Freshmen: Do You REALLY Need that Course Reader?
As you approach your first day of college, you may be wondering what and what not to bring with you. Take a look at the list below prior to packing - chances are, you can save some suitcase space and a little heartache.
Freshmen Students: Leave it at Home
Starting college is a new and exciting experience. No student wants to show up unprepared. After all, you're living on your own now so you need everything you can get to help you out, right? It might surprise some freshmen to know that there are things they think they need that they really don't.
Freshmen want to be ready to live as a college student. It means living on your own with more responsibility than you've probably ever had before. Because of this, you may want to bring whatever you can to be prepared and pick up everything that you see upperclassmen have. You might even buy everything off those college must-have lists. But that's not always a good idea. In the first few months of school, there are some things you just don't need and even some things you'll likely never need.
All Your Clothes
If you haven't sorted through your clothes recently, now is the time. You do not need to bring your entire wardrobe to college. Look through your clothes and select some you rarely wear or some that are too small and either leave them at home or throw them out. Only bring clothes that you know you're going to wear all the time, and maybe one dressy outfit for special occasions. You are going to buy some clothes at college anyway, so even if you have fewer jackets or mittens, you'll probably be fine.
You're on your own now, so it might be tempting to pack up every pot and pan you ever had. However, you're not going to need all that. When you're first getting situated at your dorm and figuring out your schedule, there's not going to be much time to be a gourmet chef. You'll also find that eating in the cafeteria is a great way to socialize and make new friends, so you'll probably spend your meals there rather than cooking. Later, if you get settled and find you want to cook, your parents can easily mail you your cooking utensils and pots.
Since you'll be waking up early mornings for classes, it might seem smart to bring a coffee maker. You'll soon realize that not only will you not use it, but it will also just clutter up your dorm room. Making coffee in the morning takes time that could be spent sleeping. Given there's no bed-time anymore, you're soon going to realize that sleep is a good thing and the more you can get the better. Also, most schools have a coffee bar or café on campus or nearby that you can use to get your caffeine fix.
A dorm room may be the closest thing to an apartment that you've ever had, but the fact is that it's not an apartment. Buying furniture before you go to college is a good way to wind up with no space. Once at college, if you find you lack some piece of furniture you can easily go out to a bargain store to pick something up or check Craigslist. But before you arrive, you're not going to have an idea of what sort of space you have or what stuff your roommate is already bringing, so it's best not to bring furniture with you.
Storing food is necessary, but a refrigerator is not. Most dorms have a community fridge, and while they may get a little scummy or cluttered, they will work just as well as a mini-fridge in your own room. Buying a mini for yourself will just result in less dorm space and possibly a mini generator of mold and bad smells. If you find after time that your hall-mates are notorious thieves or that the community fridge is unbearably dirty, only then consider looking for a fridge.
Before you head off to college, you might think it's time to pick up a hot plate. This is actually one of the worst ideas you can have. While a hotplate is good for heating food and doing basic cooking, it is also not allowed in many college dorm rooms. Nothing is worse than showing up with things that will go straight into your closet because you're not allowed to use them. And don't worry about heating up food. Most dorms have a kitchen or at least a microwave near the rooms.
It may be nice to have an animal around. But you most likely won't be able to bring your family pet to college. Although you might be allowed a pet fish or turtle, don't count on your residence halls allowing dogs or cats.
Still not sure what to bring? Check out a list of things, some that you do need and some that you really don't!