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I used to think it would be fun to start a secret literary society here – the bookshop faces the main road but at the back, on this little street, there’s a university building hidden away in a terrace. The street looks like a row of houses with bay windows and balconies, but they’re actually seminar rooms and research facilities. These unassuming places are my favourites on campus :––)

guide to the first week of college

hey guys! i’ll be starting my sophomore year of college in just over a week (!!), and while i’m not new to the whole college thing, i will be new to my school this year as a transfer student, so i wanted to share these tips for y’all !

  • figure out where all your classes are beforehand - there’s nothing worse than being late on the first day, especially if you have small classes. don’t start off on the wrong foot! hopefully you’ll have some sort of orientation/tour that shows you the basics, but if you’re living on campus, you’ll likely be at school before the first day of classes - use this extra time to get familiar with campus and find out where all your classrooms are (not just the buildings, find the actual class if possible - some buildings are ridiculously complicated as far as room numbers go, trust me!). if you’re commuting to school, try to come an hour or so early to do this as much as you can (and you can also use time between classes to figure out where you’re headed!)
  • become friendly with the people around you - whether this be your roommate, the people sitting next to you in class, or the other people on your floor, it’s always nice to be on good terms with as many people as possible. make friends early - even if they don’t stick (and a lot of early friendships don’t), it’s nice to know a lot of people! get to know people in your classes, even though it’s harder to do this than it might’ve been in high school since often you just have the one class together. you never know when you’ll have to miss a class, and having someone to get notes from is such a relief (also study buddies !! super important !!)
  • wait until you’ve gone to class to buy textbooks - a lot of teachers will tell you that you don’t really need it, or that an older edition works just fine. whatever the case, it usually doesn’t hurt to wait to buy textbooks until you’re at school (plus, if you’re like me you may end up dropping the class you already bought 7 books for)
  • try out different study spots - there are so many places on a college campus to study: your dorm room, dorm lounges, library, student union, coffee shops, random class buildings, the quad - try them out and see what works best for you! a change of scenery can go a long way toward helping your productivity!
  • call your fam - they probably already miss you and with so much new stuff going on you’re bound to have lots to say - don’t get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of a new year!
  • get comfy with your dorm room - this is your new home for the year, make it work for you! it should be your happy place. figure out good storage systems. & try to have a good relationship w ur roomie(s)! 
  • keep ahead on homework - it’s easy to put it off when it still feels like summer, but come next week you’ll likely be drowning in work and lack of free time - do as much as you can as soon as you can, future you will thank you!
  • look into a job on campus - see how your class schedule plays out, and see if working on campus is a good idea for you. there are so many options and there are usually still a lot of openings by the first week, so take advantage of it now before all the positions fill up for the semester! (also from personal experience working in a dining hall is decidedly Not Fun, would not recommend), however
  • be kind to the maintenance workers and kitchen staff - as well as other workers on campus. usually they go unnoticed, but they’re (from my experience) so so kind when you take the time to say hi and ask them how they are. the kitchen staff i worked with in the dhall were some of the sweetest people i met on campus last year
  • keep your door open and hang out in your floor lounge - (if you have one) first week is prime time to meet new people, since everyone goes into it brand new. keep your door open and have convos with people who walk by (maybe have some treats and invite them in to share - everyone loves free food !). so many of my friends were made by “studying” (i use the term loosely haha) in the lounge
  • go to events - they’re probably free and often give out free food/goodies/t-shirts, plus they’re a good way to meet people and see what sorts of things you can get involved with on campus! esp if you have an involvement fair with clubs presenting, go and try to go to the first meeting of any club that sounds interesting to u! there’s no commitment to keep coming back if it isn’t for you, and you never know what amazing groups of people you could meet! i’d recommend only going to two or three clubs regularly though, any more than that can be a bit much (and try to balance fun with academic! - my last school even had a stationery club)

if you have any questions about college/that first week, please feel free to ask me! (also tag me in ur dorm room pics bc i love that stuff!) good luck w uni, frends!

ok losers it’s your girl polcry here to run you through the basics of what the darn heck to bring with you to university to cover your naked body 

B A S I C S 

If you’re edgy and ~minimalist~ these’ll probably comprise the majority of your wardrobe. Regardless, you’re going to want to bring at least a few each of these.

LEGGINGS: at least one black pair, possibly more if you’ve accepted the inevitability of not giving a shit how you look at for 9ams. You can also get funky and bring patterned ones if you so desire, you maverick.

JEANS: I prefer jeggings for the comfort feel and ability to do spontaneous high kicks, but if you’re a fashionista boyfriend or bootcut jeans are cool too. Trust me, the freshman fifteen is real and if you have to choose between a lil’ too big and a lil’ too small, go big. Belts exist for a reason.

T-SHIRTS: you can get a wide array of fits of tees, so bring a few of your favourite style in simple colours like white/black/grey/striped. I find slightly wearing a slightly oversized tee gives off a certain effortless vibe, especially if you tuck the front in to the waistband of jeans to give it an IDGAF drape and pair with cute AF shoes. Hella cute with no effort. 

SWEATSHIRTS/JUMPERS/SWEATERS: I live in jumpers. I’m not going to lie. Go oversized with leggings or skinny jeans, maybe add a layer underneath if it’s a lil’ chilly. If you live somewhere that feels like the depths of Antartica, you might want to go with a finer knit and layer under and above. The struggle of getting a thick coat over a chunky jumper is real, guys. Turtlenecks, crew necks, V-necks. They’re all good. Avoid collecting too many sweatshirts with your university’s name on it, though - you will look over-enthusiastic. 

