College is a new experience for all incoming students. Freshmen have to adapt to many things, including living in a closet-sized space. When in this situation, over- and under-packing are extremely common. Whichever you choose to do, everyone will need a few key things that are left off the typical dorm room checklist. These are all packing recommendations that have proven to be lifesavers in my own experience. In no way is it a complete list, but it’s a good place to start to have a successful college experience.
Staplers are extremely underrated. In the first week of college, you will receive a million pamphlets from every club on campus. Being able to organize yourself is key. While duct tape can fix many things, it won’t help when you need to turn in an essay and the library is all out of staples. I keep a mini stapler in my backpack and it has saved me stress and helped me secure A’s.
2. Pencil sharpener
While pens are the perfect option to make notes look pretty, they are awful for tests. I know we live in a world of mechanical pencils, but wooden pencils are often given away for free at many events in campus. A pencil sharpener can help with everything from homework to adult coloring books.
No matter where you go to school, it will rain—it’s that simple. Once you get caught in the rain, you will never let it happen again. But if you buy a mini umbrella and keep it in your purse or backpack, you won’t be caught unprepared in the first place. Don’t let the time you spent on your hair or interview outfit go to waste: buy an umbrella.
4. Water bottle
With cafeteria food comes the option of having dessert with every meal. While indulging in sweets, don’t forget to hydrate. Additionally, coffee actually dehydrates your body; a good rule of thumb is to drink eight ounces of water for every 16 ounces of coffee. Plus, water helps keep you awake. If you drink water during a long lecture, it will help you stay hydrated and pay attention.
5. Professional shoes
Most campuses will host different networking events throughout the year. It’s a smart idea to dress up when meeting people who can help you find a job or an internship down the line. While borrowing clothes from your roommate may work in a pinch, borrowing shoes is a different matter. Stumbling around in unfamiliar heels is just as bad as wearing beat-up sneakers to a professional event. Brining a black or nude pair of shoes will help you avoid blisters, falls, and bad first impressions.
As previously stated, you will want to dress up a little at one point or another in college. It could be for a workshop or going out for coffee with the cute person in your Biology lab. Either way, wrinkled clothes will not impress. A mini steamer or iron will let you get rid of wrinkles without a having to pack a bulky ironing board.
I’m going to live in a dorm this upcoming year with hard, cold floors. I don’t want to be walking around on these cold floors in the winter. A soft plush rug will give your feet a much-needed break after a full day of walking. Even if you have carpet in your dorm, you will want a clean part of the floor that you can relax on.
8. Deck of cards
This is the most forgotten yet useful thing ever. With a deck of cards, you can play hundreds of different games with your roommates or even your entire floor. Breaking out your cards is an easy way to bond and make friends in your first days at college. The best part is that a deck of cards is small, lightweight, and fits in your backpack. Once you throw a set into your bag, you won’t even notice it again until you need to play.
9. USB flash drive
In the wireless world, a USB is often forgotten. It can be difficult to transfer large files in email format. When that’s an issue, a flash drive can be used to share a project, notes, or any other documents. Plus, if you’re really struggling in a class, some professors will let you put their notes on a USB drive to study later.
10. Garbage can
The first time I stayed in a college dorm, I was shocked to find there was no garbage can in the room. Many colleges don’t provide garbage cans for fear that they will be stolen or because they have a trash shoot and students are responsible for their own garbage. A garbage bin can be a fun pop of color in your room, plus it’s functional. Even if your college provides garbage bins, you can use the can for recycling or storage.
While packing for college can be a pain, it is also exciting! This is the official start of the college experience—finding all of the colorful and random tools will help make college easy and breezy! But don’t stress. Even if you forget your toothbrush, you can always buy another.