There are a ton of things that you will need to start your first year living on college campus, so to make it easier to separate the necessities from the optional, here’s a post of things that (I feel like) are necessary for your first year living on campus.
Before you buy anything on this list, make sure that you know if your campus allows them. For example, some campuses allow coffee pots while others have a strict policy against them.
Lamps & Lighting
Dorms are notorious for bad lighting and it really isn’t all that false. I’m lucky enough to have two lights in my dorm room (which is really weird for a single), but in my first dorm room, I only had one light for a large square box-type room (It didn’t help that my bed was lofted and all my stuff was under the bed). I bought this lamp for the side of my bed (warning: It’s really-really bright) and this light for my desk (not as bright, but I like it for when my bf or my roommate was sleeping.
Bedding & Comfort
Dorms aren’t just known for bad lighting. The beds are usually pretty hard (the ones for my campus are extra firm like cardboard and covered in plastic). My parents bought me this mattress pad from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. If you wait until right before school starts, everything goes on sale, so save yourself some money and wait! They bought it at 40% off.
Also don’t forget your comforters, sheet sets, and pillows. If you already have these from home, don’t fret about getting new ones! I actually got a Duvet Cover to cover up my old comforter so it would match my theme.
Speaking of comfort, CHAIRS! You will probably be given a desk chair as well as some chairs in your floor lounge(s). You will probably want something more comfy to sit in your room with, though. Kohl’s currently has sales on Butterfly Chairs, Dish Chairs, and tons of other chairs. (Note: The bungee cord chairs look cool, but they really hurt your bottom and they break fairly easily).
Dorm room usually have very little storage. I would suggest going to visit your college dorm to see how much storage exactly you have. I ended up getting a fairly large closet with two shelves, a lock box, and 3 more shelves on the ground. In addition to all that, I also got a dresser and a side-table. I know some people, however, that just have a closet and a dresser! You’ll probably want some type of closet storage, plastic storage bins, and/or some shelves. Make sure they all fit though. I had a friend bring this whole shelving unit to campus only to send it home with his parents a week later. You might also like to bring along some baskets and/or decorative storage bins to place on the shelves.
I personally also love to have a monitor stand in my dorm room. My grandfather made me one, but you can also find a ton online. I mainly use mine to put letters or homework under. I also put my keyboard under there if I have little or no space for it.
Bath & Beauty
First and foremost: Bring anything you think you’ll need. Straighteners, curlers, etc… If you can find out how to curl your hair with a straightener, only bring the straighter. Dorm rooms get messy super fast, so don’t try to bring everything. I can’t tell you how many days though that I thought “I’m going to put my hair up today” and then left it down because I had no hairspray to keep fly-aways down.
Shower shoes! You will need these. I got mine at 5 Below for $2, so they’re not expensive at all. You won’t want to be walking around in the bathrooms barefoot though, trust me.
Shower Caddies are sooooo helpful. You’ll want to take everything you need to the shower in one trip, so you’ll need some help. These handy little things usually have compartments for numerous things; sometimes they even have little toothbrush holders! Make sure you get a portable one, however. If you will be sharing your bathroom with only a few people in a cluster, you guys may also just decide to leave your stuff in the shower. If you’re going to be living on a floor with 30+ people, however, you’re going to need a portable one.
Robes and Towels… I’d say if you don’t like robes, don’t bring one. I got mine from my grandma and I have never used it. I usually just bring my pajamas into the shower room with me and get dressed after I shower. Towels though you’ll need, don’t be silly.
You’ll need a laundry basket as well as your choice of soap & fabric softener. Learn to do laundry at home, if you don’t already know. It will make it easier for later on when you have to do your first load of laundry and have no idea what to do. You may also want some kind of stain remover in case you or a friend get sick or spill something on your clothing/bedding
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend the pod soaps for the washer. They make it so much easier and all you have to do is toss the pod into the washer and let it go. Dryer sheets are also a favorite.
Food & Dining
You may or may not get a microwave on your campus. If you do need one though, wait for them to go on sale and then get one from your local supermarket. You’ll probably also want some kind of coffee maker or coffee pot, so look into those as well!
You’ll probably want to eat in your dorm room. Whether it’s reheating pizza or making ramen or even making your own dorm-room-cuisine, you’ll need silverware. I got all of my dishes at different points in time, but I had a friend buy this set from Kohl’s and they love it. I bought this set of forks/spoons/knives from Walmart a few years back as well. (They go on sale, don’t worry). You’ll also want to get some cheap napkins.
