July 31, 2023

Packing for College: A Student's Must-Bring-to-Campus List

By Taryn Cook '24

Every college packing list is going to be different. As a student who has lived on campus all four years, and a Resident Assistant, these are what I consider my must-have essentials. And when I say “must-haves”, I quite literally mean, I would turn the car around for any of these. That’s how essential they are to making my room at YCP feel like home.

Bring Your Biggest Fans (and We Don’t Mean Mom and Dad)

The opening weeks of the semester bring the warmest weather that the residence halls will see all year, so packing a fan is a must. I suggest a box fan or a dual window fan to help circulate air from both inside and outside. I’d also recommend bringing a more portable fan that can be placed anywhere in the room. My personal favorite set-up involves having a smaller fan that I can direct wherever necessary while I’m in my room. After my first semester in college, I discovered that I have a hard time going to sleep if I don’t have that small fan blowing air on my face at night. 

Extra Lighting

I highly recommend bringing an additional light source! Having smaller lights can help you avoid disturbing your roommate during late-night study sessions or midnight trips to the bathroom. Extra lights can be anything from a desk lamp to Christmas lights, or even a floor lamp. My alternative lights include a desk lamp and flamingo-shaped Christmas lights! 

Extension Cords

When moving the furniture around, your optimal room set up may mean that the room’s outlets are no longer easy to reach. Bringing a surge-protected power strip or extension cord will make it easier to bring the outlets to you, without compromising your ultimate feng shui.

Area Rugs

There are two things I learned very quickly once I got to campus: I don’t like cold floors and you can only sit at your desk for so long before you need a change in scenery. To combat these issues, I suggest getting an area rug. It will not only keep your feet warm, but it also can give you a comfortable space other than your desk to do homework or hang out with friends. An area rug can also make the room feel cozy and more like home!

Extra Storage

In general, when packing clothes for school, plan accordingly for seasonal weather— but be prepared to put those summer shorts somewhere out-of-the-way once parka season starts. Your out-of-season clothes won’t all fit in the wardrobe, and using breaks to go home and switch out clothing isn’t an option for everyone. My solution is to bring an extra storage tote or plastic dresser! I have one that is full of those clothes and it stays under my bed until I need it.

Sentimentals From Home

Your room is going to be your home throughout the year. It will start off empty and full of potential to be personalized. The best way to start decorating is to bring pictures and knick knacks from home. The posters, pictures, and sentimental items you bring will double as décor and provide a way to fight off homesickness. I always change what I bring from home and make a new gallery wall each year!

Sticky, Tacky, and Everything Adhesive

Now that you have the pictures, the next step is putting them up on the wall. Some adhesives work better than others, depending on your wall and what you want to hang up. I tend to bring all the tools that can adhere: Command strips, mounting putty, and all kinds of tape. If my poster doesn’t want to stick to the wall using one adhesive, then I have back-up options to make it work.

Prepare for the Great Outdoors (or at Least the Campus Quad)

There is one item I recommend packing that isn’t related to your room. The first couple weeks of the school year are perfect for clubs and organizations across campus to take advantage of the nice weather and have events and meetings outside. If you’re like me, and don’t like getting bitten by bugs, then you need to bring bug spray. Not only will you be able to enjoy these activities longer, but you can also enjoy any spur-of-the-moment activities that happen, like picnics or studying or doing homework outside. I know that once good weather hits, I have bug spray in my backpack ready for when I find the perfect spot outside.