University Starter Pack – The Paper Edition

It’s that time of year again. Bags are being packed, timetables decided, and courses have been chosen. To help you sift through the chaos, here are 7 essential paper-based tips and tricks to help see you through your first year.

1. Lists

It’s not all about partying, studying, and meeting new people. University means that you are now officially an adult. For many, this means considering things like utility bills, bank accounts and council tax for the first time. The number of things you must remember to do can be overwhelming. A simple and effective way of keeping track of these things is by writing lists. You can have one for shopping, one for chores, and even one for packing up your things.

It is proven that writing things out by hand is better for memory and retaining information. So even if you do forget your list, if you wrote it out by hand you are more likely to remember what is on it than if you had typed it up on your computer. It also means that if your mobile has a low battery, you can stick to your list without being reliant on technology.

TIP: Sticking to what is on a list can help with keeping to a budget as you aren’t picking random things off the shelves and putting them in your basket.

2. Meal Planning

You might be used to living at home with your parents/carers, where what you eat depends on what they have in their fridge. Now, it is up to you to keep track of what you are going to eat, week by week. This is also a good way of making sure you don’t overspend, given the current cost of living crisis, every penny counts. Print out a copy of the Love Paper meal plan, fill it in and stick it to your fridge or bedroom wall so that you are never short of ideas of what to have for dinner.

3. Letter Writing

If you begin to feel homesick whilst you are away, why not contact the people you love in a more personal way? Letter writing is a forgotten hobby which can provide relaxation, a mental health boost and allow you to stay connected with the people who are most important to you.

Research from the Royal Mail, conducted during the pandemic, has provided evidence of the advantages that letter writing has, with nearly three-quarters of people (74%) feeling that writing letters have positive mental health benefits. Those benefits include an increase in well-being, a decrease in stress, and the promotion of mindfulness.

4. Timetables

During your first week, you will be provided with a timetable for your semester by the college or university. This would be a great resource to add to your wall or above your desk as a printout. This way it will be on display, so you will not forget what you have on that day. Having a printed copy will also save you from having to sort through emails and websites to find it.

You can download a weekly planner to print here:

5. Books, Books, And More Books!

You will find yourself needing to do a lot of research in your first year at university. Looking things up online is one thing but going to a library and taking out a book is another. Not only does reading a physical book helps to retain information and get you away from screen time, but it also helps you to spot new connections to other books and develops your literacy skills, making your references and writing better quality and more solid.

6. Note Taking

Depending on personal preference, note-taking in lectures, seminars and group projects can be daunting. If you are coming straight from a-levels or are restarting your education after a break, it is worth reconsidering your note-taking techniques. A study of university students and recent graduates has revealed that writing on physical paper can lead to more brain activity when remembering the information an hour later. Researchers have noted that this is down to the tactile nature of the information that is transferred to paper when handwriting and this leads to better memory.

Research conducted by the University of Tokyo also revealed that participants who used paper to take notes completed the task 25% faster than those who used tablets or smartphones.

7. Printed Resources and Reminders

How much do you rely on technology? Whilst you are at university you might not have access to multiple screens whilst studying or writing an assignment. This is where printouts come in handy. They are easily accessible and can be spread across tables and stuck on walls. If your laptop battery is dead or has technical difficulties, this way is a great backup if you are on a tight deadline.

Printed something you no longer need? Recycle it! Did you know that 74% of paper and 83% of paper-based packaging is recycled into new products? So, if you pop your finished printouts in the recycling bin, you don’t need to worry about waste. You can find the Love Paper studying resources here for you to download and print.

Amongst the packed bags, crockery, and bedding, you can rest easy knowing that a simple pen and paper can help to see you through your studies in your first year of university.