The start of the Fall 2016 semester is still more than a month away, but many of you soon-to-be college freshmen are already shopping for your dorm essentials. My first year in a residence hall was a wonderful experience, but there were definitely some things I wished I had packed once I was actually living on campus.
I don’t want you to suffer the same fate, so here’s a list of 10 things to pack that you might not have thought of. Are they all necessities? Not necessarily. But you’ll certainly be glad you have them.
1. Alternative lighting
While fluorescents are great when you’re looking for the contacts you dropped on the floor, some soft, warm lighting will make you feel at home. I bought vintage LED bulbs from Target and put them on old lamps from Goodwill. The lighting is perfect; they don’t get hot, need shades, or shatter easily, and they last forever.
Of course, there are plenty of printers on campus, but owning one will save you a lot of time and stress.
3. Electric candle warmer
You can’t light candles, but you can use a warmer or a Scentsy. They have some masculine-looking warmers and scents too. As an alternative, you can also use a diffuser for essential oils.
With tile floors, a cozy rug will add some color and hominess to your space.
5. Ethernet cord
You never know when your connection will be lost while you’re in the middle of your midterm paper. If you bring a cord, be sure to tell ITS to turn on your dorm’s Ethernet.
6. Bed riser tool kit
Your RA should have some Allen keys and wrenches handy, but they always seem to be with someone else. Having your own will save you and your RA the hassle.
A small humidifier can be a life-saver if you ever find yourself having to study with a stuffy nose.
8. Something to muffle the noise
Between the other students in your hall and the nightly train that rattles by near campus, you’ll want something to muffle those sounds. I had a sound machine that played white noise. Unfortunately, it also picked up radio signals, so I would try to sleep to the muffled sounds of a preacher saying, “The root of all evil is…generosity…” Ear plugs, electric fans, and rain apps will do the trick.
9. Drying rack
Now that you’re an adult and doing your own laundry (unless you’ve always done that--kudos, by the way), you’ll notice on the little tags in your shirts that a lot of things can’t go in the dryer. Maybe you’ve also taken an environmental justice class and you’re trying to save the planet one load of laundry at a time. A small, fold-up drying rack is all you need.
10. Can opener
So you’re sick, you have your humidifier, and you’ve sent your friends out to get you some soup. They come back with a can of chicken noodle--just what you wanted--and then you realize: you don’t have a can opener. So you spend the next hour banging the can on your desk, trying to pry it open with a fork, and throwing it out the window. Don’t let it happen to you.
This list, of course, isn’t exhaustive. We all have that one thing that we wish we had brought. Maybe it’s a lint roller or an iron or your favorite stuffed animal. Maybe it’s a smoothie maker for when you’re rushing to your 8 a.m. class. The important thing is to come prepared and make yourself at home.
By Emily Diehl ('16)