You’re stranded on a deserted island. What three things do you bring? Easy: a knife, a lighter, and a good book. Now, you’re about to be stranded on a populated campus. What do you bring?
Here’s ten things you don’t want to leave home without when you pack up the family car and head to school this fall.
This one is a “buy it in case you need it, but hope you don’t need it” item. A small toolkit that has at least a basic set of screwdrivers, a measuring tape, and a wrench could save you stress throughout your college career. Setting up your new TV stand is much easier when you don’t have to use duct tape to hold it together. Plus, accidents happen and you’ll be glad you have the ability to make minor repairs quickly at the end of the year.
College is fun, but a mess can ruin any experience. Multiple cans let you always have one in reach. When you have people over, it’s never fun for them to see that you just kind of throw garbage on your desk and hope to get it later. With a system in place, your empty water bottles and wrappers will reach their rightful place. Just don’t forget to empty them often!
Your phone might be your go to time piece, but there will come a time when your phone will die or get lost or decide to update overnight. Don’t let that keep you from your early classes. Going old school with an alarm clock removes some variables that can keep you from waking up. Additionally, it makes the option to lay in your bed on your phone all morning that much more difficult.
I know boxes are the last thing you want to see right now, especially after cramming everything you’ve gotten into them. However, you’re going to accumulate stuff this year that you weren’t expecting. At some point you’ll buy shirts and sweaters with your school’s name on it for home or you’ll need to bring home your extra snacks so you can survive the summer, and factoring in some empty space can make getting that back home in the spring easier. Cardboard boxes can be collapsed so they can slide underneath a bed or behind a dresser until their time comes.
In a college environment, things rush by faster than you can process them. A journal to record your thoughts and feelings can help you reflect, and also help you remember your time at school once you’ve graduated. Bring it with you and find a quiet spot on campus to make a journal entry at least once a week.
Your meal plan probably seems like the best thing ever right now, right? A few months in, your feelings will change. Your mom can’t drive out on a Tuesday, so it’s time to adult-up and be ready to cook yourself. Even a basic pot, pan or cookie sheet can give you options for fun recipes. Changing up your diet by using the residence hall stove for a night is always a fun idea. Bring some cookware so you can make it happen. If you’re on an even more limited budget, there are also microwave recipes you can find!
Cleaning up after yourself is a must in college. Take some of the basic surface cleaners and air fresheners to school, and you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Having the spray to clean your mirror will make the mess one less thing to worry about.
Depending on your region, your weather is either predictable or unpredictable. Unless you lucked out and got a place at a school that’s a tropical paradise, you’re going to be at school to experience, possibly, all four seasons. Get ready for that by bringing clothes that are ready for a range of temperatures. There’s also the possibility, at least in parts of the country, that you might feel all seasons in one day. Bringing the right clothes prevents you from being either left out in the cold or burning up in the heat.
Going away to school separates you from your parents, and you might find yourself in a situation you’ve never faced before. Finding a job on campus, paying for a school trip, or other opportunities are examples of times when you’ll need your checkbook and documentation. Some paperwork may require your social security card or birth certificate. If you’re a big traveller, your passport may be a good choice too. Don’t forget these things for the sake of being prepared, but don’t lose track of them!
Finally, this one is something that seems obvious, but is worth being reminded of. Your bed is going to be an important friend as you rest from your new schedule. An extra set of sheets lets you rotate out dirty ones that need to be washed. Sleeping on a clean pillowcase helps keep your skin clear, too! Double down and don’t leave home without an extra set.
That’s it! Hopefully these additions will round out your college packing list. When you arrive, unpack these items and get ready for your new life at school. After that, share your tools with your friends that forgot them and become the most popular student in your hall. Combine this with finding a Cru movement on your campus (using cru.org!), and you’ll setting yourself up for a great year!
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