The only 18 things you truly need to bring to college for freshman year
To all 2016 high school graduates, congratulations! And also, your upcoming fear is real. If you decide to head off to college, this summer is totally filled with a strange mix of both excitement and worry. It’s totally normal — after all, you’re about to have a little more control over your free time, your own activities, and of course, your education. It’s pretty thrilling.
One thing that might lead to additional worry is the fact that your parents have been talking about your journey ahead nonstop. Every time your Mom goes to Target, she manages to buy a bunch of weird stuff from the $1 bin because hey, you never know when you’ll need a flimsy Hello Kitty notepad. It’s nice, but…this stuff is starting to pile up, and with a ton of weird supplies comes a ton of insecurity about whether or not you’re doing this college prep thing right.
Have no fear. Here are the 18 things you’ll actually need to bring to college for your first semester. (And hey, feel free to share this with your Mom, too.)
1. A decent pillow or twelve
Dorm beds aren’t the most comfortable things in the world, so you’ll want to bring pillows that’ll help you get the best sleep you possibly can. If you have any special and meaningful blankets or stuffed animals, feel free to bring those too. (Maybe choose one stuffed animal that helps you feel better. The whole gang will take up a lot of space and space is one thing you will very likely not have a lot of.)
2. A mini fridge
You’ll want to chat with your roommate to see who’ll be bringing what — having two mini fridges might take up some room, and will be somewhat of an electrical nightmare. That said, it’s important to have a solid destination for your cold soda needs.
3. Two sets of bedsheets
Yes, two. Bed sheets get a little gross, especially if your room is only cooled by a few oscillating fans. While school will start in August or early September, you’ll still have a bunch of hot days. And, if you’re living in close quarters with another person, it just feels so much better to always have a fresh set. (And not have to wait around in the laundry room to ensure you have clean sheets that night.)
4. A fan
Again, it’ll get hot and stuffy in there. Also, if you have trouble sleeping, a fan can often give you a little bit of noise to fall asleep to.
5. Multiple phone chargers
Your phone is your lifeline. And you’re going to lose a charger or two. It happens.
6. Plenty of room decor
You’ll be hanging out in there, so it makes sense to personalize your space a bit. Just remember to bring some putty (not nails) and hang up your art respectfully. Photos of old friends and movie posters are nice, and are typically the “college standard,” but you should also peruse around Etsy a bit to find some original pieces that’ll help really define you.
7. Clothes you actually feel great in.
Wear clothes you feel completely confident in. Don’t just fall into college fads — wear stuff you can look great in and feel comfortable in while walking to class, and hanging in the quad. Also, don’t forget to buy some extreme weather clothes (such as a thick, warm coat) and workout gear. A bathing suit is also great, if your campus has a pool. Plenty of hangers will also be good, so you can properly store this stuff.
8. A few five-subject notebooks.
Even if you plan on taking most of your notes via laptop, it’s always great to have paper around. Obviously you’ll also want to buy a set of pens, since you’re not just making airplanes with it.
9. Standard, reliable electronics
Bringing a giant TV might feel cool, but it’ll likely dominate your entire room. Also, lugging it in and out might be a bit of a pain. Chat with your roommate, and see who’ll bring something reliable that you can watch all of your favorite shows on. Of course, you’ll also need a laptop — laptops work better than desktops, since you can take them everywhere, and don’t need to worry about setting up big towers.
(Also, don’t forget about stuff like a desk lamp and a hair dryer — also known as the less-impressive, yet still important electronics.)
10. Laundry supplies, and a hamper that doesn’t fall apart.
If you’re new to laundry, you might want to pick up some tips before you head to campus. (Here’s one: Don’t use bleach on colors. In fact, maybe don’t use bleach at all.) Some detergent and dryer sheets will keep you set for awhile. Also, a hamper that isn’t too flimsy (unless you want your clothes spilling all over the hallway) and a ton of quarters. A bunch of places have coin-operated machines, and only after a month of college will you realize how valuable the quarter truly is.
11. Shower caddy.
If your dorm room isn’t attached to a personal bathroom, you might have to share the space with others. It sounds creepy, but it’ll be second nature soon enough. Make sure you have a caddy to carry your most precious supplies. For the record, buying a ton of travel shampoos and conditioners is a big waste of time. You’re living there, not vacationing there.
12. Two pairs of flip flops.
These are also for the shower. Again, if you share a full bathroom with a few suitemates, these may not be necessary if you’re adamant on giving it a full scrubdown once or twice a week. But if you have to walk down the hall to shower, you’ll want some flops to protect you from bacteria that might lurk inside the stalls. Why two pairs? One will get grungy mid-semester.
13. A warm, cozy robe.
Make sure it covers your butt, and make sure it keeps you warm. Not only is this great to cover up after a shower, but it’s comforting to hang out in when your roommate heads home for the weekend, and you want to peacefully watch Netflix by yourself.
14. A message board
Since hey — when people leave messages on your door, you feel loved.
15. A set of plastic cups and utensils
Even if your dorm has an amazing cooking area, you’re seriously not going to use it much. You’ll plan on using it, but stick to basic snacks and pizza instead. You don’t have to wash plastic cups and utensils, so they’re a good choice to have on hand for food emergencies.
16. A quality backpack
We all know that college textbooks can be ridiculously expensive, but they can also be heavy. Having a backpack that you can trust is an absolute must.
17. A mini flashlight
Having a small, powerful flashlight that you can stash in your purse will be a lifesaver. It can be used for navigating outside, or trying to find a lost cell phone that slipped under the bed. It’s just always good to have on hand, especially if it’s not bulky or heavy.
Stock up on towels — bath towels, paper towels, and junk towels in case you get the sudden urge to dye your hair mid-semester. You can never have too many towels.