Type to search

College Advice

10 Unexpected Things You Should Be Bringing to College

DormEssentials November 23, 2020

Packing can be terrifying. First of all, not even half the stuff you buy will fit your luggage. Second of all, not even one-third of your luggage will fit your tiny dorm room or your car. Third of all, you will rarely be using most of the “essentials” you have bought. Lastly, you’ll regret not buying your actual essentials, but that comes after being embarrassed from multiple borrow requests from roomies and friends. Here are things to consider when packing essentials on how college will be and things you may not have thought of bringing.

How Different is College? 

College isn’t just about sororities and partying. It’s also about hitting the books and reaching out to professors. You become a lot more concerned about your social life, sports, and most importantly, your academics. Then again, college life gives you more choices, independence, and control over your life. Let’s see how college will be treating you. If you want a comparison of how college is different then high school, then make sure to check this post out as well.

Dorm Life: Choices of living are immense mostly ranging between on campus and off campus. Despite your living arrangements, you are most likely to share your room with another person. This means that you get to spend your nights with a total stranger who gradually turns into your best friend. Even if you are not given the choice to choose your roommate, don’t shut them down completely and try to compromise. Create initial ground rules but don’t overdo with a roommate agreement (No thank you, Sheldon!).

Food Habits: When you move out to the more popular colleges and universities, you’re practically squeezed between cafes and bistros. By the first 30 days, it’s expected to have a little tummy showing in the crack between your t-shirt and pants. Then again, if you’re the adventurous kind, you might actually see a flattening line along your stomach. What’s important is that you have to stay healthy and active. Gyms and sports clubs can keep you fit even if food can’t. Try handling cravings by saying no to invitations. 

Time Management: When you were in high school, your schedule was generally structured by others, such as your parents and school so that you can make appropriate use of time. Now that their role has weakened, whether you want to attend class or sleep peacefully in a dumpster behind a bar is up to you. However, frequent cutting classes can result in a trip to the head’s office. Create a realistic schedule that includes time to prepare for coursework and fun activities. 

Adulting: Now that you are on your own, it’s up to you to make difficult life choices. It’s easy to give up to peer pressure and be involved with drinking, drugs, etc. No one will object to your priorities or reprimand you if your behavior isn’t acceptable. You may notice a sudden or gradual disappearance of friends and your partner due to poor life choices. The best method of being an adult is to resist temptations, study hard, manage budget, keep yourself tidy, and possess proper judgement. While being an adult is difficult when you are drowning in coursework, understand situations and try building social support.

Budgeting: Money problems is one of the initial worries of college noobs. Some see a reduced to no pocket money from parents while some seem to blow away their monthly allowance within a week. You can seek out part-time jobs or get involved with the co-op training in your college to become more financially independent, specifically to make ends meet. Financial aid advisors come in handy to help you make good decisions. They guide you to finding solutions such as reducing tuition or seeking financial aid. 

Friendships: The best part about being in college is that you gain so many friends that it’s hard to keep count. People like to expand their network and will want to be friends with anyone they meet. They can be from your dorm, classes, study groups, clubs, volunteer groups, work, and even the cute barista that pours your coffee. There will be times when you’re fixing hangouts with multiple people on the same day. Better not leave anyone hanging.

Student Diversity: When you were in high school, other students were usually from around the city and of the same age. Once you get to college, the diversity of people you will meet is immense. This is because people from around the world may be studying here. Try to keep an open mind with severely low judgement. You will be able to scan friends by understanding their opinions, personality as well as backgrounds. 

10 Unexpected Things You Should Be Bringing to College

1. A Safe

Most of you wouldn’t want to bring a safe to your room. You don’t need to explain to your friends and mates about this necessity. Seniors often speak about roommates who just keep expensive things and deny ever taking them, or friends of friends whose sole purpose of visiting random rooms is to take shiny collectibles. Safes are just one of those facts of reality. If your friends make a big fuss about it, just blame it on your parents. 

