Updated: Jul 1, 2021
After driving or flying hours while combating anxiety in anticipation of your first day of campus housing, the last-minute Wal-Mart dash is something to avoid if you can. Excruciatingly long lines of parents not quite ready to say good-bye; propelling shopping carts containing anything from mini-refrigerators to led string lights is what will await you. I will share my dorm room must-haves with the hopes of saving you from more move-in day chaos, especially in the middle of this pandemic. These are my top 18 dorm room essentials:
18. Can Opener
One night I skipped dinner in the cafeteria with the idea to indulge in a can of Chef Boy R Dee Cheese Ravioli. As I studied, mini ravioli shells danced in the back of my mind. When I finally closed my books and reached for my can of cheesy goodness, I realized I had no way of getting it open. After what seemed like hours of knocking on the doors of strangers, I acquired a steak knife. Although unsettling, I didn't ask why Ashley on the first floor kept a steak knife in her dorm room; I had more urgent matters to resolve.
17. Disposable Plastic-ware (Bowls, plates, and cutlery)
.....Utilizing all the resources at my disposal, I freed my captive ravioli only to discover I didn't have anything to heat it in. Queue another round of door knocking.
16. Electric Kettle
My hot water kettle was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I used it more than the microwave and refrigerator combined. This was mainly because I survived my freshman year on ramen noodles, but it's also great for tea and oatmeal.
So I'm not saying college is like a prison, but you may need something to trade at some point. Just kidding, but breakfast bars and fruit cups carried me a long way.
14. Laundry Sorter
I detest doing laundry, and if I don't already own everything created to make the sorting, folding, and washing process more manageable, I'm sure it's sitting in one of my virtual shopping carts. This hamper allowed me to bypass the headache of sorting all my laundry at once.
13. Mattress Pad
My self-diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder would not permit me to lay on my previously used mattress until I had a protective barrier.
12. Ear Plugs
I was lucky because I had a great roommate, but if I didn't get to sleep before she did, it was almost impossible, and forget about trying to study during one of her naps.
11. Umbrella and Rainboots
In the land of Virginia, I found myself submerged in water, sometimes up to my knees on numerous occasions. My first time caught in a rainstorm was spent sloshing from class to class in soggy socks and tennis shoes.
10. First Aid Kit/Antacids/Antidiarrhea/Aspirin
Oh, how Immodium AD and Gas X saved my life after repeat assualts by the cafeteria food.
09. Portable Charger
Cellphones have become life and most of us struggle to keep them charged.
Toting a shower caddy and various toiletries to and from a communal bathroom is much easier in a hands free bathrobe. This, I also discovered the hard way.
I didn't realize how often I used scissors until I didn't have any.
06. Shower Shoes
Not all showers are created equal, and not all persons will consider those who have to shower after them.
05. Pepper Spray
For those 2 am walks from the library during final exams.
04. Formal/Business Attire
During my first week on campus, I was invited to a dinner party with the University President. I did a once-over of my closet and realized I owned more crop tops than blouses. As much as I lived my independent fantasy of wearing what I wanted without my mother's judgemental glare, I still recognized a need to add a business suit or two to my wardrobe.
Imagine thirty 18-year-old women, then imagine them having only one full-length mirror between them.
02. Slippers/Flip flops/Athletic Slides
01. Extension Cord/Surge Protector
The very first thing I realized I didn't have as I unpacked was an extension cord. I somehow managed to arrange a TV, refrigerator, desktop computer, lamp, and various other electronics within my selected 5X10ft space on the complete opposite side of the room that held the only power outlet.
I hope that this list will help you prepare for your first experience of on-campus housing.
Don't Worry. YOU GOT THIS!