10 College Essentials For The First-Generation Student
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Student Life

10 College Essentials For The First-Generation Student

I have officially survived college for 3 weeks and it's all thanks to these 10 things.

Woman laughing while standing beside Gatorade bottles.
Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

As the oldest in my family, I didn't get a bunch of tips from any older siblings or friends so I was really on my own. But I have survived almost a month in college thanks to these 10 things that I truly cannot live without!

Brita water filter

Brita water filter.

A Brita is a game changer.


Let's be real: college water is nasty. You truly need a Brita unless if you want to drink grey water which no one does. And it is a really cheap ($20). It also will fit in your mini fridge in your dorm room!

Mattress topper

Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper.

A mattress topper is the key to getting a good nights sleep in college.


I'm not going to lie, I was a little lenient to spend my money on a mattress topper. I ended up getting mine on Amazon and let met tell you it was worth every penny. Whenever someone comes in my room and sits on my bed one of the first things they mention is how comfortable it is.

Drying rack

Clothes drying on a drying rack.

Especially if you are a girl and have clothes that do not go in the dryer a drying rack is the way to go.

Photo by Joes Valentine on Unsplash

My roommate found the greatest foldable drying rack that she keeps under her bed and pulls out every week when we do laundry and it has been amazing. College dryers are not very forgiving with clothes so if you have anything that you don't want to shrink I highly recommend investing in a good drying rack that you and your roommate(s) can share.

Reusable water bottle

blue and red sports bottle on green grass near body of water during daytime

Hydro flasks are the best water bottles!

Photo by Shrey Gupta on Unsplash

I will say this once and only once you need a Hydro Flask. They are truly the best reusable water bottles that can keep anything cold or hot for multiple days. They also come with a lifetime guarantee.


turned-on white desk fan

Desk fans are life savers.

Photo by Toshi Kuji on Unsplash

Since I live in an un-airconditioned room a fan is a must. I have a box fan and a personal desk fan and they are the only things that get me trough the gross summer heat.



AirPods are so important to have in a zoom dominated


I was a little uneasy to spend a large amount of money on some headphones but they have been so worth it. I use them every single day for at least 5 hours. I have gotten my money out of them and have only had them for 3 months. Also, Apple has a deal where if you buy a Mac you get AirPods for free so make it happen!

Restaurant gift cards

Olive Garden restaurant gift card

Gift cards are truly getting me through the disgusting dining hall food.

Olive Garden Restaurant Gift Card, 1/2015, by Mike Mozart … | Flickr

Having restaurant gift cards is so important. The dining hall food is already horrible and now with Covid causing things to be shut down and have less choices you get tired of eating gross food fast. So, having some gift cards or extra cash to treat yourself to some good food is really nice.

Chair cushion

gray and white throw pillow on black leather armchair

A seat cushion makes sitting in a chair for a long time bearable.

Photo by Juan Burgos on Unsplash

With the amount of time you will be sitting in your dorm room chair a seat cushion is truly a necessity. And, you can find them pretty cheap anywhere.


Purple bathrobe.

Also something I never thought I would rely so much on: a bathrobe


A bathrobe is one of my must haves. I would die without this. I wear it every night to and from the communal showers and it saves me from accidentally dropping clothes or flashing someone. It is truly a life changer. Once you have one you can never go back.

ALL of the snacks


Sometimes you just need some candy.


Never underestimate the power of a good snack. It can be healthy or not. And it makes you feel good!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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