10 things no Leeds student should be without

Link to Leeds ambassador Youssef Ramadan shares his tips on the essentials you need in your first few weeks at university.

A group of students wrapped up in winter clothes stand chatting outside Devonshire Hall.
Weather in Yorkshire can be unpredictable so make sure you’re prepared.

The new academic year is rapidly approaching, and after a summer without any revision, homework, or test preparation in any form (finally!), you’re now ready to start packing for university. You’re probably having to make painful decisions about what to take with you and what to leave behind, especially if you’re travelling to Leeds from outside the UK. After all, there is only so much you can fit in your 20L portable storage unit (aka suitcase).

To make this process a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of 10 critical items you will need with you to make the most out of your university life.

The first couple of weeks are always filled with a mix of anxiety and excitement. You have to find the right balance between social events and admin tasks such as getting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you’re an international student; and posing for a “lovely” student ID picture. Three things you will need during that period are:

1. A binder with all your important documents — almost every step of the registration process will require you to have some key documents on you, such as your acceptance letter, passport, and other documents. You can find a list of those documents on here if you’re a home student, and here, if you’re an international student.

2. A self-isolation pack — if you’re arriving from abroad, you will most likely have to isolate for a few days. Make sure to fill out this form so we can send you a self-isolation pack with all the necessities required in that period. You can also find extensive information on what to expect on your arrival via this link, as well as what you need to do during the registration period on here.

3. A raincoat — why not an umbrella you may ask? The answer is simple — when it’s raining *and* it’s windy, umbrellas tend to break, raincoats on the other hand…

4. Your student ID card — so you’ve finally obtained your student ID? Hooray! Now make sure you keep it safe in your wallet because you’ll need it to access libraries, student services, and discounts).

5. The University of Leeds app — the University’s official app has tons of useful info such as your timetable, class locations, announcements, and even a campus map!

6. Notepads — during induction week you’ll attend a few introductory talks in which you might want to note down useful information for later reference. You can get notepads from shops like Wilko in the city centre, or even fancy ones with the University’s crest from the student union.

7. USB stick — you may think that now that everything is on the cloud, USBs have become obsolete, think again! During your first couple of weeks in the UK you may not have internet on the go (until you get a sim card or connect to the University’s Wi-Fi). To avoid having issues presenting or printing your key documents away from your accommodation, you can keep them on a USB and access them easily via any on-campus computer.

8. International travel adaptor — when you get to your accommodation, you will find that in the UK, 3-pin sockets are used, meaning that some of your electronics’ power cables (if you’re coming from abroad) may not be compatible with the sockets. An easy work around is to have a travel adaptor. You can use this to plug electronics from any country! However, make sure to double check the voltage of your device before plugging it in to avoid damaging it (in the UK, sockets usually provide electricity at 230V). As a word of caution, avoid plugging more than one electronic device at a time as this would be considered a fire hazard!

9. Removable hanging strips — in order to make your room more homely or practical, you may want to hang things such as coat hangers or decoration. To be able to do so without damaging the walls, consider buying removable strips during your next trip to the city centre.

10. Portable charger — among the many differences you will find between school and University, one of them is that phones are usually allowed during lectures (though they must be kept on silent). This means that you can take pictures of key slides or diagrams presented in class. While several rooms have charging ports built into the seating area, you may find yourself in onethat does not have any power sources, in which case a portable charger can come in very handy!

11. A mini fan — while the UK tends to be associated with cold and rainy weather, you’ll definitely understand the need for this item when the summer comes! Naturally, houses in the UK are fitted with heaters to keep us warm during the winter. However, when it is summertime, you’ll find yourself reaching out for the AC remote, only to realise that there isn’t one! For this reason, you’ll find that a mini fan that you can simply plug into your laptop while working can make a big difference, all while taking up very little space.

12. A big calendar — yes, you heard that right. One large A2 sized calendar with the entirety of the academic year on it. What should you use it for? Coursework deadlines, term start and end dates, university fees or accommodation payment dates, and much more! Where can you get one from? The Skills@Library team! You can either attend their time management workshop or email someone from the team to ask where you can collect a large calendar from.

As a student, if you ever feel like you are struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out, whether that is to your personal tutor, your professors, or your school. Be assured that they will be glad to provide support. Below are some useful webpages to visit for information.

To stay updated regarding any changes during these times at the University of Leeds Coronavirus website.

If you have any issues/concerns regarding online learning, you can find support here.

This is the link to contact your respective schools via email.

Find out about Skills@Library and other services provided by the library here, and finally, what services you can access on-campus here.

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