Whether it’s your friend, daughter, cousin or nephew going off to university, you’ll want to send them away with something useful and meaningful. A student survival hamper, packed with all the items they might not have thought about – but will likely need – does just that.
It will be gratefully received – and they’ll thank you for it when the time comes to use the bits and bobs packaged inside, whether that’s after a heavy night of drinking, or when it comes to cleaning or cooking something from scratch…
The trick is not to overload the hamper with things that they’ll already have packed. Here’s some inspiration for things to include:
- Ear plugs: Halls can be lively places, which can make it hard to get some rest. Help your university starter cope with a pair of ear plugs.
- Post-it notes: In cool shapes and colours, for memorable note-taking, like these (pictured above).
- Wet wipes: Just because they’re convenient for doing a spot of cleaning, whether it’s shoes, sticky hands, or the kitchen counter.
- Mini stapler and mini hole punch: For keeping lecture notes tidy.
- Toaster bags: So your fresher can whip up a quick lunch using just the toaster.
- Disposable camera: A nice touch, so they can snap all their Freshers’ Week memories using this retro camera, and have the suspense of not knowing what they’ll come out like till they get them developed!
- Dry shampoo: To fight any signs of greasy hair, or a lack of hair washing. Batiste is ideal: it refreshes locks in minutes. Bad hair days, be gone!
- Plasters: For sticking over any drunken or sober injuries. This fresher will be considered the saviour of the group, and with funky, grown-up and amusing plasters like this, you can’t go wrong.
- Cook books: For inspiration in the kitchen, and to encourage your student to venture beyond the ‘safe’ choices of beans on toast, soup and cheese on toast. The Hungry Student Cookbook (pictured above) has rave reviews.
- Cards: For drinking games, such as Ring of Fire, or for filling up the time in between lectures in the student union.
- Coloured pens: For making lecture and revision notes lovely and bright, and for doodling fridge notes, such as: ‘My parents are coming to visit today, please be on your best behaviour’, or for labelling food in the fridge.
- Loose change: For sticking an emergency load of underwear in the wash.
- Personalised photo calendar: They’ll be able to see your face every month, and it might encourage them to note down deadlines and stick to them, or give you a call once in a while.
- Blu-Tack: For hassle-free sticking, from putting up posters and pictures to displaying work at revision time, Blu-Tack really is the oldest university desk drawer essential.
- Fairy lights: To adorn their room and make it feel a little more homely/magical!
- Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce (or alternative): To spice up a bland meal.
- Vicks VapoRub: This multi-tasker soothes everything from a headache and cold to foot fungus… Yes, you heard me! It’s got a number of uses, details are here.
- Extension cable: Because students nowadays have an endless number of gadgets, and never have enough plugs.
- Painkillers and cold and flu tablets: To save your fresher the hassle of dashing to the shops when they’re feeling unwell.
- Air freshener: To mask any odd student smells before welcoming visitors. Think Febreze, Air Wick or something along those lines.
- Sleep mask: Sometimes your fresher may want to get some well-earned kip in the middle of the day, this will help to mask any distractions.
- Laundry bag: For lugging their dirty washing to the washing machines, or [if they’re smart enough], for lugging it home. This ‘I have to do all the dirty work’ laundry bag (pictured above) is ideal.
- Pot Noodle: In the event that your fresher fancies a change from beans on toast.
- Sweets: To share with new flatmates – what could be better for breaking the ice and bonding, than a packet of Maltesers? Challenge your new friends to a ‘who can keep make the Malteser levitate the longest’ contest (where you blow the Malteser in the air, like this.
- Scissors: Whether it’s cutting into a packet of noodles or the cellophane on a multi-pack of toilet roll, they are going to come in handy.
- Loo roll: An emergency bog roll for when supplies run low.
- Washing up liquid: For sliding down corridors of course. Joke. To encourage dish-washing.
- Candle: When your fresher has friends over and they are all watching a movie, lighting a candle can be a nice (sometimes romantic) way to set the mood. It’s even a lovely way to relax when enjoying some me-time. Personally, I’d always choose something that gives off a strong scent, such as Yankee Candle (pictured above).
- Hot water bottle: When Freshers’ Flu strikes, they’ll have something to snuggle up with.
- Bottle opener: Someone will need it at some point. You’re better off giving them a ‘cool’ one that fits nicely onto their keys, like this (pictured above).
- Wardrobe tidy: So they can organise their bits and pieces nicely.
- Berocca: Infused with vitamins, this is a quick, pre-lecture pick-me-up after a heavy or sleepless night. A great hangover helper too. The best bit is it makes urine a radioactive colour! If you’re not too keen on this, pack them some multivitamins.
- Microwave popcorn, Pop Tarts: and any other quick-fix snacks for settling hunger pangs at an odd hour.
I appreciate that many of the items above are very female-centric. For a male going off to university, you might want to throw in an inflatable football and inflatable football net for some fun in the communal living room, some paper cups and a table tennis ball for beer pong (or get this beer pong set), some homemade meals that can be frozen at university, and maybe some condoms! If you can think of any other items to include, let me know in the comments below.Follow @kavishah1