Starting college can be a very exciting, yet terrifying upcoming experience! Often times, this includes getting out of your parents house and moving away from your hometown. You're also searching for friends who could possibly make the perfect room and suite-mates. Searching through Google and Pinterest for all the must-haves and must DIY's for your dorm room, and then spending multiple days and multiple shopping trips at Wal-Mart and Target for all your supplies and dorm room essentials.

Sounds exciting right? Trust me it is! But, it can also be stressful and even mortifying.

To keep your freak out on the down low, here is a handy dandy list of essentials that will be helpful for your few weeks prior to college:

1. Get connected.

Do what us teenagers do best and utilize social media! Most universities and schools have a way to get connected online. A majority have Facebook groups for incoming freshmen. This can be very useful when trying to meet new people before even stepping foot onto campus for your orientations. This is how I found my first roommate!

2. Pin Pin Pin.

Pinterest can be extremely useful for college. I cannot stress this enough. I have multiple boards just for college! This site can be helpful when you are trying to think of how you want to decorate your dorm room. There are also numerous tips about what you should and should not buy when shopping for your first year of college. It even contains tips for your classes and school work!

3. Don't go overboard.

Although those rooms look absolutely amazing online, it doesn't mean you can realistically get your dorm room to look the same. Often, dorm rooms are not as big as they appear in pictures online and your roommate may not happen to have the same exact style as you. However, do not stress. It is still possible to have a fantastic "dream" dorm room. Also, don't forget you will have to pack everything up. A helpful tip is to buy all of your essentials and items that you are using for storage (such as bins and drawers) and then buy whatever else at the town's closest store!

4. Deals! Hello, we are "broke college students!"

Look out for sales! They begin appearing closer to when your first semester begins! Compare prices at numerous stores and also keep a look out for your desired designs of comforters and what not before buying on impulse. Sometimes waiting for a deal is better, but also make sure not to wait until last minute.

5. Books are really that expensive?!

Sadly, yes. However, it is not necessary to buy books directly from your school, nor is it necessary to buy them brand new! There are numerous ways to get your outrageous textbooks for much cheaper. Two popular ways are the websites Chegg and Amazon. I personally utilize Amazon. You simply go to your school's website, look up the books you are required to have, then search them on the website. Then, depending on price, you can decide to buy them (used or new) or rent them for the amount of time you need! It is a very easy process to rent and return, too!

6. Get involved!

Your school will continuously say these two words, but it is absolutely correct! Getting involved — no matter whether it is a sport, club, Greek life — whatever you choose is a necessity to making the most out of your college experience. Pick a path or two and get involved. You will meet many great people and it will make your time at college far more exciting!

7. I have to clean that?

Unfortunately, yes...you do have to clean the shower AND the toilet. Yuck, I know. Not saying everyone never touched a toilet with cleaning supplies until college, but it is something in life that has to be done. So start now! It sounds gross, but using a friend's disgusting toilet is much worse! Grab that scrubby and keep your distance from those germs!! Walking into a nasty bathroom is like on Daddy Day Care whenever the boy had terrible aim. Don't let your friend's walk into your nasty bathroom.

8. Mattress pads are a savior!

A bed is one thing that you do not have to invest in while living in a dorm. However, the provided ones are not the most comfortable mattress you will lay on.. Therefore, a mattress pad is a great investment! Honestly, I had two on my bed last year after experiencing back aches and now I sleep like a baby.

9. Speak up!

Even if you are shy or more of a quiet person, do not be afraid to ask! Faculty and upperclassmen expect freshman to ask questions. All freshman are nervous and are never sure what to do and where to go. Never be afraid to ask about anything from what is the best food to eat on campus to where your classroom is!

10. Try something new.

College is full of new experiences and new people! Now is the perfect time to start fresh. Hardly anyone knows who you are! So get out there and try something that you never thought you would before.

11. Enjoy yourself!

Don't be scared! There are many others who are going through the same thing as you! Now is a great opportunity to truly enjoy yourself and make new friends. Make the best out of this experience. You got this!


Put yourself out there and be yourself! College seems scary, but if you do your research, get prepared, have an open mind and simply have fun, college will be a great experience for you. Good luck!