If you have a bathroom that you have to clean, buy some bathroom cleaner. If you have just your dorm room to keep clean however, you don’t need that. If you have carpet floor, you may want to buy a small vacuum cleaner. If you have tile, you’ll probably want a cheap broom. Some dorms will already have these available to you, but you may also have some floor mates that hog all of the cleaning supplies the entire year. We lost our bucket at the beginning of the year and didn’t find it again until the guy moved out.
It’s also a good idea to get some floor cleaner if you have tile. I also invested in buying a small mop since I had friends in my room to drink and play Cards Against Humanity quite often.
Electronics & Entertainment
You’ll get bored. Make sure to have either a laptop or a desktop with you for when you get bored or have homework to do (I have both). You can also bring a TV and video game consoles with you as well. If you like to listen to music, a good set of speakers may also be what you need. Just be considerate of others on your floor and don’t get in trouble. Some CAs or RAs will write you up if your music is too loud at unreasonable hours.
Don’t forget your chargers! I forgot my laptop charger and had to go laptop-less for a week.
You will probably also want some kind of fan and alarm clock. You can get these pretty much anywhere. I usually use my phone for my alarm clock though. Way cheaper!
If you have any questions at all, you can message me anytime! I won’t leave any questions unasked :) Please feel free to add your own as well if you feel like I have missed anything!
I am super amped about college and my dorm room so I’ve been watching all the videos on how to store things and decorate like crazy. I know this time can be really exciting/stressful so I wanted to share my best tips and resources with those of you who are going to be living on campus!
(Disclaimer:I am also an incoming college freshmen so I could very well be wrong about these things, this is just what I’ve heard. If you guys have any tips you’d like to add don’t be afraid to do so!)
(Second Disclaimer: I am from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, USA so these stores and prices might be exclusive to certain areas! Make sure you compare before buying!)
Things you’ll probably need that you didn’t know about or might forget:
Surge protector - Extension cords can be considered a fire hazard! Prices may vary on these, so look around. I got mine (six outlets, six feet cord) from Walmart for $13!
Lights - Desk lamps, bedside lamps, Christmas lights to string along the walls…Lights are great for if you have some extra work you need do when your roommate(s) turn in early! Or if you just want to cozy up the space!
Velvet hangers - The velvet material makes hangers stick together better than plastic so it saves space in your closet! Home Goods sells 25-packs for $12! Plus they come in lots of cute colors! Otherwise you can find them just about anywhere!
Tie blankets - Want a super warm and comfortable blanket that’s personalized? Make your own tie blanket! Scope out your local fabric store (JoAnn always has some great sales!) for your favorite designs! These can range between $15-$30 depending on the sale, but are well worth it. Especially if you plan to attend a lot of sporting events! They’re super durable and super warm! (I get mine cut 2.5 yards and cut 3″ fringes so that it completely covers me at 6 feet length.)
Plastic dishware - Many of you will probably have a meal plan, but on most campuses the cafeteria closes after a certain time and you only get a certain number of meals per day. I specifically recommend plastic so you don’t have to worry about breaking things, and I even more specifically recommend microwaveable – for both bowls and plates. You can find some pretty great specialty microwaveable dishware specifically for soup and omelettes and whatnot too by looking around!
Snacks/light meals - To add onto the last part…cafeteria food will not always be available. Store some snacks in your room so you have stuff to munch on during class or when you’re just chilling!
Carpet/rugs - If your dorm is like mine, it has wooden flooring and gets really cold during the winter. A simple way to preserve warmth and keep your feet from freezing off is to go to a local hardware/maintenance store and inquire about carpeting! Measure the size of your room and find some great deals (make sure you’ve consulted your roommate(s) first, if you have any)! If you don’t want to spend the money on carpeting, some simple rugs will work just as great!
Fan - Some dorms don’t have very good air conditioning, and it is beyond awful to sleep when you’re sweating all over. Get yourself a good fan to circulate some air in the room. A small clip-fan usually works great for right by the bed and a bigger one works to cool down the whole room.
Board games and cards - Between all the homework you might have some down-time! A great way to socialize and hang with your friends is to play games! Unfortunately for whatever reason, board games might be a little more money than you’re willing to pay. Try hitting up a Good Will and buying them there instead for much much less! (Make sure all the pieces are there though, or maybe buy some items that will work as replacement pieces while you’re there!)
