You’re off to college! Hooray!
You’re moving into a residence hall and will need to ensure you plan for certain necessities, as well as a few luxuries. But what do you take with you? Do you take everything? Simply put, no, you will not take all of your belongings if you are residing in a dorm.
Colleges provide dorms for students who are taking classes. This means you will move in right before classes begin and you will move out shortly after classes end. Alongside thousands of your new closest friends, you will be sharing elevators and competing for the best loading zones all at the same time.
You will simplify the moving process by strategically choosing what to pack. But first, you will need to identify your essentials for college dorm living.
But, how do you decide what to take, what to leave at home, and what you will need to purchase?
There are no simple answers to those questions, as the responses depend on certain factors you must consider that will vary depending on your circumstances.
How far away is your college?
Will you attend the state college in town, or will you venture out to become a member of a new community in another time zone? If you are within a few hours driving distance, you can more
easily swap out seasonal clothing when you visit home during weekends or holiday breaks. If you must travel greater distances, or even by plane, you may find yourself shipping items to and from your permanent address. This can get expensive. You might have to leave your ceramics projects and your stuffed animal collection with Mom and Dad until you graduate and get your first apartment. Moving farther away for college might mean purchasing more items once you get to college and leaving items behind when you move out for summer break. Think more necessities here.
Will you have a roommate?
In most cases, you will share a space with a roommate. Communicating with the roommate during the summer will prevent the scenario of two microwaves and no refrigerator. Decide who will purchase larger items that can be shared. Keep in mind, most dormitories provide small spaces and when two people bring a futon and a storage trunk, that space fills up rather quickly.
Will you need your own?
What will the residence hall provide? Most provide a bed and a desk. Keep in mind; sometimes the mattresses are extra-long, requiring twin XL sheets. Some colleges provide bed linens and towels with weekly laundry service. Some have a kitchen, meaning you will not need to spend your graduation money on a microwave. You will need to investigate ahead of time.
Also, when you live as a member of a household, you share items that you will not likely share with your roommate. You will need your own tweezers and antacids. You will need hand soap, dish soap, even a small supply of plates, cups, bowls, and assorted utensils. Unless Aunt Denise will be running your laundry on the weekend, you will need your own laundry soap, as well.
Is it allowed?
Each college has regulations about items not permitted in residence halls. For example, some dorms do not permit candles or pets. Some do not allow certain appliances. Read the residence hall rules prior to adopting a frog.
Is it a treasure?
When living at home, your younger sister might have snuck into your room to borrow a sweater after you left for school, only to get caught because she was silly enough to wear your sweater for picture day. You may have attempted to guard your space and your possessions . . . from people you know and love.
College will be different. A stranger and all of his friends will have access to your things when you are in class, studying at the library, or at home for a weekend.
Unless you plan to wear the ring you inherited from your great-grandmother, leave it at home in your jewelry box. If you cannot bear to lose it, don’t bring it. I am not implying you will be surrounded by thieves; however you will not always be in control of who is in your space and has access to your things. Better to be upset because someone drank your orange juice than to be distraught because someone borrowed and lost your best watch.
I have created a list of College Essentials to get you started. After considering the questions above, you will be able to personalize the checklist to meet your specific needs. To see if you have developed the life skills necessary to pave the path to continued achievement in college, read Are You Prepared to Live on Your Own?
Best wishes for continued success in this new and exciting chapter of your life!
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