In just over a week, I’ll be moving back into the residence halls for my final year. For most people living on campus, move-in isn’t until much later on in August, but I’m headed back for one last round of resident assistant training.
After living at school for 3 years, I’d like to think I have a pretty good grasp on what I need to bring, what I can survive without while I’m away at school, and what I absolutely can’t do without. Here’s my list of essentials that I recommend everyone bring when living on campus. Don’t go without them-trust me.
(In no particular order):
Fridge: I can’t imagine ever not having a fridge while away at school. You’ve got to have somewhere to put leftovers from one of the many awesome restaurants downtown! Even if I was just keeping water bottles cold, my fridge has always been pretty much vital to my survival at school.
Bandaids/first aid supplies: I’m not joking about this. At least having bandaids and Neosporin on hand is really important, because you’ll always find a way to get hurt at school. Plus, around here, there isn’t a nurse or parent to go to for immediate help. Step 1 in becoming a grown-up.
Outfit for job or internship interviews: Some people back a small amount of clothes for school. Others haul nearly their entire wardrobe (guilty as charged.) Either way, don’t forget to bring some type of professional outfit for potential jobs or interviews. Don’t miss out on an opportunity because you didn’t have anything to wear; always be prepared for these types of things. Since you’ll be at school, not to mention in the middle of a huge city, there will be a lot of opportunities waiting for you to take advantage of. Don’t let your wardrobe be your boss.
Movies: Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of whatever you can find on t.v.-especially if you don’t have Netflix like me. Bring along some movies that you can watch in case you feel like laying around one night and relaxing or if you’d like to watch with some friends.
Shower shoes: I don’t care who you are, where you live, whatever the case-bring shower shoes. You don’t want to contract anything from other people’s feet germs and you’ll actually feel clean if you come out of the shower in your shoes. Just do it…there are plenty of inexpensive flip flops out there.
A book to read: Textbooks are always really dense and it can be hard to find a way to relax or feel a bit of home. For me, reading a book for leisure while at school makes me feel like I’m at home, since that’s something I’ve always done. It’s great to have something take your mind off of schoolwork and stress.
Chocolate/candy: Not too much, and not to the point that you are getting cavities or giving them to your floormates. It’s nice to have a little stash or backup for those times where you’ve had a rough day or just need a pick me up. It’s also a great thing to share with other people on your floor-instant friends!
Ear plugs: If you don’t have these, you can pick up a pair from the Wellness Center. Living with other young people is unpredictable and can become very lousy. Make sure you have a pair of earplugs on hand so that you are able to get your sleep when you need it.
Brita: It isn’t good for you (or the environment) to only drink water bottles all the time. It also isn’t good to only drink when you’re down at the cafeteria. This is why I think Britas or other water filters that can be kept in a fridge are your best bet. This will help you make sure you’ve getting enough water and have it available at all times.
Travel mug and water bottle: Whether it’s with this water you’re drinking or a cup of coffee, make sure you are staying hydrated all day. Bring some type of travel cup/mug so that you can bring a drink wherever you go, whenever you need to.
Cold medicine: Just like papercuts or scrapes, colds happen. And trust me- it can be really hard to be away from your family and feeling helpless. Bringing whatever cold medicine you are comfortable with is a good idea to stave off some of those awful cold symptoms. You’ll be feeling back to 100% in no time.
Lap desk: I know there are a lot of people who prefer to study or do homework outside of their room, but for those who aren’t bothered, I recommend purchasing a lap desk that can sit on a person’s lap and allow them to do whatever they’d like while sitting wherever they like. I’ve used my lap desk for homework, for eating a meal, and for RA door decorations before, and each time I use it, it proves even more invaluable.
Command strips: Can’t be punching holes in the residence hall rooms. Make sure you have brought many different forms of the command strip so that you can hang anything or fix anything that has fallen. They won’t damage the wall when you take them down, either.
Bathrobe: I think robes are the best thing ever. For me, getting out of the shower and into my robe is a great way to relax. Plus, in terms of living on campus housing, a robe is an extra privacy step around others. These are also perfect for when you’re sick, tired, etc.
Isopropyl alcohol: This goes hand in hand with the command strips, because the directions call for you to wipe down the wall or surface before applying the command hook. This also doubles as part of a first aid “kit” to prevent infections and stop bleeding.
Cleaning supplies: It isn’t always going to look clean in your room or bathroom, especially once it was lived in. Make sure to clean up fairly frequently to prevent germs and infections spreading. This just prepares you for the real world in which you have to clean whatever space you’re living in.
Extension cords: Although there are a lot of outlets around the rooms, I strongly urge bringing a cord or two. This way, you can plug in anything you want around a location in the map. Don’t go without at least one.
Good luck packing up with the end of summer almost here. I hope you remember to bring some of these essentials, because I can guarantee that you will be needing them at some point. Good luck!