By Rebecca Schwartz
Packing for my freshmen year of college reminded me a lot of packing for sleep away camp. Students and campers are expected to fit their lives into suitcases.
Thankfully, college dorms are a touch bigger than the cubby or two that camp provides. However, the same idea applies; you have limited room to make the space your own, so pack wisely.
If you are traveling to your new home by way of airplane, shipping the bulky essentials is a must. Save money by picking out your goodies via Internet and then shipping them to school. Or save on shipping altogether: call to have the items awaiting you at a store location in your college town for pick up.
If you are driving to school, do not overestimate the size of your trunk and keep in mind the room you will need for any other passengers. You will not want to be more cramped than necessary, considering the number of hours you will be forced to listen to your parents’ last minute advice.
Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens ‘N’ Things have made dorm supplies their mission, with ready dorm “must have” lists. Their websites are stocked with all the essentials, but before you go crazy buying the polka dotted garbage can that the store swears will make you cool, really consider each purchase. Do you really need a toilet seat cover, if you will be using a communal bathroom down the hall?
If you have a roommate contact him/her and discuss whether you will need a television, rug, ironing board, fan, stereo, small vacuum, or microwave and refrigerator, and who is responsible for what.
Your new friends will be curious about your life, so bring a photo album–pictures can be great conversation starters. Once you’ve shown off the pictures, take out your favorites and decorate your wall.
Bring an ipod or your Walkman so you can shut the world out and unwind while soaking up your favorite tunes.
If you’re hesitant about bringing Mr. Snuggles to school, ponder no longer. Everyone has his or her own “Mr. Snuggles.” Your dorm room is the only place on campus that is truly yours, your home. Even if you do not use him right away, it will feel good to know he’s always watching.
Give your friends and family your mailing address and ask them to write and send goodies. Care packages from mom can be just the right medicine when everything seems to be falling apart.
Shower shoes are a must! There is nothing grosser than walking into the communal bathroom barefoot, especially when tokens of last night’s drinking binge can be spotted on the floor.
Some other things you do not want to forget: alarm clock, desk lamp, extension cord, sticky tack or two sided tape, hangers, surge protector, umbrella, calendar and blankets.
Although there is a lot to prepare and organize for the first year, you cannot plan for everything. So if you get to college and you have forgotten something, or you feel that something is missing, take the initiative.
You are now an adult–but remember that you will have a Resident Assistant and of course, your family is only a phone call away.