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[highlighted]Get packing![/highlighted]

Getting ready for university is renowned for its complexity. Do you bring Jimmy the teddy bear, who you’ve had since you were born? Do you bring more than two pairs of underwear? Do you need to bring a hoover, feather duster and some Cillit Bang? We’re going to try and answer these queries, but everyone is slightly different and you’ll soon work out what you do and don’t need during your first term here (please note, that more than two pairs of underwear are definitely required).

You’ll get quite good at packing and rapid repacking due to the fact that you have to empty your room for every vacation (unless there are certain circumstances when you need to stay in Oxford). Sturdy boxes and long-life bags are a good idea, but be wary of anything that is likely to take up lots of room when you have to store it in Oxford!

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Bed Linen & Towels

You’ll need two single duvet covers, two single fitted sheets and four pillowcases. It’s probably best to have two hand towels and two bath/shower towels. Some people choose to bring their own duvet, pillows and/or mattress protector/topper.

You might also want to bring a sleeping bag or air mattress if you plan on having people to stay.

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Clothes & Hangers

Some of you may already know that your wardrobe will just be a pile of dirty and clean clothes within two days of getting here, but for now at least, you all probably intend to lovingly hang your shirts and other creasables. Hangers are sometimes left over in your room from the last occupant, but don’t count on it, bring some to be safe!

ESSENTIAL: At the end of first week you will matriculate which requires wearing subfusc. For guys this is a dark suit, white shirt, dark socks and black shoes. For ladies a white shirt/blouse, a dark skirt and black tights or dark trousers and dark socks with black shoes. You can buy your gown, white bowtie/black ribbon and mortar board here.

Formal hall is a great feature of Oriel as we have it every night (except Saturday), so for a modest sum, you get a three course meal in hall. Dress code at Formal is smart(ish) plus gown, and you’ll also want to bring black tie for your Freshers’ dinner (at least)! You’ll probably find you want a few different formal outfits for the various events and dinners you might attend during termtime.

A dressing gown can also be useful for walking to and from the lodge when you lock yourself out of your room when showering; we’ve all been there!

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Toiletries and Cleaning Products

It’s a good idea to come prepared with all your toiletries (not just because your parents may pay for the ones you buy at home) but of course you can get everything you need here if you forget anything.

Washing powder and fabric softener are useful; some people prefer washing tablets as they’re slightly more compact for storage. You don’t need any cleaning products for your room, as your scout will do all the cleaning required, although some surface wipes or kitchen roll are very useful for the inevitable drink spilling.

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Computer Stuff

It is definitely recommended that you bring a laptop with you, and although the college wifi is always improving, an ethernet cable is probably a good idea if you want to be sure you can always get internet. The JCR has two printers at its disposal (one in the library passage, and one in SC35), which are bod-card operated and charge a small amount per printjob, but some people also like to bring their own printer, so that they don’t have to rely on the JCR facilities.

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Cooking

Student cooking is an interesting experience. You’re allowed a toaster and kettle in your room, so these are a good purchase. Some people are adventurous with their cooking, using the kitchens and therefore require pots/pans etc. – one of a frying pan or saucepan are particularly helpful. Others just use microwave meals (many staircases not near a kitchen have a microwave). We recommend bringing a plate (or two) and some cutlery. Also important, for making friends as much as anything else is having mugs and glasses. Although plastic cups are pretty useful if your having a bit of a social gathering and want to eliminate the risk of smashing anything!

Communal fridges are available in the kitchens, but a mini-fridge is great to have in your room to keep milk/butter/sandwich fillings/fruit/drinks/chocolate and for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks. Some people have the very tiny, desktop fridges (which can be a bit noisier), while others choose to have larger ones (which can also be loud, so choose carefully!). There is a small, yearly charge (£7) for having a fridge in your room. You must take it home with you during the summer vacation, but can leave it in your room the rest of the year. Some people choose to purchase a fridge in Oxford and have it delivered to college.

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Transport

It is not generally recommended to bring a car to Oriel – you won’t need it, and there is very limited parking anywhere in the city!

Bikes are a traditional way of getting around in Oxford and many students bring their bike to university with them or purchase a bike here when they arrive. There are many second-hand bike shops and college sell those bikes that have been left unattended for the summer vacation at the start of Michaelmas.

There are bike racks all over college, and you can leave your bike here all year, only taking it home in summer. You’ll also need a helmet (Oxford traffic can be a bit crazy sometimes), a good lock (bike theft is very common), bicycle pump and puncture repair kit. Make sure your bike has working front and back lights, as the police do check, and may stop and fine you if you don’t have these. Bikes aren’t essential – especially in the 1st and 2nd years, when you’ll probably live in college – and many people just walk. If you are someone whose subject requires you to attend a lot of lectures which are not at exam schools (scientists mainly), or if you plan on doing a lot of sport, then it will be more beneficial for you to have a bike. Be aware that Cornmarket Street and Queen Street, two of the large central streets in Oxford, are pedestrianised and being caught cycling there could cost you £30.

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Room decoration

Blu-Tack is the stuff of Satan at Oriel, and you’re not allowed to use it to affix stuff to your walls, unless you’re in a room of a lower grade which already has “measles” (remnants of Blu-Tack on on the walls from previous inhabitants). However, all rooms have a pin-board for posters, photos and the like. It’s a great idea to bring these to make your room your own. You’ll be gradually amazed as the photos change to encompass your new Oxford life, as well as help to reminisce about times at home! Blankets and pillows can also help make your room much more ‘homey’ – if you have room for them in the car!

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Documents & Passport Photos

Remember EVERYTHING. But in all honesty, it’s a good idea to have your driving license, NI card etc. with you. Your bank account details, student finance letters and other information are important. Similarly any college documents, such as your acceptance letter or anything you receive in your Freshers’ Pack should be brought with you.

In addition, we advise you get some passport photos and bring them with you. They’re useful if you want to join the Union and other societies in Oxford.

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And the extras…

You probably want to bring some basic medication with you. Paracetamol, plasters, indigestion tablets, Berocca (or equivalent hangover cure) are all useful for makeshift first-aid – but all these can be borrowed from an organised neighbour should the need arise. A check with the GP that your vaccinations are up to date is a good idea, as is a trip to the dentist.

An alarm clock is a must (although a phone will do). As is swimming gear (swim tests for rowing). Most people have speakers of some kind, and extension cables are a good idea too.

The college has personal items insurance with Endsleigh, to a certain limit (with individual exceptions). You may want to get cover for your mobile phone and laptop for when it is outside of your room.

 

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[box type=”info”]This is in no way an exhaustive list. You want to feel at home while you’re here, so bring as much or as little as you want. Similarly, Oxford isn’t Mars! You can get almost anything from the shops on the High Street and Amazon is just one click away.[/box]

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