Packing for college can at points feel more stressful than all of high school. You never feel like you’ll have everything, and then you get shaken to your core when you see someone is lightyears ahead of you, and has seemingly cleared out Bed Bath & Beyond. I’m a professional college student, so I can say from years of experience, here are a few things you do and DON’T need to cram into your SUV.

What you DO need:

1. A mini-fridge.

As essential as essential gets, even if it’s just to keep your Natty Lights cold. Upgrade your lifestyle by getting one with a separate freezer.

2. A coffeemaker.

Fun fact: a bag of coffee costs just as much as a Venti drink at Starbucks.

Consider college the beginning of a love affair with caffeine.

3. A laptop.


And for what it’s worth, look into a Mac. My campus is very Mac friendly, and you really can’t beat the processing power, lack of viruses and ease of use. If you are crossing over from a PC, it might take you a month or so to get used to it, but with the new Windows format, you’ll be glad you switched.

4. An external hard drive.

See yourself taking a graphic design class? Dare you say you are a photography major? Adobe files and raw images take up more space than you can imagine — and having your computer crash the night before a final will actually make all of your hair fall out in stressful heaps. Also, they all look the same, so write your name on it, for the love of the divine.

5. A professional outfit.

A professional outfit. Freshman year, they might let you slide, but come sophomore year, many teachers will be expecting professional dress for presentations. Personally, I only have one truly formal look I affectionately refer to as a my “presentation outfit.” Keep it simple, as you don’t want your clothes to compete with your project, so neutrals are a go, bright pink J. Crew pixie pants are not, however cute or however discounted you got them for. Also, flats before heels. TRUST.

Honorable mention: A blazer — it just turns you into an instant power player.

6. Something that reminds you of home.

Like your favorite books, favorite mug or favorite pieces of jewelry. If you are like me, I brought my pillowcase from home and used it for a few nights to get adjusted. It wildly clashed with my Urban Outfitters chic aesthetic considering it was pink polka dots, but it still smelled like home (weird? -- no shame) and is one of the softest things I’ve ever encountered. To this day I still have it in my top drawer, and even though it gets forgotten 98 percent of the time, it still makes me smile when I’m digging for a pair of socks.

Honorable mention: I brought my kitty, Benjamin!

What you don't need:

1. Every knickknack you've collected over your nearly two decades of life.

Like a glow necklace from prom or your entire DVD collection. I know you want it to seem like home, but don’t overdo it. There will be brand-new things to collect, however tacky they may be, like cups from your local pizza joint or every single bottle of Barefoot Moscato you’ve ever consumed to be displayed on a windowsill. And trust me, the further you are from home, the more it will pain you to have to schlep all of it home, or at least to a $40 storage unit. So moral of the story is to pack wisely, and in the long run, you won’t even remember what you miss.


2. A printer.

A printer. Sure, it might be convenient, but most schools provide printer money and will print at a much higher quality.

3. A TV.

My laptop has been my TV for my entire college experience, and if you really wanna watch live TV, nearly every dorm has a common area with a flatscreen for your viewing pleasure.


4. Your high school spirit wear.

Sure it’s comfortable, and it sure it’s charged with memories, but so is college. Trust me when I tell you that nothing makes an upperclassman’s eyes roll faster than when they see a senior sweatshirt or a team T-shirt with your nickname “T-Money” on the back. Keep a few pieces for running errands, chillin’, and workout clothes...nothing more.