1) Skype – Because more likely than not, the friends you make during freshers’ week just aren’t going to be as close (yet) as the ones you have back at home. Or if you don’t have any (available) friends at home, Skype your mum. She’ll appreciate it.
2) A photo of you from school – So that you can smile wryly from time to time upon that image of your naïve, idealistic and happy pre-university self despite the fact that the photo was only taken four months ago and you still look exactly the same.
3) A poster of Che Guevara – Mandatory even if you don’t actually have any real idea of who he is.
4) A TV boxset such as The Sopranos – Because watching a middle-aged Italian-American Mafiosi manic-depressant destroy the lives of all those around him will almost always be more entertaining than whatever claustrophobic, gimmicky event they’ll have going on at the Union.
5) Dangerously hot chilli – From personal experience, nothing will bring flatmates closer together than suffering as a group through an ill-advised dare.
6) Earplugs – Because there’s always one self-aggrandising, pseudo-intellectual type who does his best “philosophising” loudly at 4am whilst drunk every morning outside your window or in the hallway. Gems picked up last year whilst trying to sleep include: “Every hero needs a villain, and as a man in the 21st century I feel like I can understand that more than most,” and “But on some fundamental level, isn’t racist humour in reality a socially positive thing?”
7) A map of St Andrews – People will keep going on and on about how the town has only “three streets”, but it took me nine months to discover that there’s a park and a river.
8) A pillow to scream into / punch / tear apart / set on fire every time you get an email from family friends or former teachers who ask you if you’ve “found your prince(ss) yet.” That remark has probably made you want to hurt yourself ever since people first found out you got accepted to St Andrews and unsurprisingly it doesn’t get any funnier once you start here. And for the record: KATE MIDDLETON WAS NOT A PRINCESS.
9) An Oxbridge hoodie – Because nothing tells people that you’re comfortable with your rejection better than “ironically” investing in some of their merchandise (and then weeping into the emblem when no one is around).
10) A copy of The Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital – Because university is the only time that you can legitimately get away with going through a communist phase. Doesn’t apply for fascism.
11) £200 – To buy a St Andrews red gown. Which you’ll never wear. Not even when it’s cold. Not even when you’re alone in your room.
12) A basic grasp of international geography – Because the St Andrews student body is famously diverse. Also you really don’t want to attempt to impress Norwegians by asking them how Stockholm is.
13) If you’re English – A tolerance to Americans relentlessly calling your accent “cute” or comparing you to “a young Simon Cowell.”
14) A musical instrument – Because it’s a great way of establishing common ground with other musicians or impressing non-musicians and it can make your room seem cooler. Unless it’s a bassoon. Leave that at home.