If you search “what to bring to college” on Google, you’ll find lists on lists with hundreds of things advised to take with you. It can be intimidating — packing for a whole year of your life. How are you supposed to know how many throw blankets you need, or how many sweaters to bring for the fall when it’s sweltering in August? Or how many suits or dresses you need, or if you’ll even need them at all. What about fans?
The first thing to do is find out where you’re living. Will your dorm have windows you can open because there’s no air conditioning? If so, definitely bring a fan. Does it have air conditioning? Then bringing more things to make it cooler will only take up space. A mini heater never hurt anyone, though.
Some quick notes on these essentials: the things you can’t forget for bath and bedding products besides the basics are a shower caddy, shower slippers and one throw blanket for when friends come over. If you’re into makeup, you’ll be surprised how fast makeup remover wipes run out, so stock up on those. In terms of household items, you can’t forget things like paper towels, garbage bags, and Lysol spray and wipes. You’ll also need utensils, but they have plastic ones at dining halls, so don’t waste your money on those; I’d say just bring one set of metal utensils and a kitchen knife in case you’re cooking because those can come in handy.
Finally, don’t pack for the entire school year — pack for around three months. Anything you forget or have excess of can be stored during Thanksgiving break. You won’t need so many sweaters or jackets until then. I’d say two jackets and two hoodies/sweaters along with two pairs of pants/sweats for when it gets a bit cold. It’ll be “shorts and t-shirt” weather for the most part. One swimsuit won’t hurt because there’s a pool in the McComas gym and rivers nearby where you can swim with friends.
Once you have everything you need, organization is key. It’s surprising how much you can store if you arrange everything right. Things that do not need to be stored in the closet or on the floor, like photos or posters can be hung up with command hooks or double sided tape. Also, if you want to decorate your room, there are a lot of cheaper routes to go than expensive couches or chairs to have friends over. A comfortable rug and a couple bed rest pillows from Target will be your lifesaver. LED light strips are also fun decorations to have in the dorm for hangouts, and a speaker is a must-have.
Everything about college seems so nerve wracking before the first day because you don’t really know what to expect. There’s no reason to stress. When moving in, try to keep your door open for the first few days so people can walk by and introduce themselves. Your new neighbors might comment on your room and your posters, or even ask if you have extra command strips. That’s how you can make your first friends, and over the next few months, you’ll find a rhythm with certain people and a friend group will form. It’ll be fun and a bit scary at first just because it’s unfamiliar, but if you step out of your comfort zone and try something new, it can be the start to the best years of your life.