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It’s an exciting time for first time students. This may well possibly be the first time you’ve had to live away from family. Hopefully, this blog will give you some tips and advice to put your mind at ease.

First off, the obvious

There are a few essential items that you’ve probably already got but it's definitely worth double checking:

  • Bedding – linen, pillows, duvet
  • Kitchen equipment – plates, bowls, cups, mugs, cutlery, pots, pans, and food containers.
  • Toiletries – be sure not to forget a few extra towels to use as hand towels. Extra toilet paper is vital. If you live with housemates, it helps to coordinate toilet paper when doing a grocery run.
  • Study materials – make sure to be ready for when your studies start. A laptop or tablet is useful, but a regular notepad and pen comes in handy for lectures. Bring a box of pins and blu tac for notice boards.
  • Chargers – very important, don’t forget! Extension cables are also allowed, just make sure they are surge protected.

For a full list of recommended items and things you don’t need to bring, you can download the residents guide for 2023-2024 from our website

Maximising your comfort

This section is mostly items I wish I’d had from day one. None of this is essential, but it’ll make your day-to-day living more enjoyable:

  • Cushions – some of the chairs in common spaces can be a little hard if you’re sitting down for a meal or an evening games night. Bring a few comfy pillows to improve the experience.
  • Beanbag chair – in a similar vein, extra chairs can’t hurt if you’ve invited friends over. Beanbag chairs or inflatable chairs are a cheap way to kick your feet up after a long day of lectures.
  • Seasonal clothing – while Chester is a lovely area, it is prone to experiencing typical British weather. It’s a good idea to have plenty of jackets, jumpers, leggings etc for the winter. You shouldn’t have to walk far to get to lectures, but you don’t want to start the day off completely soaked, so a good waterproof coat is advised.
  • Decorations – it's nice to bring that personal touch to your room. Pack some items to remind you of home. Every room has a pin board, so bring some photos or a banner to go around the outside. Small desk ornaments and plushies are always welcome as well.


If you’re staying in halls, one tip for the start of the year would be to make yourself known to the people on your floor. Let people know you’re available to chat to, and maybe set up a group chat for your floor so you can organise meet-ups.

Some of our campus accommodation allows you to share your common spaces with a few housemates. This can provide you with a nice group of people to chat to and go out with at the start of the year. You’ve already got one thing in common, you’re all starting at a new university. Lots of people like to do a bit of cooking, but it can get a bit tiresome doing all your meals yourself. Consider getting together and each planning a meal you can cook for the house. This will cut down on grocery expenses and allows you to share some interesting recipes.

You can also go along to the Welcome Week events together, explore the cafes and restaurants, and check out the night life. Consider bringing a pack of cards or some board games - these always make for easy bonding experiences.

While the shared common areas do get cleaned once a week, you’ll make a good impression if you clean up after yourself. Much like with toilet paper and food, it helps to get together and discuss what you all need, that way you don’t end up with six bottles of fairy liquid.


At the end of the day, you’re all in the same boat. This is a fresh, new experience for many students, and it helps to have a nice group to come back to.

If you're starting university soon and would like the opportunity to chat to one of our students beforehand and get all of your questions answered, then chat online today. Our students are available online 24/7 and they're always happy to help!


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