SHOES: one word: COMFORT. Campuses are big places. Chances are, you’ll be walking a fair bit. I love trainers - I have a pair of black Nikes, a pair of white Reeboks and a black slip-on pair. Converse, Adidas, New Balance are all popular. They crop up on the feet of almost everyone. Look down, and I guarantee the vast majority of any university class are wearing trainers. 

If you’re like me and enjoy torturing yourself, you can also wear heeled boots. I find them weirdly comfortable, probably due to my excessively hyperextended knees. Pointy ankle boots always look chic, but frankly people will be so surprised that you’ve made an effort that any type will impress. Zara’s always a good choice for cute boots. 

I’d avoid opened-toed or flats that expose a lot of your foot during autumn/winter/spring. It’ll probably rain, and then you’ll be cold and miserable and have soggy feet. Wellies (or rainboots for you strange Yanks) are a good choice if you’ll be in a wet climate (hello England), but they can be a bit cumbersome. Try and get some lower-cut ones to reduce the weight and to stop you from stomping excessively. 

COATS: this is pretty personal. Again, if it’s wet, I’d recommend something at least water-resistant. I have a North Face windbreaker that I keep in my car in case it starts tipping it down, but it’s not particularly warm. Leather/suede jackets look cute but are not a good choice if it looks like it might rain. Other than that, anything goes. I have a cute beige pea coat from ASOS that I love, and a shearling jacket from Bershka which is far too cool for a dork like me.

L O U N G E W E A R 

PJs: buy yourself some new ones. Please. Your flatmates don’t want to see your lady parts through that ever-expanding hole in the crotch. Some university flats feel like the pits of hell, so it might be a good idea to bring a few pair of short PJs too. You can always swap them out for joggers or leggings when you’re not snoozin’. I can always find cute pyjamas in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Primark. 

SWEATPANTS: as comfy as PJs but with the added bonus of being socially acceptable. Whether you prefer a tapered, slim fit or big ‘n’ baggy, make sure they’re stain-free and don’t smell funky. Bring a couple of pairs and rotate through as necessary. 

BRAS: regardless of whether you have the athletic capabilities of a sloth or Michael Phelps, you will want to bring sports bras. Hides the nips with basically no discomfort. Bralettes are cute too, but I’m an advocate of sports bras if you’re just slugging out in front of Netflix and nobody is going to see it. Forever 21 do a massive selection of surprisingly pretty sports bras with all sorts of fancy backs. Not so good for exercising, but really the majority of people don’t wear sports bras to exercise. 

F A N C Y 

PARTYING: this will depend a little on where you attend university. For me, going out outfits are high-waisted jeans, a fancy-ish crop top and flat shoes of some description. Club floors get hella slippery. More casual dresses are fine too, but make sure you gauge what your friends are going to be wearing so you don’t look too overdressed.

EVENTS: bring a nice dress or trousers/shirt. There will be fancier events (sports balls, end of term balls, society balls). They don’t always require black tie, so a cocktail dress is a good choice. Boys, bring a suit jacket. It doesn’t have to be tails or a tux, but bringing a tailored blazer that’ll match or compliment a pair of trousers you own will come in handy. And absolutely NO JEANS. Along the same lines, bring at least one pair of smart shoes/heels. Ladies, flats are more than acceptable for fancy events. Just make sure they’re cute. 

BUSINESSWEAR: “But Isabelle!” I hear you cry, “I’m in college! I don’t need businesswear!” Yes, my friend, yes you do. Interviews happen. You might need a part-time job, or get a spontaneous interview for an internship. Bring an office-appropriate skirt/trousers and a blouse/shirt, and some simple, smart shoes. You don’t have to go full-on Olivia Pope, but make sure you have one suitable outfit in your repertoire. 

Q U I C K   T I P S 

Accessories make an outfit: bring a choice of belts, scarves and miscellaneous wraps or shawls. By throwing on a buckled belt and a cute layered necklace, you can go from meh to a-meh-zing. 

Sign up for student discounts: British students, that means unidays. Register with your university email for discounts ranging from 10-25%. They’ll notify you when retailers that don’t have a permanent discount (like H&M) run promotions as well. Make sure you use your discount for eating out and going to the cinema, too!

Quality > quantity: the capsule wardrobe trend is real, folks. I’m an advocate of having a smaller, but better-made and better-fitting, wardrobe over one that’s overflowing and filled with cheap, low-quality clothing that’ll last a couple of wears. If you’re wearing pieces day-in day-out, make sure they’re flattering and of good quality. Having a smaller wardrobe makes moving in and out easier, too, and you’ll spend less time staring at all your clothes trying to mentally piece together something cute. 

Expensive =/= good quality: along the same lines, just because something is pricy doesn’t automatically make it of good quality. You can get really good basics at affordable shops. Feel the material (and make sure it’s relatively opaque), make sure the stitching is solid, and that it doesn’t have pulls or piling or holes. I like New Look and ASOS for simple pieces. 

Make an effort: it sounds silly, but lecturers and tutors do appreciate it when you don’t turn up looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed. Looking presentable makes them feel like you want to be there, which can make them a) like you more and b) more inclined to want to help you out if you need it. It isn’t that hard to put a pair of jeans and a blouse on instead of throwing a pair of joggers on under the T-shirt with ramen stains on that you slept in the night before, is it?

That’s pretty much it. University is a place to explore your own personal style, and you’ll see a massive variety in how people dress. Express yourself, learn what you like on, and don’t feel under pressure to dress a certain way! Style is definitely a creative outlet, so if you want to - use it and enjoy yourself!!