practical college packing list

All Of The Things You DON'T Actually Need To Bring To College Because You CAN Live Without It

Packing for college can be stressful, and the thousands of online lists mentioning hundreds of items "you cannot live without" are equally overwhelming.

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When packing for your freshman year of college, it's hard to not overpack. You don't really know what to expect, and therefore, bring everything you could ever possibly need. And a lot of that stuff is going to come home with you in May, completely untouched. Following my freshman year of college, I have compiled a list of items I brought with me, but NEVER USED.

1. Extra Set of Sheets

In theory, a second pair of sheets is a good idea. But you're most likely never going to actually need them. Washing your sheets takes a little over an hour so it's completely feasible to do that in-between waking up and going to bed. We're big kids now. We can do this.

2. Decorative Pillows

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The Golden Rule to being happy in your dorm: effectiveness > aesthetics. Decorative pillows take up space. Every night, you're going to throw your decorative pillows on the floor and every morning, you're not going to want to take the time to make your bed. While decorative pillows are cute and all, there are other ways to spruce up your bed. Put fun pillow cases on practical pillows! It has the same exact effect and they are a lot more useful. Plus, for having no purpose, decorative pillows are extremely expensive.

3. Alarm Clock

Hi. It's 2018. You have a phone. And your phone has an alarm clock. Your bed is most likely going to be lofted, meaning your alarm clock is going to be out of reach, meaning it's going to go off super early in the morning and you're not going to want to turn it off, meaning your roommate is going to be extremely upset. Not worth the hassle. Plus, they take up space, which there isn't a lot of.

4. Picture Frames

Desk space is SCARCE. DO NOT WASTE IT ON PICTURE FRAMES. It's so much easier to just put unframed pictures on the wall. Plus, you can have a lot of fun arranging them in creative ways!

5. Curtains & Curtain Rod

Chances are, your dorm will have blinds. So unless you want a blackout curtain, bringing curtains is flat out useless. Another popular use for curtains is using them for your closet. Many dorms don't have real closets and instead just have an open alcove area. Putting a curtain in front of that area is just another hinderance in a tight space. You'll be using your closet AT LEAST once a day (about twenty times a day if you're like me) and the curtain just gets annoying. Plus, not having a curtain forces you to keep your closet clean and organized.

6. Hole Punch & Stapler

Once again, desk space is SCARCE. These big bulky items take too much space considering the amount of times you'll actually use them. If you don't have a printer in your room, these are two items you'll never really need. And chances are, when you print something in the library or wherever, these items won't be far.

7. Iron & Ironing Board

If you actually thought you were going to pull out an ironing board before class, you must be trippin. However, presentable looking clothes is necessary for presentations, conferences, chapter, interviews, etc. So I have a much more practical, time efficient, easier solution…..

The Holy Grail of dorm living……

INVEST IN A STEAMER. You can buy them for $20 in all types of fun colors. I used this baby every. day. It takes less than a minute and the steamer itself takes up very little space. Because of its size, it's extremely portable and can get thrown in a bag when going on overnight conferences and trips. If you plan on wearing clothes other than norts and tee shirts, buy one.

Packing for college can be a challenging task, but don't let that lead you to pack everything and the kitchen sink. Dorms are tight spaces and having extremely cluttered rooms filled with things you don't ever use WILL bring unwanted stress and troubles. A general rule for packing: if you don't use it EVERY SINGLE DAY at home, you're NEVER going to use it at college.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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