Reasons to bring it:

  • You can keep your money safely 
  • You can keep good food that your friends will probably gobble up in minutes
  • Your important documents are protected from harsh weather
  • You can keep anything you want hidden
  • It’s safe (no pun intended)

2. Earplugs and Sleeping Mask:

Do you know how lucky you are that you get to wake up at the sound of the alarm clock of your phone and not the 11 sound options that come from your roommate’s nose? Their constant snoring doesn’t stop for exams, assignments, the 10 minute nap you get before your assessments. Then again, their deviated septum isn’t your only nightmare. Sharing a room with another person means sleeping through their late-night phone conversations, their -ahem activities, or just random dormmates coming whenever to borrow chargers. Earplugs partially block noise, just enough to let you sleep for the night. Even if you can’t sleep, a sleeping mask can at least keep you solid enough to attend classes the next day.

Reasons to bring it:

  • You can finally sleep
  • You can block unnecessary noise
  • You can ignore fellow dorm visitors
  • You can avoid unpleasant conversations 
  • You can pretend to give privacy to your dormmate

3. Bed, Bath, and Beyond Services & Amazon Delivery Services: 

No, this is not a gift from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Whether it is better or worse depends on how you need them. If your college is a long way from home, Bed, Bath and Beyond offers a beneficial service named Pack and Hold. Remember the inventory in Sims? You buy it but hold your product off till you have space for more. Through the Pack and Hold service, you order by placing your name, dorm room address, and the date of shipment and pick it up from your nearest Bed, Bath and Beyond store. This helps travelers going far for college to prevent from having to pack and carry everything. Granted, if you order from Amazon you can always just ship everything directly to or near your dorm! This prevents you from having to pack and drive things across the country, albeit you wont know how good an item is until it arrives. This is the benefit of Bed, bath, and Beyond, since you can check it in person at a local store.

Reasons to bring it:

  • You don’t need to pay for it unless you pick it up
  • You don’t necessarily have to pick it up 
  • The item can be held for as long as you like
  • You don’t have to worry about room space 
  • There is room for second thoughts 

4. Brita Filter:

When you are parched, it’s in your reflexes to turn on the tap for some cool refreshing water. Would you do the same in your dorm room? How comfortable are you to fetch water from the grounds of a building that has been lying there way before the time of your forefathers? You may think that buying bottled water is a great investment, but after the first 10 bottles, you’ll be mad when you realize how much water you drink. A Brita Filter cleans up water and leaves out residue to quench your thirst. The filter costs only around 20 bucks, so you’ll regret that you ever needed to buy water bottles twice a day. 

Reasons to bring it:

  • Clean water without failure 
  • Cheaper long-term than bottled water
  • Easy to place in room
  • Can refill multiple times 
  • Eco-friendly option 

5. Cheap Snacks

A bucket of cheap snacks under your bed is a no-brainer. However, we are talking about extremely cheap snacks. Living in a dorm or anywhere on campus means having friends and acquaintances barging in your room whenever. They are not going to ask you before rummaging your drawers and bags for food. Before you know it, the scrumptious chicken wraps you kept for yourself are torn into bits and devoured in front of you. Create cheap snacks in bulk that will allow you to be happy with mooching friends. Popsicles can be made from freezing juice. Crackers and cereal mixes are available cheap. Gum, candies and sodas can also keep them occupied. 

Reasons to bring it:

  • You can save money, duh!
  • You’ll be able to entertain your network longer
  • Your friends won’t mind mooching off you
  • Nobody will find your secret stash

6. Laptop Backpack 

If you’re about to buy a cute little bag to take to class, you’re making a huge mistake. The number one reason you will need a bag big enough to carry your laptop is because you will need your laptop everywhere. Be it for classes, clubs, internships, or jobs, you will have to work on your laptop 24/7. Can you imagine carrying a device more expensive than all of your inventory combined in your arms and not forgetting to leave it behind at one place.

