It’s mid-August, and for recent high school graduates going off to college, that means it’s time to start packing. Deciding what to pack for college is undeniably a difficult process–what exactly will you need? How can you be sure that you brought enough of everything? This list doesn’t have everything you need by any means, but here are a few items that current college students have said they wish they’d packed for college.
Safety pins. It’s easy to take your mom’s box of safety pins for granted before you arrive at college. They may seem unnecessary when packing, but sometimes safety pins can be little lifesavers. They may be precisely the thing you need to adjust an outfit, make sure the costume you just threw together doesn’t fall off, or keep your book bag from falling apart during finals week. You can keep them in a small box with other useful items like paper clips and bobby pins so they take up less room.
Earplugs/sleep mask. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for a roommate who doesn’t snore, head to college prepared for the worst. Even if you are a deep sleeper, it’s better to have these at your disposal than to wish later that you’d packed them while tossing and turning at two in the morning or waking up as the sun rises on a Saturday. Dorm halls have an unpredictable mix of students, and some people may not have the same level of respect for others as you do. Earplugs are a safeguard against booming speakers, awkward hallway arguments, disturbing noises through thin walls, and anything else you could (literally) lose sleep over.
Duct tape. People joke about duct tape being a poor man’s tool kit, but duct tape is incredibly useful, versatile, and cheap. You can use it throughout the year to cover up wires, secure loose items, and solve problems you can’t even imagine right now. It can also be incredibly useful while packing up your items at home. On move-in day, everyone unloading and moving in at the same time is extremely hectic. Make the process easier for yourself by keeping like items together in your boxes and bags, and then using duct tape to label them. This will make finding the things you need later so much easier.
First aid kit. All that studying you plan to do is bound to cause a blister or paper cut every now and again. It’s always good to have Band-Aids and other first-aid essentials close at hand, and along these same lines, flu bugs and head colds are also a fact of life in college, especially if you live in a dorm. Double check which brands and dosages of cold and allergy medicines and pain relievers you use at home, and be ready to act fast when that first bout of away-from-home sniffles strikes.
Jacket. Many students try to save space while packing and leave their colder weather clothing at home until Thanksgiving break. This is definitely not a bad idea, but it’s also important to keep in mind that traditional weather patterns and the Weather Channel cannot always be trusted–you never know when it’s going to snow in October or be a million degrees outside in December. Make sure you keep a lightweight but warm jacket in your room all year round in case of any weather-related surprises.
Duffel bag. A soft duffel bag will serve you far better than a regular suitcase, especially for your initial move-in. While packing up, it allows you to manipulate space and stretch the bag to fit everything you need. Although they can get heavy, they have the potential to hold more of your belongings than a suitcase, which will save you space in your car or money on baggage fees at the airport. After you’ve unpacked at school, soft duffels take up much less space than traditional luggage in your room.
Something to remind you of home. Having pictures of friends and family and other reminders of where you’re from around are bound to make you feel better when you’re missing home. Homesickness is common in college, especially during the first semester, and if a trip home for the weekend isn’t possible this can be the next best thing. Having something in your room that reminds you of home provides an extra level of comfort as you adjust to your new surroundings.
BONUS TIP: Having the school calendar around will be a big help to you while packing. Take a moment and chat with your parents to determine when you will be going home throughout the first semester. Knowing when you’ll be home will help you decide how much and what kind of clothes to bring. For example, if you know you’ll be home for Thanksgiving break, you can wait and get most of your winter clothes then. On the other hand, if you think you’ll be staying on campus, you’ll need to bring some summer, fall, and winter clothes with you in August. If that’s the case, be sure to bring an extra box to store clothes you’re not currently wearing! You can put it under your bed instead of taking up an extra drawer in your dresser.
For a more comprehensive packing list, click here.
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