Top 10 agricultural college essentials

In the next few weeks thousands of fresh-faced undergraduates will be packing up their worldly belongings and heading to their chosen college or university. Here’s our pick of what to pack

Student essentials
Gaffer tape
Student accommodation is notoriously budget so make sure you pack some gaffer tape. It can extend the shelf life of almost any household item, from a wobbly table to a broken loo roll holder. We are absolutely not condoning its use in sticking the entire contents of your housemate’s room to the ceiling. Absolutely not at all.
Most universities and colleges are fully clued up on the safe sex agenda and give away free condoms and advice at freshers fairs and student unions. That said, there’s no harm in bringing your own. Also useful in the summer term should there be a balloon shortage during a water fight.
Cold and flu kit
Freshers’ flu is a well-known phenomenon in the first few weeks of term. Add that to the fact that a lot of ag students will be out on some very chilly farm visits during the winter and it makes sense to come prepared. “Take paracetamol and cough medicine for the inevitable freshers’ flu,” suggested Ann Hardie on our Facebook page. Prevention is better than cure so if you believe in the hype, throw in some vitamin C and echinacea too.
If you’re living in halls, throwing open your door is welcoming and a simple way of making new friends. And that requires a doorstop. “If you’re living on campus it’s the best way to get to know the people you’ll be borrowing money, beer and food from for the next year,” suggested Michael O’Hea on Facebook.
Useful book
No list of student essentials would be complete without at least one book, and Farmers Weekly‘s machinery reporter Oliver Mark recommends the Farm Management Pocketbook by John Nix as a great all-rounder.
“It has a costing for everything you could possibly do in the countryside – how much money you could make from a wind turbine, cow, tractor, ostrich, angora goat, how to calculate machinery costs, the price of land, taxes, chemical costs and the rate of inflation,” he said.
A pen
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students turn up on their first day of term with a car packed to the rafters, but come their first lecture – no pen. Ruth Wells is HE programme leader in agriculture at Bishop Burton College. “From a lecturer’s perspective a pen is really useful!” she says. “Every year we have a few degree students, maybe five from a cohort of 30, who turn up without a pen on their first day.”
Old clothes
Yes you want to look slick when you turn up on the first day of term, but student initiations and freshers’ challenges can be notoriously messy. Don’t destroy your best outfits in the first week of term – pack some old clothes you don’t mind destroying. Oh, and they’ll come in handy for farm visits too. 

Farmers Weekly subscription
Every well-rounded student needs to do some extra-curricular reading, and a regular dose of Farmers Weekly is guaranteed to give some added depth to your essays, reports and presentations. Plus, to help your student loan go a bit further, those in full-time education save 50% on the normal price of £128.
Go to our online subscription page or call 0844 412 2294 and quote code 2803.
Fancy dress
If you’re familiar with our College Calendar feature you’ll know that ag students like fancy dress even more than most. There won’t be a term that goes by without the need for an animal/Oompa-Loompa/pirate/vicar/farmer/cowboy/superhero outfit. Be a conscientious student and go prepared – it’ll avoid the last-minute dash to the overpriced fancy dress shop too.
Like most students we spoke to, Adam Horsfield from Harper Adams couldn’t live without his wellies, “for wearing on farm visits, supermarket trips, lectures, nights out, as lounge wear…” Suffice it to say they’re a wardrobe essential and it’s well worth investing in a good pair. In fact, when you look at it like that, maybe make it two pairs.

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To find out more about studying at an ag college, see our student special page.

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