Reasons to bring it:

  • These are much sturdier than nifty ones
  • The storage space allows you to insert more essentials
  • Certificates and clipboards are never wrinkled
  • Comes in various sizes, styles, and shapes
  • Laptops are protected from scratches

Since you are buying one, choose a functional and durable one with many pockets and strong straps to use for various purposes. Laptop backpacks also have additional padding along with many being available as weather resistant.

7. Comfortable Shoes:

If you are not the kind of shopaholic who has an entire closet just for shoes, you would rather appreciate having a few pairs of shoes that can last throughout the year. While the list goes on from boots and heels to crocs and sneakers, it’s wise to keep a pair that you can wear almost anywhere from campus sites and beaches to cafes and grocery stores. Everyday sneakers that have a combination of suede classic and sneakers have low chances of being party poopers. Your main goal is to relax your feet from all the walking and saving your money.

Reasons to bring it:

  • They cause less strain on your ankles
  • Your feet are protected from sunlight 
  • Your friends won’t want to take your shoes
  • Cushioning helps soles relax
  • More appropriate in formal situations

Whatever you do, it’s not the best idea to buy cheap shoes as they have low cushioning which can provide discomfort and fall apart. You need something that lasts throughout the whole year.

8. Lint Roller

Bet you never thought you could use a lint roller. These babies can pick up more than just lint. You can use them to dust anything, such as dusty lampshades, messy drawers, carpets, window ledges, spaces in between books, car crevices, etc. Party surging in your room out of nowhere? Just grab the lint roller and hit it. These can be especially handy for those who don’t appreciate the occasional cleaning. Sticky lint rollers are much more useful in picking up dirt in comparison to regular ones bought at the dollar store. They are built with more sheets; hence, last longer. 

Reasons to bring it:

  • Offers more than its value
  • Cleans messes in seconds
  • Removes dirt along with lint
  • Small and portable
  • Handy at hiding your true self

9. Flash Drive and Hard Drive

If you think writing papers in high school is tough, you can’t even imagine what you’ll be facing in college. Withholding sleep for days is pretty common since you will have to be writing papers, working on projects and creating presentations before deadline. Since you will be working on several computers on different locations, you can keep your files in a flash drive for immediate use. Hard drives are also a great investment as they can act as back up for files stored in your laptop. Now, these days most files will simply be backed up on the cloud like a google drive. A flash drive as a result is a backup mechanism to use during class presentations when in person. It can also help when printing in the library or a shared printer.

Reasons to bring it:

  • Stores all your files according to memory
  • Can be used without internet
  • No last-minute malfunctions when handing assignments
  • Acts as backup when laptop crashes
  • No need to email files anymore

These gadgets come in portable sizes, so you don’t have to worry about space. Flash drives are also available in cute keychains and necklaces.

10. Surge Protector:

Your apartment may have state-of-the-art electrical facilities but not your college. Whether it’s your classroom, your library or your dorm, your computer is not safe. These buildings are generally over a hundred years old with worn out circuits and wires. If you don’t own a surge protector, you shouldn’t be surprised if all your electronic appliances are burned out by lightning. Any senior in college will tell you that power outrages occur frequently. Plugging your chargers and adapters through surge protectors instead of directly into the wall can save all your electronics from literal impending doom.

Reasons to bring it:

  • Cheaper than replacing your computer



These items are just to help you through your transition. So, don’t forget your essentials. It won’t matter if you were a a introvert with few friends or a popular kid fans used to fight over. College life is different. You get to be a part of the social society that speaks to you. You’re finally on the driver’s seat and now it’s your turn to learn how to press the accelerator and brakes. With decent balance, you’ll learn the basics and adapt. Hopefully, this list will prepare you well for your college life!



Find this content useful? Support us by checking out our other hand curated top 10 lists!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *