If you're anything like I was towards the end of my senior year and during the summer before I went off to college, you're obsessively reading articles like "30 Things I Wish I'd Known My Freshman Year" or "10 Things You Need to Pack For College", which is likely what led you to this article. As someone who obsessively read such articles (confession: even as a current first-year in college, I still do), I'm pretty familiar with the so-called all-encompassing college packing lists that you're probably poring over on Pinterest in order to guide your strained trips to Bed Bath and Beyond and Target. As someone who manages to simultaneously over and under pack for almost everywhere I go, I've learned since I've become accustomed to dorm life and I have my own additions to those lists. And while many articles claim the items that grace their lists are unconventional, I assure you I'm one of the few people I know who thought to bring the following items.
1. A hot glue gun
You may not be as into crafting as I am, but a hot glue gun is super multipurpose and practically essential to have at college. Use it for quick repairs, craft projects, clothing malfunctions, or decorating needs. I used mine to make fun felt banners (http://theodysseyonline.com/hollins-university/diy...) and pipe-cleaner crowns (http://theodysseyonline.com/hollins-university/cra...)!
2. Birthday supplies
The idea of spending your birthday away from home may scare you, but trust me when i tell you that birthdays in college are the BEST. My friends and I have surprised each other with birthday weekends full of karaoke nights, homemade music videos, ice skating, outdoors brunches, traditional slumber parties (complete with truth or dare), and so much more. Even if you don't go all out, being equipped with basic birthday supplies like candles, a boxed cake mix (I'm pretty sure Betty Crocker makes a just-add-water microwavable version), gift wrap, cards, etc. you can throw a great dorm-room birthday party without pooling limited cash for supplies and trying to find a way to the store.
One of the most important lessons my mother and grandmother taught me is to always write thank you notes. having a stock of them on hand in college (and stamps and envelopes) makes you look like you've got your shit together (even if you don't) and appear more ~adult~. Send them post-job interview, to professors who write you recommendations, or to generous gifts of care packages.
You don't necessarily need to invest in a giant speaker system, but there are plenty of suer cheap and super small speakers that can be plugged into a phone or laptop to step up your impromptu dance party game by a good couple of decibels.
I'm going to tell you something you probably already have been warned about: colleges are a cesspool and germs spread faster than in a preschool. Getting sick often is a reality and its much less easy to make up material you've missed in class than it is in high school. You can not only prevent sickness but also treat it with a good arsenal of vitamins. Something like Emergen-C or Airborne is a life saver when you sense a cold coming on. I also take zinc and vitamin B complex to boost my immune system. Vitamin D is great for your skin and helps lift your mood!
6. Sleeping bag
Okay so this might be one of the few items on this list that I've actually seen on a few others. However, when I was reading those lists I definitely underestimated the use I would get out of a sleeping bag. They're perfect for impromptu sleepovers down the hall, visits to other colleges, or camping trips. I never expected that all of those occasions would happen to me super frequently.
7. Electric kettle
Even though theres a kitchen on each floor of my dorm building, walking to it to use the microwave to heat up water for my tea or ramen can seem like a Herculean task when you're sick, bogged down with homework, or just plain lazy. An electric kettle to heat hot water in minutes is the perfect solution to that problem.
8. Business attire
Even if you never needed to own business attire in high school and don't anticipate needing to in college, do yourself a favor and invest in a versatile professional outfit like a blazer, a button-up, and slacks or a pencil skirt. You never know when a job interview or Model United Nations conference will pop up that you're interested in!
You probably are familiar with pedialite as being for babies but may not know how much yourself, a quasi-adult, could benefit from it as well. Pedilite helps to restore necessary nutrients which makes it excellent to have on hand for cold and flue season. Or, ya know, hangovers.
10. Business cards
One thing college is full of is networking opportunities. Whether its a networking fair, a spontaneous encounter with an alum with your dream job, or a particularly inspiring guest speaker, having a business card to hand out helps to make you seem impressive and memorable.
As the college kid stereotype suggests, you're likely to consume a whole lot of ramen during your college career, and potentially post-grad. Despite the practically millions of flavors available for our favorite convenience food, you can get really tired of eating them really quick. Having an arsenal of various spices is the perfect solution to that problem. Spices are cheap, last forever, and don't take up much space so they make for a perfect addition to your packing list. Since ramen is pretty versatile, almost anything goes. I like to add lemon pepper, curry powder, cayenne pepper, or Goya's Adobo seasoning to mine.
Did I leave anything out? What are your college packing essentials?