It seems like nearly all the high schools are wrapping up their graduation ceremonies, which means Ball State’s new class is officially done with high school and ready for college! Yay! My friends back at home have informed me that Ball State’s freshman orientation has officially started, too. Double Yay!
I spent my summer before college working and planning. My favorite thing to plan? What should I bring to school??? If you’re reading this and wondering the same thing, have no fears. It’s easier than you think.
I brought a lot of stuff with me to college on my first day. No, really—A LOT. We actually rented a small U-Hall to help. We have an SUV. So. . . yeah. Some might call my over-packing a mistake. At the time I would have called it being prepared. Now I call it a learning experience. Did I really need all my stuff? No, not really. Was I frequently comforted by familiar things in an unfamiliar environment? Yes, absolutely. So, rather than tell you to take a minimalist approach for this one, I offer more comprehensive advice.
1. DO remember the
necessities. You can forget
everything else, but remember these things:
a. Prescription medications w/
the prescription (for refills)
c. Basic toolbox (with hammer,
d. An umbrella (Really, bring one. It rains a lot.)
e. Anything else you use every
day that you can’t buy in the store
Have those in your bag? Good. Now as for toiletries, you might be surprised to learn that Muncie has a Walmart, Target, Meijer, and several other stores well equipped to supply you with many things. So,
2. To make the first
few days easier but still have room in the car for more interesting possessions,
pack. . .
a. a toothbrush
b. enough shampoo/conditioner/lotion/toothpaste
to last for two weeks (I find the airport 3 oz. bottles work nicely for this)
Why for only two weeks? That’s about how much time you’ll need to get settled in and learn how to take the bus to Walmart to buy bigger bottles. Also, you end up saving some room in your luggage, which is all too nice when what you’re really interested to pack are...
3. Things that feel
familiar to you. . .
a. Bring a picture of your
family and/or people who are important to you
b. At least one item from your
bed at home (pillow, blanket, etc.)
c. At least one decorative
item from your room (lamp, candle, photo, etc)
These are the things you’ll find yourself staring at during the first semester, partly because you’ll miss them and partly because they’ll bring back happy memories. Try to stick to just a few items though, because. . .
4. Bring something
This could be a new bedspread, sheet set (most residence halls have twin extra-long mattresses. . . normal twin won’t fit!!!), pillow, blanket, art. . . really whatever you want. The idea is you’re moving to a new place, and while you’ll want to feel
at home (which is why you’re bringing stuff from your old room), you’ll also
want to give your new place an identity of its own. Having a roommate helps this since you’ll have to mesh your and his/her things together, but it’s nice to have something new for yourself.
The rest is up to you, but here are my suggestions:
5. On clothes: bring all your fall clothes that you’d
normally wear, plus two summer and two winter outfits. Over fall or Thanksgiving break, switch your
fall clothes for winter clothes, leaving two fall outfits. Bring one formal outfit and a towel. Recap:
a. Fall wardrobe (including
light jacket and shoes)
b. Two summer outfits
c. Two winter outfits
d. One formal outfit
6. Things you might not normally think of:
a. Shower shoes/flip-flops to
protect your feet
b. Shower caddy to haul your
c. Bathrobe to walk around in (knee
length is good b/c it will keep you covered but won’t drag on the floor and get gross or wet)
7. On bedding: As already mentioned, beds are twin extra
long—make sure your bottom sheet fits! I recommend two pairs of sheets simply because it’s easier to have a clean bed while one is being washed. Remember—your bed will also be your couch, homework space, lounge space, and social space. Making it comfortable is important. I found a *great* deal at Bed, Bath, & Beyond on a down mattress topper—I bought it for around $20. It’s my favorite thing I brought to
school. Seriously. My absolute favorite thing. My bed was/is heaven. Talk to your roommate about temperature—do they like it warm or hot in the room?
Let that conversation help you decide how many blankets you need. Recap:
a. Twin Extra Long sheet set
b. Comfort-related items
(pillows, toppers, comforters. . . decide what you need and go for it, but you definitely don’t need all of it for a great bed.)
c. One or two blankets
8. On shared items: Most roommates coordinate who’s bringing
certain “big” things. Try to be sure one of you is bringing these items:
(something to sit on that’s not your bed; this aids in making friends since people have a place to chill in your room.)
9. Still have space? How about some luxury items:
a. Small bookshelf (I’m an avid reader) with favorite books
b. Marker board (for the door... we use them a lot to communicate for some reason)
c. Musical instruments
(guitar, harmonica, flute. . . whatever gives you a thrill)
d. Rugs (sometimes you can get
these after you arrive for REALLY cheap)
e. A floor or hanging lamp;
most rooms have florescent lights. It’s
like being in a fish bowl. Give yourself
the calming effects of incandescent. I
had a cheap Chinese paper lantern hanging from my bed, which was lofted. Actually, I still use that lantern.
10. Things to get AFTER
you arrive and unpack
a. Shampoo, conditioner, etc.
c. The little things you forgot or didn’t know you’d need or saw in someone else’s room and coveted
d. School supplies
e. Curtain with rod/hanging mechanism; once you get settled in you’ll know if it’s possible to section off a private space with a curtain. It’s
easiest in Johnson Complex because of Z-shaped rooms, but any bunked bed can become private. Remember: you can’t hang
anything from the ceiling!
11. And my final
tip? If you’re not sure if you should
bring something, pack it. You can
always take it back over fall break if you don’t need it, and if you did need
it, well, then you have it. :) Remember, you'll be living here for the majority of the year (nearly 10 months of the year!), so make it your home.