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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

How to pack for college: Things you didn’t know you needed

Packing for college the first time can be stressful. What do you need? What should you leave at home? How will it all fit? Where’s the best place to get everything? There are somewhere around 100,000,000,000 different versions of lists with titles such as “50 things all students need to pack” or “the BEST college checklist.” These lists are all over Tumblr and Pinterest, and even retail store websites. However, no matter how many lists you look at and how sure you are that you have everything, chances are you’ll forget one, two or twenty things.  From personal experience, here is a list of things to bring that might not be on any of the other lists, or things you’ll probably forget.

Sleep, Shower, Clean and Eat (not all at once)

  • If you go to bed early or enjoy an afternoon nap, earplugs are definitely recommended.  I came from a very quiet neighborhood, so even the slightest bit of traffic was difficult to adjust to, and earplugs helped for the first month or so.
  • When you have classes back to back the rest of the day, and you spill your lunch on your shirt, Tide-to-go is a lifesaver.
  • Most of us probably use our phones for our alarm clock, but phones sometimes crack or break, and then a back up alarm clock is needed. When my phone screen shattered last year, and my phone died, I had no alarm. Luckily my friend had a back up alarm clock I could borrow.
  • When you get sick and want a replacement, or when you accidentally drop yours, extra toothbrushes are a necessity.

Get to Work

  • Need to scribble some notes? Doodle? Create a “Do not Disturb” sign for your door? Then you need some plain copy paper. It’s easier to bring your own than try to find blank paper somewhere on campus.
  • If you enjoy reading, bring a book or two. You can always check out books from the school library as well.
  • My go-to for labeling things is a metallic silver sharpie. Many things that need labeling, such as phone chargers, hard drives, remotes, and USB drives are black. Silver shows up well on the black surfaces.
  • A stapler is on many of the lists of things to bring, however, purchasing a smaller stapler is a good idea. They get the job done, but are also small enough to toss in a backpack when needed.
  • If you’re a person who prefers binder over folders, a 3-hole punch, is something you need. Many papers don’t come pre-punched.

Be Prepared

  • Things happen, and an emergency box, is a very good idea. This can and should include a flashlight, small tool kit (screwdriver, hammer, and tape measure),  and a first aid kit with bandaids, basic over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, cough syrup, cough drops, allergy relief), small amount of gauze and medical tape, an ACE bandage, an ice pack, antibacterial ointment. I’m usually pretty good with a first aid kit, however last year I had a decent sized cut on my foot, and a band-aid wasn’t going to cover it. I limped to CVS for gauze and medical tape.
  • Make sure to have a copy, or have easy access to, your Social Security card, Birth Certificate, and if you plan on working on or off campus, having your Passport is great for identification requirements. Also a copy of your insurance card is vital in case of any medical needs. It’s a good idea to have a folder or box for these documents.
  • Be sure to pack at least one business outfit and one formal outfit. From job interviews, class presentations to events and semi-formal dances, these outfits may come in handy.
  • When you go home for long weekends or breaks, a suitcase or duffel bag comes in handy. You can pack clothes in your suitcase to save space  on the way to campus.
  • Staying hydrated is important, and therefore you should bring a reusable water bottle. Water is free in The Camelot Room, and there are plenty water-bottle fountains and stations throughout campus.
  • As someone who has broken her fair share of phone chargers, be sure to bring multiple backup chargers, including the wall plug! You don’t want to have a dead phone, or the need to keep asking roommates and friends to borrow theirs (or sit at one of the campus charging stations all day)

Home Sweet Home

  • If you want to bring some more life into your dorm room, be sure to bring photos, posters, and decorations. Plants are also a good idea, especially cacti or other succulent plants because they are easy to take care of.
  • One of the best ways to get to know people in your hall and house is to keep your door open when you’re around. A door stop is a great idea. I used a crushed up box for a while until I managed to get a real door stop.
  • In order to stay comfortable in the first and last months of the school year, a fan is a good idea. Small portable fans are the easiest.

Before you go college shopping, be sure to review the lists provided by the school for what to bring, and especially for what to leave at home. You do not want to have to send items back home because they are prohibited. There are plenty of things you can bring and do that will keep your room (and yourself) happy and safe. Also, check what is already provided! Saint Rose provides furniture (pre-risen bed, mattress, dresser, desk, chair, desk drawers, and wardrobe/closet) blinds, and trash and recycling bins.


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