I started out thinking I would write the generic “Top 10 Things to Bring to College!” post. It’s the start of my back-to-school series (woot woot!) and what better way to start then with a list? But once I asked my Facebook friends for their suggestions, it turned into so much more than just a list (and so much better).
The things my friends found as “must-haves” ranged from bed sheets and towels to a Time Turner and blankets for floor naps. From my friend Danielle:
Never underestimate the power of a comfy chair (or futon if you’re blessed with space), especially for those introverts among us who enjoy studying in our rooms but not necessarily enduring the cold, hard reality of a desk chair for hours on end. Other than that, I would have to say I’m inordinately fond of my hanging closet shoe rack. It only takes up a little bit of precious closet space but can be used to organize all kinds of small non-shoe items.
And my friend Lydia:
A tiny but well stocked first aid kit and a tiny travel sewing kit! You might be surprised how many disasters can be saved by some band-aids or thread.
Then there’s Grace, whose comments just can’t go unrecognized:
I also always bring my SpUnKy personality and good looks.
As I laughed along or nodded in agreement, I realized how much stuff I use at college the lists online never prepared me for. So I compiled a list of all the Facebook suggestions, more or less in my friends’ own words. The items in bold were suggested more than once, and therefore are the best stuff on the block. ;)
But enough of my blabbering! Without further ado, here is the unconventional college packing list:
The summer before your freshman year can feel like a strange lull. No one really wants you as an intern, and without a year of college under your belt or a high school job, no one wants to take you on for three months. So, I’ve complied a few ideas to help make your summer exciting when you can’t work or aren’t working:
- First off, don’t do what I did. I sat around my house all summer, doing absolutely nothing until it came time to buy all the stuff and make all the lists before moving to my new home. I watched a lot of TV, read a lot of books, and did a lot of sitting. There was absolutely no character building, life skill making, or college preparing happening. Okay, yes, part of this is because I was in denial that I was moving away from home in August. But a large part was pure laziness. I look back at that summer and think, “what a waste.”
- So, set goals for yourself. Maybe this is when you’ll learn to cook. Or master decorating skills for your future dorm room. Maybe you’ll learn to garden. Perhaps you’ll even start a blog (that’s totally not what’s happening here… ;))! Whatever it is, you’ll feel better about the end of your summer if you’ve learned something new or have improved a skill.
- There’s also the age-old option of creating your own job. Be it lawn mowing, babysitting, car-washing, house painting, or dog walking, you can earn a little bonus cash before school. While this was never my thing, being the introverted person I am, I know a few classmates who went this route before heading to school. It’s a good way to get some cash so that you can go into college ahead.
- Volunteer! There’s a place for every passion, and very few places will turn down free labor. A quick Google search will show you what’s available near where you live, and show you the kind of change you could make. This is typically pretty flexible too, so you would be able to hang out with your friends whenever you wanted and still have an activity.
- Speaking of high school friends, for goodness sake hang out with them. No matter what everyone says, things will not be the same when you come back from college. Of course there are exceptions, but things will be different once you all move away (not necessarily bad, but different). Even friends who go to the same college can end up meeting new friends and forming different lives. This is the time to live up the relationships you have now, and treasure them. You’re about to embark on a crazy adventure, and having a support system the first few months, before you really get to know your new classmates, makes the transition much easier.
I hope these ideas help the incoming freshmen out there! What are you doing this summer? What are your suggestions that I didn’t mention here? Let me know in the comments :)