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college packing list

Student Life

Essential Items to Take to College

February 22, 2021

Heading off to college is an exciting time. There are plenty of articles and advice columns listing everything you need to transition successfully. Most students, though, end up with too much stuff. It may be fun to decorate your dorm in September, but you’ll be wishing you had spent your money on different things when you’re trying to pack it all up in May.

Food

Even if you’re on a meal plan, it’s best to bring food with you to college. There are various reasons why. The first is that you are bound to miss open hours of the cafeteria at some point because you took a nap, stayed out too late or were studying too hard to take a break. Most cafeterias keep shorter hours on the weekend. If you haven’t settled into a friend group yet and don’t have a car, you may find yourself at loose ends on a Sunday night. Sure, you can walk a few blocks to a fast-food restaurant, but what if it’s raining? It’s just smart to have some ramen, peanut butter crackers or Power Life to add to a smoothie. There will be times you will get hungry when everything is closed, so be prepared.

First Aid Kit

Speaking of being prepared, be sure to bring a first aid kit with you when you go to college. Your mom won’t be around to bring you ibuprofen and water when you have a headache. Nor will she be there to put her hand on your forehead to check your temperature. You will have to do these things yourself. If you think there is a possibility that you might overindulge one weekend, keep antacid handy. A box of bandages is a great purchase too because you will probably be doing more walking than you have ever done in your life.

Water

Disposable plastic water bottles are frowned upon on college campuses. Water stations to fill up your own reusable water bottles are the norm. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run. Water bottles are also easy to lose, so bring a couple just in case you set yours down somewhere and forget it. Staying hydrated is extremely important. Keep a couple chilled in your dorm fridge so you always have a cold one handy.

Laptop

If you made it through high school on a shared family computer, now is the time to purchase a really nice laptop with your college graduation money. Many universities offer deals to college students if you buy the computer through them. Figure out a way to get the most powerful computer you can afford. You will be expected to complete almost all work electronically, and you will need a computer that doesn’t crash.

Backpack

Besides your computer, your backpack will get the most use while you’re in college. Choose a sturdy one with extra padding. Attach a luggage tag to the outside and the inside. Backpacks are THE fashion accessory for college students, but they are also a necessity.

Instead of focusing all your attention on color coordinating your throw pillows and hanging beading around your bed, skip the extra decoration in favor of spending money on what you’ll really need. Hang a single flag over your bed for a simple decoration and put your money towards more important purchases.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.