Top 5: Practical Items to Bring to College

If you’re headed to college for the first time, one of the most daunting things about the experience is trying to figure out what to bring with you. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or a dorm room, this list should help you put together your “To Pack” list.

5. Comfortable Shoes and Clothes

Having comfortable shoes on a college campus is not just recommended, but vital. Throw style out the window– if you can’t imagine walking 3 miles in those shoes, don’t bring them to college. Sometimes you walk so far to, from, and on campus that even in the most comfortable shoes, your feet are going to hurt, so please, for the sake of your feet, find something with arch support that you can walk in all day.

Comfortable clothes, on the other hand, are going to be determined by your own preferences, but I’d learn a bit about the climate of the college you’re headed to. I’m in south Florida, so I’m not in need of a winter coat except for a week or two in January, but if you’re headed to Michigan, maybe you’ll need that coat a little earlier in the year. Also, if you’re sensitive to temperature changes, you might want to comprise most of your wardrobe from layers. Again, in south Florida, it’s hot hot hot outside for 11 months out of the year, but my office and my classes are almost always floating around 68 degrees, so bringing a cardigan or hoodie might be helpful to you if the switch from 90 degrees to 70 will bother you.

4. A Sensible Bag

Again, this is going to be something that you decide based on your own preferences. I personally prefer a purse-style bag that is large enough to carry a few notebooks and my laptop but that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. Some will want a backpack, others will want a small cross-body bag. Think about the possibility of carrying your laptop or a few notebooks around for several hours and make decisions based on what would be most comfortable for you.

3. The Right Food

This is essential if you’ve never lived on your own and are worried about gaining weight or adopting unhealthy eating habits. My first semester in a dorm was filled with pizza and the occasional salad drenched in dressing. So, not the healthiest choices. If you don’t have a microwave or mini-fridge, it only gets more difficult. The following is a list of healthy, no-microwave-or-mini-fridge-needed foods:

  • Canned or pre-packaged fruits
  • Fruits “in their own packaging” (e.g. bananas, apples, oranges, pears, avocados, etc.)
  • Nuts, seeds, and trail mixes
  • Bread
  • Nut butters
  • Water & packaged juice

This is not a super promising list, and it would be pretty hard to get most of your nutrients with this list, which is why most people that don’t have a mini fridge or microwave happen to have a meal plan. In the dining hall, things can get dangerous. Unlimited pizza, cereal, cookies, ice cream, and fried foods don’t exactly set you up for a healthy meal. However, you’re guaranteed to be able to find at least some healthy options. Usually the healthiest option there is going to be the salad bar, which if you can stay away from too much dressing, you’re probably good. The rule of thumb here is to find as many whole, plant-based foods as you can. You can do it.

2. Wipes

Baby wipes, makeup wipes, sanitizing wipes, etc. The list goes on. Buy every type of wipe you can get your hands on. College is gross and messy and pre-moistened wipes are your friend. Just trust me on this one.

1. A Planner You’ll Actually Use

I KNOW, OKAY? I’m always talking about planners on this blog. Why? Because I’ve seen that shit work. You can go from a disorganized, barely scraping by, and forgetful to put-together, organized, and making great grades in less than a semester just by picking up a planner and keeping track of your life in it. Pick a planner you’ll actually use and you’re starting off college on the right foot.


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