Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Independence Day

Independence Day

You did it! Congratulations if you are reading this having collected your results yesterday, and most importantly if you’re coming to UCB soon (high five). I hope you all feel extremely proud of yourselves! Time for the fun stuff to begin.

Yesterday, I spent half the afternoon on The Student Room, reading through the comments on a thread entitled, “what excites you the most about starting uni?“,  and it was evident that gaining independence or moving out to have your own space, stuck out amongst the answers. Hence the name of this post, see what I did there?… (just embarrass myself with these puns).  Last week I wrote about the importance of creating a comfy living space as a student, and today I’m going to talk about essential uni stuff that perhaps hadn’t crossed your mind, but will certainly ensure your survival for the first year of independent living!


  • Diary – For organising all your assignments, appointments and budgeting. It sounds a very grown up thing to have, but it makes uni life so much easier! You can buy these from most stationery stores and supermarkets right now including WHSmith, the Pound shops, Tesco, Asda and my stationary paradise store, Paperchase!
  • Whiteboard / Pinboard –  If a diary isn’t for you, then one of these needs to be on your uni shopping list! I’m very much a scatterbrained person, so I depend on my whiteboard to remind of deadlines, to-do lists, birthdays, and sometimes just a lovely quote to keep motivated.
  • Box file – To keep all crucial documents safe, such as your passport, student finance letters, and the most horrible adult-thing ever – bills!
  • Clothes horse – (Um, a what?) I’ve heard these called many different things such as an airer, clothes dryer and clothes maiden but a clothes horse is what I’m used to calling it. One of the first steps to independent life is learning to wash your clothes. You  can buy these for less than £10, and it helps to keep all your clothes drying tidily. Plus you can hide it under your bed or desk once you’ve finished using!



  • USBs – Or anything that will back up your work! Trust me you will need to invest in a few.
  • Ref Me – The greatest assignment saving app ever invented! Ref Me will be your bestest friend when it comes to referencing assignments.
  • Headphones – Great for blocking out noise in shared accommodation when you need to sleep, concentrate, or avoid the world on the commute to uni!
  • Snack draw – Full of emergency chocolate, biscuits or any yummy treats you love to indulge in.
  • Teddies – Pack a few ready to cuddle with if you feel a bit homesick (it’s normal to feel like this at first).
  • Netflix – Is just fab for student life. You don’t need to bring a television or pay for a TV licence (because nothing says ‘adult’ more than having a tv licence).



  • Tesco clubcard – With a big Tesco within walking distance of UCB, you may find yourself doing a food shop here every so often. Sign up for a clubcard, and scan it every time you are at Tesco. If you drive, certain petrol stations also enable you to use this to collect points. Once your points start adding up, Tesco will then send you vouchers with money off to spend. Yay! I recently received a £2.50 voucher and it was the happiest money-saving post I’d had all week. Beats the bills anyway.
  • 16-25 railcard – Especially if you plan to visit home often, commute, or take trips around the country. I 💜 mine!
  • Medical kit – Put together a small kit brimming with the essentials such as cold medicine, pain relief, rehydration salts, and prescriptive medicine. We live and study in England, during the winter months germs are inevitable, be prepared! You’ll probably want to buy a few plasters for any kitchen disasters too.
  • Tuppawear – Super handy for storing bits n’ bobs, and for freezing cooked meals you might make. Don’t worry if you’re nervous about cooking / food shopping, I have a few posts lined up to help with this side of independent life coming soon.
  • Emergency contacts – Before you leave to come to uni, write a list of contact numbers for the nearest doctors, dentist, hospital, opticians, and walk-in emergency services (stick these on your pin-board). Once you arrive in Birmingham familiarise yourself with where these emergency contacts are located. Hopefully you won’t need to use them often but it’s well worth it, just in case.
  • Insurance – Again, hopefully something you will never have to use. However you will no doubt be moving with/buying expensive gadgets. From an accidental spillage to sticky fingers, insurance is worth investing in. See what is available on NUS Extra.

and finally…

Bags for life – I left this one till last, because it’s probably the one item on this list that makes me feel the most grown up, if that makes sense. Ever since the 5p per plastic bag law was introduced last year, shopping bills have begun to add up. Personally, I don’t mind paying 5p for bags. But if you’re on a tight budget, especially if you’re doing a weekly shop, a few durable bags will get you through the year.

Hope you find this helpful and have a lovely week

D x

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