It’s nearing that time of year again – September is coming around fast and soon the 18 year olds will be spreading their wings and leaving for university. It’s an emotional time for both parents and children, and for a lot of these young adults it’s their first taste of being out in the world all on their own and fending for themselves.
It’s natural for a parents to be worried, and to want to help them out wherever they can. That’s how student survival kits were born. They are a chance for parents and guardians to send out care packages to keep their students away from home topped up on homey comforts and all the essentials. But what do students actually want?
So we spent some time chatting with a few students, and found out exactly what they would want to receive in a ‘student care package’ from their parents.
Fresher’s Survival Kits
It won’t really surprise you to know that things like coffee, paracetamol, pro-plus and pot noodles were fairly high up on the list of necessities for every day student life. The hard working student doesn’t have much time to cook during the day, and need all the energy they can to keep up with everything! Another popular favourite was the supermarket gift card – pre-loaded to pay for a week of shopping for them. Corkscrews, tea and replacement crockery (like novelty teacups) were fairly high on the list of requests, with the more traditional gifts like stationary falling flat. ‘Stationary is fairly cheap, and most of the time we use computers now anyway,’ said Katie from Kent uni ‘ so getting a package of pens, paper and notebooks is a bit boring really. We’d want something we could really use.’
A few other fantastic suggestions included eye masks and ear plugs, to help adjust to the irregular sleeping patterns of the new housemates, and lots of cold and flu medicine. Everyone gets freshers flu when they first arrive, and something to ease that is always appreciated! Equally multivitamins to keep it at bay and lots of sachets of tea, coffee and hot chocolate.
There was also a high demand for less traditional items. One of our favourites was a pack of worded fridge magnets. ‘It helps you bond with your housemates in a really easy and less weird way.’ said Phillipa from Winchester ‘You have a drink together and start re-arranging words, it’s so much more relaxed!’ Other suggestions included spices (to help jazz up those two-weeks-until-my-loan-comes-and-all-I-have-is-beans meals), USB sticks, manicure kits, breakfast bars and face paints/fancy dress aids.
Second and Third Year Survival
It was pointed out however, that by the time they get to second year, most students want to receive a student cookbook that tells them how they can cook easily, quickly and cheaply. by then they are sick of living on takeaways and have more money worries, so things like this were hugely appreciated.
Also common on the list of more seasoned students were cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, crockery, pots and pans.’Don’t go overboard’ one student from Surrey said ‘but things like washing tablets and cleaner are expensive and not something we can usually afford – to have some soft, homely smelling clean clothes every now and then is great!’
And of course, on every students list was a bottle of booze to congratulate themselves when the job is done (whichever job it may be!)