As a high school student, I began preparing for my move to college very early. Like, a-year-in-advance-making-grocery-lists kind of early. Now that I’ve been at school for a few years, I have determined which of my possessions are most vital to my existence as a college student. If you are reading this post, and you are still in high school, you might want to think about purchasing the items listed below, at least sometime before the big move-in day. It’s not an all-inclusive list of what you’ll need, but I definitely feel grateful for having these objects. What would I do without them? Cry.
Laptop computer: Let me preface this item by saying that a computer is NOT necessary to a college student, at least not at Fontbonne. There are many computer labs on campus available for student use; if you cannot bring your own computer to school, you will not fail at college. That being said, computers are handy to have at school. I use mine every day to write papers, look up grades, participate in discussion boards, do some online shopping . . . lots of things. It’s nice to have your own place to save your work. And, because my computer is a laptop, I can take it with me wherever I want to do homework (which is usually in my room, but sometimes I do go other places—more on that later). So, I recommend that you bring a laptop to school, but it is not completely necessary.
Flashdrive: This, for me, is not optional. I use a flashdrive to back up my homework and picture files. My flashdrive transports assignments from my computer to the library to be printed for class. It holds PowerPoints for presentations. It is amazing. It is wonderful. If it were a human, I swear it would be able to juggle while blindfolded. Flashdrives are that impressive. Do yourself a favor and go buy one. I think mine has 4 gigabytes of memory, but I wish it could hold 8, which is what I’d suggest for you.
Winter coat and boots: These aren’t needed for every college. And they aren’t only restricted to college students. But I received boots and a new winter coat as Christmas gifts during my college career, and I’m thankful that I have them. Missouri doesn’t have the coldest or snowiest winters, but we do get occasional snows here, and the temperatures can drop enough that you need a warm coat. This week we had several 20 degree mornings when I was happy to bundle up in layers before heading to class.
Vacuum: Not all my friends have vacuums, so it may seem like you can get by without one. But when I reflect on my past years on campus, all of my friends who don’t own their own vacuums have borrowed mine, from once a month to once a week. This leads me to believe that vacuums really are important. Personally, I can’t stand living in a place that isn’t kept clean. If you are like me, you should pick up a vacuum for college. And maybe some Clorox wipes, dust rags, window cleaner, Pine Sol . . .
Lamp: If you live on campus, and if you plan on ever accomplishing anything between the hours of 9:00pm and 7:00am (or between 5:00pm and 8:00pm right now), you will need a lamp in your room. Although the dorm rooms all have ceiling lights, I find that they don’t adequately illuminate my room for me to do homework in the evenings, without straining my eyes. I have a floor lamp and a desk lamp right now, and I use them both daily. Mine are from Walmart and Target—cheap, semi-fashionable, and worth the small amount of money I spent on them.
Storage: If you’re living in a dorm room or apartment, you’ll need somewhere to keep your belongings. Some people I know have storage tubs they keep underneath their beds. My solution is using cube shelves and plastic drawers. I think most dorm rooms provide some furniture, like desks and dressers. But after you unpack your clothes and school supplies, you’ll probably need somewhere to put everything else you own.
Planner: Every college student needs some organizational system to make sure that deadlines are met and meetings are attended. I have a dry-erase calendar on my wall that lets me know what big events are coming up. For everything else, I use a planner. I use it to keep track of all my homework, activities, meetings, work schedules, everything. Planners keep me successful; I have rarely forgotten assignments since I have been using them. Staying on top of your schedule is especially important at the college level, when you are expected to act like an adult and a professional. My teachers would not be sympathetic if I was missing classes or homework because I “forgot.”
Sticky notes: Remember earlier when I mentioned making lists? It’s an obsession for me. I use several packages of sticky notes over the course of a school year. Each day, I write a list of all the tasks I need to complete. I write reminders to myself and stick them on my desk. I even use sticky notes to decorate friend’s rooms for special occasions (try labeling every object in your friend’s room—it’s mischievous and takes forever to clean up. Muahahaa!) Not everyone needs as many sticky notes as I go through, but it will be nice to keep a few on hand.
If you’re reading this and notice I left something really important out, please comment and share! I’d love to hear what you think college students can’t live without. Next week, I promise to post sooner. I had written a post on Monday, but lost it at work. Hopefully I can find it and share what I wrote with you soon!