The scene while you’re packing the car to head off to college will probably look something like this: you’re hauling a garbage bag full of pillows, plastic forks, dog-eared books, and more garbage bags; you’re sweating more than any other person in history has ever sweat; you can’t find your dog to say goodbye; and your mom has taken approximately 200 photographs of you in the last 3 minutes. Yep, the day you leave for college is bound to be a little stressful; don’t forget these things when you pull out of the driveway.
1. Under-bed storage: No matter how luxurious you might have imagined your college dorm room to be, it’s probably going to look less like the Great Hall and more like the cupboard under the stairs. If your college allows you to loft your bed, do it, and then put some shelves or drawers underneath to make your room feel exponentially larger.
2. Surge protector with USB ports: You’ve got your phone, and your laptop charger, and your desk lamp, and your fridge, and your—whoa, that’s a lot of plugs. Invest in a surge protector to increase your number of outlets, and you’ll never again experience the cold hand of fear that clutches your heart when you see the “your iPhone battery is critically low” message.
3. Doorstop: Closed door=no random floormates wandering in, so you can watch Netflix and eat burritos in peace. Open door=Hello, new besties. Care to engage in a death match of Bananagrams?
4. A fan: Pretty much no matter where you go to college, there will be days when your room feels like a cramped, airless corner of hell. When it gets unbearably hot, your best bet is just post to up in front of your fan and eat your weight in popsicles.
5. Shower shoes: Because obviously.
6. Earplugs: The FOMO is real—and so is the sleep deprivation. Know when you need to catch some zzz’s, and do what you have to do to block out the sound and make it happen.
7. A professional outfit: Yes, there will be (many, many) days when you roll out of bed two minutes before class and show up rocking your favorite groutfit, but there will also be days when you’re interviewing for a job or meeting with your professor, and you’re going to want a few articles of clothing that say, “Hi, I’m an adult. It’s nice to meet you.”
8. Granola bars: Many college meal plans don’t include breakfast every day. Prepare in advance by buying grab-and-go breakfasts in bulk. (Note: Other grab-and-go breakfast options you might consider: ice cream sandwiches, family-size boxes of Goldfish, and those tiny Nutella things that come with their own breadsticks).
9. A few items to remind you of home: Decorating your wall with pictures of your family and friends can help make home feel closer. But don’t feel like you have to transport your whole childhood room to your dorm: just bring the things that you love the most, and save some space for the stuff you’ll accumulate during the year (i.e. the beanbag you found on the quad and about 70 hoodies).
10. A journal: Check out bullet journals (so cute!!), sentence-a-day journals, and morning pages, and try to jot down a few thoughts a day. However you journal, getting your feelings onto paper can make this whole life transition thing a lot less confusing.