Vacuum cleaner/broom and dust pan - Believe it or not, dorm rooms get just as dirty as regular bedrooms. If you decided to go with the carpeting option, or your dorm already has carpeting, get yourself a cheap vacuum cleaner to get rid of crumbs! Or if your dorm has tile or wood flooring, a broom and dust pan might be in order!
First-Aid kit - Whether it’s just a couple medical necessities like bandages and pain medication, or a full-blown kit, you’ve got to be prepared for any scrapes and cuts!
Places to go for the best deals:
Target- A super great grocery/retail/everything store that literally has everything you could ever need for great deals! I got the majority of my stuff here, including my super cute comforter for only $20! Also a great spot to hit up for clothes - their summer dresses are to die for.
Walmart - It’s a lot like Target, but even cheaper! You’ll want to get your bare necessities from here. I scored some great 2-packs of microwaveable plates and bowls for $3 each!
Home Goods - It’s a super cute home decor store that sells some pretty great lamps, mirrors, wall hangings, dining-ware and such! If you want to make your dorm look super chic for not so much cash, I definitely recommend this place!
Kohl’s- Kohl’s is a great department store where you can find some great comforter bundles and sheets for good deals! They’ve also got some really good sales on cute clothes!
Bed Bath & Beyond- This is the place to go if you’re looking for those infomercial products. There are some great things here that you wouldn’t even have thought about for college, and huge varieties at that!
Dollar Tree or local equivalent - If you don’t want to spend so much on simple items, there’s literally no better deal you can get. I’d recommend getting your dishware and simple bathroom supplies like nail cutters and combs from here!
Amazon - If you like online shopping, Amazon literally has everything in a variety of prices! If you have Prime (which you can access for a 6-month free trial by signing up with your college e-mail), shipping takes only 1-2 days!
Dormitup- Don’t want to stress yourself out by trying to find the lowest prices on everything and pool it all together? Dormitup! They have four different packages ranging from $99-$299 and they come with everything you need and more! Bedding, towels, storage…you name it, it’s included! There’s also a lot of super awesome side items you can add to the package for great prices! Plus, did I mention free shipping straight to your door in under a week? Beyond amazing, and beyond easy.
Cool DIY decoration ideas to add some life to your dorm room for cheap:
Most dorms do not allow you to paint or put holes in your wall, so it can be a little hard to add some color to the space. Here are some great ideas that I’ve seen! (Some of the projects use nails to hang them – I’d suggest tape or command strips instead unless your dorm room allows you to nail things up.)
Canvas art - Making your own canvas art is a great way to personalize your dorm and keep the color scheme you’ve chosen.
What is the difference between fitted and flat sheets?
The answer is pretty self-explanatory, but even I was confused at first! Fitted sheets are the sheets with the elastic that fit snug around your mattress. Flat sheets are the sheets that hang loosely across the mattress kind of like a blanket! You can usually buy them in package deals with a pillow case for around $20. I’ve been told that the jersey sheets are the most comfortable!
This answer can really vary depending on the dorm room. At my college, we are provided a bed, mattress, trash can, desk, draperies, chair, mini fridge, drawer space, and closet. Some dorm rooms have sinks. Be sure to look on your college’s website and see what they provide before buying your dorm stuff. Most colleges also offer free wi-fi and cable access.
Be smart with the space in your closet! If you’re like me and have a rather large wardrobe, college is going to be a little tricky. There are some neat tricks you can use though so you don’t have to leave an outfit behind! Cool hangers for scarves/belts and pants (or pesky tank tops that won’t stay on their hanger) keep your clothes wrinkle-free and out of the way! Hanging shelves can be really useful for shoes and t-shirts or sweaters! If there’s enough space you can maybe even put in a storage unit with drawers! If your closet has shelves above it, cute bins like these work to store food and laundry stuff.
Use your desk to it’s fullest extent! There are tons of great and inexpensive pencil/office utilities holders out there! Spinning pencil holders make it super easy to reach stuff! If you’ve got some old Mason jars sitting around, those work perfectly too – as well as any other old cups or mugs! You don’t have to spend money to get some great desktop organization! Walmart sells some really cool milk crates for around $3 that you can flip on the side and use to put stuff in so it won’t fall off your desk!
