Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The 10 things you must Pack for College

To Bring Or Not To Bring: Guide to Packing for College 101
by Emmy Hirsch, guest blogger

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I know I'm not speaking just for myself when I say that I'm freaking out about leaving home and starting a whole new life on my own. Reinventing yourself can be both terrifying and exciting, though you'll find me on the more terrifying side of the scale. In the middle of my hysteria fits about moving out, there's still a bunch of pesky stuff that has to be done, the most important being packing. Trying to move everything in the room and house I've lived in for eighteen years into an 11x14 feet dorm room is ridiculous and unpractical, so I've done a little research on my own to help with the separation anxiety and choose what goes and what stays.

dorm room decorations
Add a throw pillow to personalize your space.
The number one thing people say is that I don't need all my stuff (and they promise). Not only do my stuffed animals serve as a security blanket, but my comforter is ripped in three different places and I still refused to get a new one even after my mom offered to pay me $100. Many articles about packing for college have a good point: instead of trying to recreate my bedroom in my dorm, I need to just stick with the essentials, as in bring a couple of my favorite CDs, books, and posters and that's that. I'm sure I'll find cheaper and lighter ways to make the space my own, but I know the new textbooks I'll be using will need a shrine and shelf and a half of their own. TIP: Textbooks can, I kid you not, be $150-$180 a pop, but the good news is that most students who are done with the course are dying to get rid of that dead weight. Students also may sell unused notebooks, old laptops, research materials, etc. so keep your things in good condition so you can sell them to other innocent freshmen.

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I've looked at my school's website and figured out what will be provided, something you all should definitely do. My dorm has its own kitchen. So, instead of worrying about getting kicked out for burning a Pop-Tart, I can just burn one in the kitchen's toaster and leave them to solve the mystery of who started the fire. I also learned that there are certain safety precautions the school takes (ironic to the previous sentence). To my dismay, rooms are not allowed to have individual coffee machines. Sure enough, without knowing this piece of information, I would have definitely bought myself a coffee machine and it would just have ended up sitting in a closet at home. Before buying anything, absolutely make sure what is and is not allowed in your dorm room and what will be provided for you by the school.

dorm room decorations
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TIP: Divide the costs with your roommate! I still haven't gotten my roommate yet but the first thing after introducing myself is to get a hold on splitting the responsibility for getting the expensive stuff. For example, you can bring the printer, while your roommate rents the refrigerator and carpet. There is no guarantee that you will get along but coordinate what you're going to bring before the squabble starts.

More notebooks in Cristina's etsy shop!

The most important thing to remember is that you will buy stuff when you get there. Most cosmetics and school materials can be bought throughout the year. However, I've come up with a list of the "Don't-Forget-'Em Essentials" that is meant to let you know of things that you might forget to pack but if you bring might just make your college life a little easier:
  1. Quarters: Possibly one of the highest-demand items on a college campus.
  2. Detergent and Fabric Softener: Always available at the local drugstore, but use mom's help in choosing a brand.
  3. Laundry Bag
  4. Shower Caddy: Bring soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, etc. to and from your room can be a hackle.
  5. Shower Shoes: Flip flops will do the trick.
  6. First Aid Kit: To heal the little booboos you get here and there.
  7. Hangers: It's no fun to arrive to school with tons of clothes that have to live on your bed your closet floor for the first few days. TIP: Pack your clothing on your hangers and put a garbage bag over them. That way, you can just hang them up when you get there instead of all the unnecessary folding, unfolding, and hanging you'll be doing.
  8. Extra Long Sheets: Check with your school before buying sheets. Most college residence halls have extra long twin beds, which need a specific size of sheets to fit them.
  9. Small Fan: Most dorms don't have air conditioning. Ergo, a tiny fan will do you wonders.
  10. Umbrella: You'll be grateful for it the first time it rains on campus.
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For a packing checklist and more information, check out for an extensive checklist and articles about anything from recipes for college to how to survive freshman year.

mentioned in this post: @PaperPlainShop @TheDecalLab @urbandesignink

Emmy Hirsch is an intern for SchulmanArt and will be an incoming freshman at Franklin and Marshall College.

Don't forget a lamp and other personal touches!! What else do you think is essential for dorm decor?