even just ‘Hi my name is….’ is a great conversation starter in Freshers.
    • Have a wingman! Going up and talking to people is easier if you go with a friend, especially if you yourself are shy. It’s really easy, just ask a flatmate to pair up and go round, suddenly it’s a lot easier!
    • Don’t change! Don’t try and reinvent yourself, you’ll just trip up and fail, be truthful to yourself and people will like you for who you are!
    • Don’t lock yourself in your room. A closed door means you look isolated and also doesn’t invite people to get to know you.
    • Don’t ring home everyday! This will make you more homesick, try and ring just twice at most three times, if you are struggling, text a mate from home who has just been in Freshers (we have a late start so many other Uni’s will have finished Freshers), go talk to your Freshers Rep, or even just go out and do something, take your mind off of it!
    • Just say yes! Go to Freshers Fair and see what clubs and societies you can join, try something new, if people are going out to do something, go with them, if there is something on, go and see what it’s all about. This is the one week in Uni where there are no commitments on your time really, so make the most of it!
    • Know your JCR and Fresher Reps and older years in your flat (if you have them) these guys will help you in any way they can!
    • Sleep when you’re dead, go to all the events. Don’t miss out because you feel tired, you can sleep later on, don’t miss what could be the best night of uni!
    • Don’t do anything stupid! Kind of obvious, don’t do anything you may regret, small drunken exploits are fine for stories afterwards, but anything bigger, you can really tar yourself with an image! Also don’t do anything you wouldn’t do before, like being pressured into doing anything you don’t want to do, if you do, seek out your Fresher Rep!
    • Easy Tiger, pause for a soft drink! Do have yourself a water between alcoholic drinks, all bars a legally obligated to give you a water, don’t feel awkward asking for a drink and a water as well!

You will find loads of stuff on the internet telling you what items to bring. There are sites devoted to moving to university… even the Lancaster University website has some info on it. The next few tips are purely from my own experience. They may not be the same for everyone, but they should certainly help you decide what you need to take!

BeddingUnless you’ve purchased a bedding pack online (£29.99 from KitchPack – a Lancaster Student Business – or £35 from the University) , make sure you bring bedding! None will be provided!

There’s no need to bring the whole kitchen with you! All kitchens in Cartmel are equipped with at least one toaster, kettle, mop and bucket, and dust-pan and brush. There should also be an iron, ironing board and a vacuum cleaner in a cupboard in the corridor.

Having said that, you’ll still need to provide your own pans, utensils and cutlery, plates, bowls, glasses and mugs. In reality, you will be able to share some items with your flatmates when you get here. If you find you are missing anything then Wilkinsons (in the town centre) is a great place to purchase anything you’ve overlooked.

Alternatively, for £39.99 and considerably less hassle, you can purchase a complete, high-quality kitchenware pack from KitchPack. KitchPack‘s kitchenware packs contain all the cutlery, utensils and kitchenware you’ll need at University at a great price. KitchPack is run by a group of enterprising Lancaster students, they’ll greatly appreciated your support! 

If you are really into cooking (or intend to learn when you get here!) then by all means bring ‘specialist’ stuff e.g. a garlic press. Basically, if you think you’ll use them and they aren’t ‘normal’ then bring them with you.

Bring a door wedge. Leaving your door open makes it much easier to get to know your flatmates. They can (and probably will) be some of your closest friends and so it is important not to hide in your room! Note: propping up Fire Doors (the Flat and Kitchen doors for example) is considered a serious rule breach, only use a door wedge on your room’s door.

Playing cardsA pack of cards and other such stuff is quite handy, as is savlon and some plasters. You will need batteries at some random point too. White tack and tape is useful too (you’ll need them at the oddest moments).

Let us not forget scissors too, as these tend to go walkabout. The easiest things to overlook are the things that we would take for granted at home. For example – I ended up borrowing a sewing kit just before Christmas ball from my flatmate, whose mum had packed it ‘just in case’.

Those ‘just in case’ things that your mum or dad stick in your bag and you think you’ll never use; you probably will. So don’t complain!

CleaningBring some things to clean with. It may be hard to accept at first, but at some point you will have to do some cleaning! Prepare yourself with some bleach, bathroom cleaner, anti-bacterial kitchen cleaner, disposable cloths, dusters and polish and you should be fine. Again, you will be able to borrow off flatmates for some of these.

Don’t forget towels, including a small shower mat to put by the sink. You’ll also need some toilet rolls – although there will be one in the en-suite when you arrive.

I brought a small storage unit for my en-suite, as the shelf below the mirror soon fills up – for girls I imagine even more-so! You can get some compact units from Argos – there is a store in the town centre, in the covered market.

PinDon’t forget photo’s, posters etc. Although you aren’t meant to attach anything to the painted walls (you will get fined if there are marks), you can use White Tack to avoid marking the walls. There is also a huge noticeboard (remember to bring pins!) and a door that you can stick things on.

The more you fill it with stuff you love, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Make sure you unpack quickly (get the family to help!) then the transition from home will be much more natural.

Make sure you pack ‘ice breaker’ chocolate or wine normally works well.

Accept whatever food you are given from the family!

Time wise, the first week is absolutely mad and you probably won’t have much time to cook extravagantly – so it is important you already have a supply of food available. This may seem bizarre now, but you will soon understand.

Food shopping can easily get done later in the week once you’re more settled with your surroundings and have some free time available.

TVIf you decide to bring a TV, you will need to purchase a TV Licence. You will not able to do this until you arrive at Lancaster and know your room number. If you watch or record live television using another device, such as a laptop or tablet, you will also be required to purchase a licence. Unless, your out-of-term address is covered by a TV licence and, your device is not plugged in and is running off it’s own battery power for the duration of the live stream.

If you only use your device to watch catch-up TV services (such as BBC iPlayer) or on-demand services (such as Netflix), then a TV Licence is not required. All students will receive slightly intimidating letters from TV Licencing a few weeks into the first term, however, you should not feel bullied into purchasing one if you do not need one. Regardless of what you may hear, TV Licence enforcement officials may access residences.

For more information about TV Licencing, including how to purchase a Licence, click here.

UmbrellaPack warm clothes and an umbrella. It rains an awful lot in Lancaster, as well as getting very cold.

Bring coat/clothes hangers! Your wardrobe will not contain any!

You’ll probably also want to bring at least one formal outfit. Although you won’t need it very often, you’ll be sorry if you’re the only one without, when it comes to that special occasion! Remember if you bring some smart shoes, you might want to pack some shoe polish.

Fancy dressAnd also remember, the more clothes you bring, the longer you can last without having to do laundry! However, when the time comes you will need some washing tablets. You could use powder of course, but tablets are much easier, especially as the laundrette will probably be a short walk away from your block.

Expect to dress up a lot for themed socials (especially during your first year) – so try to bring along some good props and costumes with you. There are several fancy dress shops in Lancaster, however, so it’s not a major issue if you don’t have much along these lines at the moment.

PassportBring your passport, driving license, National Insurance number card (or at least write the number down) and a few passport sized photo’s.

You will them need them quite often, especially if you want to apply for jobs, join societies or register for anything you will need ID.

It is also worth noting that bars in Lancaster will not accept student cards for ID.

Make sure you bring your bank information and cards, and cheque book if you have one.

So that is it! Hopefully you have a better idea of what you need to bring to Cartmel College with this packing guide.