Look for storage in places you wouldn’t think to look! The door is a great source of storage! There are several different hooks and organizers that can hang over the door! Consulting your roommate(s) first, if you have any, figure out which storage works best for you! Whether it’s a coat rack or some more shoe organization! Also, if you save your bread tabs you can write on them and put them on your cords by the plug-in so you can differentiate between devices – this works especially nice for surge protectors!
Other college tips:
Network! This sounds stupid, but it’s true. I know this is already going to be hard enough for me, an introvert with social anxiety, but it is the best bet to getting your dream career in the future. If you know people, you get places in this world. And college is the best time to start these connections! The best way to do this is to join clubs or athletics, or even take classes outside of your major to meet other groups! It can be as easy as just putting up a sign on your door with your name and hanging up a whiteboard for people to leave messages!
Use your career office! When I went to my registration, there was a panel of seniors answering questions and when asked what they would do differently if they could do it all again, they said use the career office more. The career office can do so many beneficial things for you. Set up mock interviews, give you the deets on internships, review your resume, and even post your resume online for select and valid companies to see! You can literally get a job without even applying!
Talk to your advisers! It’s extremely important that you establish a solid relationship with your adviser. They can make college 100x easier for you. Don’t know what to take? Ask them. Don’t know how to do something? Ask them. They’re paid to help you! Also remember, those of you who are undeclared or if you switch your major at any point, to tell them because otherwise you might not graduate with that degree!
Don’t stress about a major/minor! On average, college students change their majors three times. Over 60% of incoming freshmen are undeclared. You are not alone, and you don’t need to worry. Talk to your adviser about which classes you should take if you’re interested in certain careers! Or if you don’t have a clue, try some different intro classes out! If you’re at a university you have four years to graduate, and the average major is between 60 and 80 credits. You have time.
Wait to buy your books! Some professors don’t even use the books assigned. Talk to the professor during the first week to find out which books they will for sure be using. And you don’t need to get hard copies! If you have an Apple product you can buy books through the book store for as cheap as $15! There are also a bunch of sites online that offer free copies of college textbooks! Do some digging before you purchase!
Check out on-campus jobs! Want a job but you don’t have a car or don’t want to pay the gas to drive/take a bus or taxi? Look no further than your own college! There are many different types of jobs on-campus such as: security and working at the book store. Both of which work around your schedule so it’s less hassle and creates less stress for you! (Not to mention that these jobs provide some more networking opportunities!)
Continue to do scholarships! - I myself am extremely lazy and hate doing essays, but it doesn’t hurt you to get free money to start paying off those monstrous loans! As one of the advisers at my college said to me: “If you crank out an essay in an hour and win $500 – you just got paid $500 for an hour’s work.” Check out your college website because they’ll provide information on scholarships available to you!
Take mental breaks! College can be highly stressful at times and it’s important that you step back and take a breath. If you can’t write that essay or attend that class because you’re having an anxiety attack, don’t do it.What’s worse, missing a day of class or missing a week because you didn’t let yourself rest and had a complete breakdown? You know what’s best for you and how much you can handle. Don’t compare yourself to others, take care of yourself. You are highly capable of achieving whatever you want to despite anxiety, depression, stress, etc.
Attend class! Aside from mental health issues,go to class! It’s very tempting to just hit snooze when you don’t have your parents on your back, but you get what you pay for out of college and when you’re looking at those loans in a couple years, you’re going to really wish you had utilized every penny!
Sign up for fun classes! College is a time to explore and really figure out who you are and what your interests are before you’re thrown out into the real world! Take a couple classes outside your major and meet new people!
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL:
Enjoy yourself! College is your time to shine! Most people’s closest friends and best memories as adults are those from college! You are wonderful, you are talented, you are capable, you are a freshman!
Best of luck and I hope these tips helped! See you all up there! (And of course if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to shoot me an ask! My ask box is always open!)
One of the things I would love to bring into the real world from the books would be the magical doors with passwords, like those in the dorms. You wouldn’t need any items to hold nor would anyone could hack through. Only you and/or those you trust can open the door magically.
So a friend gave me their box of poptarts a few days ago and seeing that I don’t like poptarts I was like “wtf do I do with this?” So then I thought, a lot of people like poptarts, why not just leave it out in the halls? I live in a fucking dorm someone always has the munchies. So I put a note on it thinking I was fucking hilarious. Then I saw a bunch of other snacks that I was stuck with. I really hate wasting food so I and got the same idea. So then I walked around every floor and dropped these off at random spots hoping someone would pick them up and eat them.
