• Cerys Taylor

University Essentials

I’ve been a university student for a year now – I’ve just started my second year at Birmingham City University – so I think I’m now qualified to share a few tips and tricks! So, here are my uni essentials!

I commute to university rather than living in. Being such an easy university to get to via public transport, it made perfect sense to stay at home rather than spend so much money on accommodation (university is mega expensive).

The very first university essential, that you should have on you at ALL TIMES is your lanyard! I’ve forgotten this once, and it’s very unhelpful. I need mine as identification around campus and to scan myself in and out of the buildings, but also sometimes to be scanned for the register. My photo is disgusting, so I tend to wear my card backwards, so no one can see. The – almost – hour long commute means that I need entertainment, so my next essential is my set of Bluetooth headphones. I have the iPhone 7, so I don’t have a headphone jack, which makes Bluetooth headphones a god send! Once I connect them up on the train I can listen to my music or a podcast or two while I play games on phone or check my social media, then continue listening while I walk from the station to my lecture. Once I’m there I can just take them out of my ears and leave them around my neck, ready for easy access once I leave again. This means that I don’t have to leave them in my bag or my pocket to get all tangled! Literally the most annoying thing in the world.

As I’m on my phone a lot throughout the day – because who isn’t – I always carry a power pack with me. Mine can charge multiple things at once, so it can also charge up my headphones or my tablet if I need to as well as my phone. Of course this also means carrying cables around, but lucky for me I only have to carry two, one for my iPhone and one to fit all my other electrical products.

My Samsung galaxy tablet is probably my favourite thing. I use this to download all my lecture slides to so I can always access whatever I need wherever I am on campus, and I can write up my seminar work on here too. This means I always have everything in one place when I need to revisit things. I store all of my university work on my micro SD card, a 64GB so I have plenty of storage space. I can transfer anything I need from this onto my laptop if I choose to quite easily, rather than emailing documents to myself. To go with this, I also have a Bluetooth keyboard, which fits nicely in my case. This makes typing up anything SO much easier, rather than poking at the screen and knocking it over every 10 seconds like a weirdo. These together are much easier than carrying my laptop around. It fits in my bag, so I don’t need a separate case and it’s so much lighter.

I also keep my USB in my bag at all times. I do a lot of work in computer labs during certain seminars, so having somewhere to store all of this work, making it accessible to me at home, means that I can revisit stuff when I need to or build on seminar work from home.

Having said all of this, I do like to make notes in my lectures on paper. I find that if I type things up I never remember them - which doesn’t come in handy for exams. For that reason, I also carry a small notebook and a pen to write down extra information in lectures, which I can transfer back to the slides at a later date. I’m a sucker for stationary. I have to actively tell myself off for browsing the notebook section in T.K.Maxx or paperchase (the best places for notebooks FYI). This pen is also a paperchase purchase. Has anyone else always been obsessed with fluffy pens? Ever since I was little you could always win me over with a fluffy pen!

In the zip pocket of my bag I have several essentials. Every girl will have something similar in her bag – a pouch or a pocket – where these things live constantly. I have thee whether I’m at uni or not, so that I always always have them when I need them. They include tissues, pocket wipes, a few spare bobbles, paracetamol, Gaviscon and a pocket hairbrush. This is also where I keep my lip blam or lipstick and liner – depending on what I’m wearing that day. You never know when you’re going to need any of these things, they’re especially good for emergency situations. Other things you could keep in here include hand sanitiser, hand cream and sanitary products, whatever you think is an essential.

The weather – especially right now – in the UK can be very unpredictable. Right now, I carry both sunglasses and an umbrella, although usually I only carry one or the other, depending on what time of year it is. I’m a bit of a sunglasses fiend, so my sunglasses vary depending on my outfit, but my umbrella always stay the same. This one from K-Pop that I got on Amazon is perfectly travel sized but also mechanical! You push the button on the handle and it pops open for you! I find this really handy in the city, if I’m in a crowd I can just angle it upwards and *pop* or walking in and out of shops I can open it with one hand and leave my shopping in the other! Both of these fit nicely in my bag so I’m ready come rain or shine!

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