You’ve sat down as a family and weighed the finances. You’ve applied for scholarships, grants, and perhaps student loans. College begins in just a few short weeks and your adult child is venturing to the dorm or an apartment on campus, but what in the world should they take with them?
Since I’ve never lived on campus, it would be asinine for me to just pull some stuff out of the air on what you should consider packing, so I’ve interviewed a few college students and asked what their “must haves” were while living on campus. They were more than helpful in sharing their thoughts.
While they admitted to using an online search for a list of things to take with them, they agreed that some of the smaller things not listed online would have made their transition easier.
Here are the top 10 items thirteen college students (8 female, 5 male) say they wish they had taken with them during their first semester.
Anti-diarrheal medication. Those first few weeks on campus, a new culture, new stressors, and let’s admit it, the not-so-healthiest of foods can certainly wreak havoc on the digestive system. Having some medication to ease those tummy troubles were a must for 12 of the 13 people I spoke to.
Cleaning supplies. Nine of the 13 people interviewed stated they would like to have had immediate access to some simple cleaning supplies after a week of living in the dorm, and reported that while air freshener “helped”, it only masked the odor.
Coffee Maker. Ten of the folks I spoke to said they could have saved a small fortune by brewing coffee in their room or apartment had they thought of bringing a coffee maker. The three who did have one said they learned from friends who were already in college that you could not only brew coffee but cook small items in them as well. All said they had a coffee maker by their second semester and seven said they specifically asked for one as a Christmas gift during their first semester.
Postage Stamps and Envelopes. These were a surprise to me as most colleges either have a postal service or are located near a facility that sells postage stamps. However, eight of them stated that by the time they remember to get them, the locations were closed.
A Family Picture. This one was also a little bit of a surprise, given the ease of access to photos through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. However, the girls in the interview said there is something special about having a tangible photo to hold on to.
Tylenol/Ibuprofen. I guess life teaches you these things. I always had headache and pain relief medication with me, but I was a non-traditional student. All 13 college students admitted they either visited a convenient store or campus store to purchase this within a week of being on campus.
Extra Linens. According to the students I spoke with, several stated they wish they had brought more bed sheets, while others had wished for more towels and wash cloths.
First Aid Kit. Five of the students said they packed some Band-Aids, but none thought about Neosporin, anti-itch cream, or an ace bandage for those accidents, until it was too late.
Fan/Extra Blanket. Here is where it gets a little confusing, and I guess it really would depend on who your roommate is, but seven said they wish they had brought a fan to help them sleep, while others said they wished for extra blankets because their roommates slept with fans and they stayed cold at night.
Dry Snacks: All 13 students mentioned they were not prepared for early mornings and after a few weeks of buying quick breakfasts, realized they could have saved another small fortune by stocking up on some essentials: granola bars, Pop tarts, dried fruit, trail mix, etc. Three students had access to a vehicle and drove to the grocery store to purchase items like these. Others waited until they went home for a visit and brought some back with them.
Other items that are a helpful (check with campus housing for additional information):
Help them put their best foot forward and take that leap with comfort, knowing they are supplied with what they’ll need to succeed! Communicate with them often and help their transition to college life be a positive one! A special thanks to my interview volunteers. You are much appreciated!
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Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and sociologist. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!