Things to Remember Before Heading Back to Your Dorm
With holiday breaks coming to a close, tons of you will be moving back into your dorms for your second semester (or first semester) of the academic year! There are a ton of things that you shouldn’t forget, so let’s get started!
Personal Identification & School Necessities This includes Driver’s License, State ID’s, International Visas, Passports, Social Security Card, whatever you may need. I usually keep all of mine (except for the Driver’s License and School ID) inside of the school-provided safe to keep them out of the way of curious eyes.
Don’t forget your dorm room keys, student ID, and hall entry cards (if you use them) as well!
Purse/Wallet Don’t forget your wallet!! And your purse, I’m not sure what you use, but absolutely don’t forget those.
Medications, Health, and Hygiene Don’t forget your medications and vitamins! Grab your prescriptions, vitamins, allergy medications, tylenol, iburprofen, cough drops, etc…
Also don’t forget to run out to the store and buy a box or two of tissues, tooth paste, a new toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deoderant, and whatever else you need. Don’t forget to pack your hair brushes and other hair accessories/essentials as well!
Furniture & Linens Some of you may have brought furniture back from the dorm for the break. Don’t forget to bring these back, unless of course you don’t need them. Furniture I often bring home includes Lamps, shelves, and chairs.
You also will not want to forget your linens. It is absolutely horrible sleeping without blankets on dorm room beds, trust me. Speaking of Linens, also wash all of your towels and bedding before you go back to school! It’ll save you that $2.00/load and be much easier to set yourself up in your dorm room again.
Clothing Wash and fold all of your laundry before heading back to your dorm. I don’t know why, but the day that I get back to campus always seems to be one of the busiest laundry days.
School Supplies Don’t forget to pack all of the folders, notebooks, writing utensils, and anything else that you’ll need for the school year! Don’t forget to order/rent your textbooks either!
If you’re going to be getting them shipped to you, it may be a good idea to get them shipped to your dorm room just in case they arrive later than expected.
Electronics Laptops, Desktops, Chargers, Game Systems, Headphones, Extension Cables, Power Strips, etc… Don’t forget them!
If you use a desktop, don’t forget your monitor, tower, mouse, mouse pad, power cable, keyboard, ethernet cable, vga/dvi/display port/hdmi cables, whatever you use with your desktop. I usually put mine in a small box so I can re-check that I have everything before I leave.
Hobbies Books, knitting needles/yarn/crochet hooks, card games, whatever makes you happy, don’t forget them! I forgot my yarn last year and although I went to buy a crap ton more almost went crazy!
Hey guys, in case you haven’t been following the slugbooks channel, Dorms Season 3 has been out with a few episodes now! Dorms is a series about college life that Spastikchuwawa and I created. The characters may have a few youtuber voices that you recognize! If you’d like to catch up on the previous seasons, watch them HERE. New episodes every Tuesday!
As I begin the last half of Spring Quarter here at college, I realize that college was a big shock. It was a challenge and I have already learned so much.
1. You actually have to study This may seem explanatory but you will quickly learn that you really can’t get by in college with just winging it, as many did, including myself, in high school. You actually need to put the time and effort and sit down and just study. If you put the effort it will reflect in your grades.
2. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real FOMO is a real thing and when it’s a friday night and you have a midterm on Monday but all your friends are going out, it’s really hard to say no. There’s this stigma of having a great college experience, going out all the time, partying every weekend, but in reality you do have to skip a night partying or going out to eat and you will feel lame when you’re watching your friends having fun via social media, but it’ll be worth it when you get the grade you deserve.
3. Getting involved on campus helps you out I’ve made a majority of my friends at college from joining clubs on campus. Once you find a group of people that you click with, it makes the experience so much better. It’s nice knowing that you have different groups of friends that you can count on. Not only does it help you out socially, but it helps out professionally. Joining a club can help with leadership skills, networking skills, and so much more.
4. Leaving the Dorms will be bittersweet I haven’t moved out yet, but just thinking about not living on campus is very bittersweet. While it will be great to move into my own place and experience more freedom, I can’t help the reminisce about the memories the dorms bring and how convenient it is to live on campus.
5. College is something else You will soon learn that college is going to be one of the best experiences of your life. The freedom that it brings, really is a test of pushing yourself to get your moneys worth of this higher education. You will complain all the time but you know it will all be worth it in the end.