It's that time again, where school is just a few weeks away and you're starting your college packing list. Whether you are a first-year freshman or a college veteran it never fails that you either pack way too much for your tiny dorm, or you miss half of the essentials and end up running to the store last minute for things. As a resident assistant and someone who's lived in dorms for three years now, I've compiled a list of packing tips and tricks that you're not going to want to miss!
First things first make sure that you know what type of space you are going to be living in. I highly suggest going to see the dorm you will be living in (or one similar) prior to making your packing list. You want to see if you're going to have your own bathroom or if it is community style. That alone will drastically change what your toiletries look like combine that with finding out how much actual space that you have, you may find yourself cutting that packing list down to a minimum.
After you've determined what kind of living space you'll be in start planning now. If your college is nearby your home and you know you can make trips back and forth I highly suggest not taking all of your clothes at once. Prep for the weather you know you are going to have up till your first major trip home in October or November.
Always keep a few hoodies on hand just in case for those late night food runs that can be a little chilly. Overall though I promise you are not going to need all 12 pairs of fuzzy pajama pants in the first month of school, honestly you probably are only going to break them out after Thanksgiving break.
You are going to want to make a list of all your toiletries and personal items. From computers and chargers to your face scrub and special night cream, I'm telling you to write it down. If you live more than two hours away I can almost guarantee your parents are not going to want to drive back and get that specific lip gloss that you forgot to pack.
To help you I've included a few links to my personal favorite packing lists here.
Now that said don't look at those lists as completely comprehensive or that everything on it must be packed. These are just general outlines for your preparation. You can take away items and add new ones on as you please.
Finally, my last piece of advice for you isn't about packing it is about being true to yourself when it comes to designing your new home away from home. You will be living in your dorm for the next nine months of college, you need to be comfortable. I know so many people who will buy all new sheets and matching pillows and decorations to have a 'cute' room.
At the end of the day though your room is your escape on campus from classes and a place to de-stress. That old teddy bear that you think is too 'little kid' feeling for college is the one that you are going to want three weeks in when you get homesick. That quilt made out of t-shirts that's mismatched and looks like a rainbow exploded on it will be the one you are reaching for on those rainy nights when you are studying at 1 a.m.
Take the items that are going to make you feel at home, I'm not saying move your entire home life into your new humble abode but do take the items that make you feel comfortable. I know that my first night in a new bed with a roommate I had only just met that morning, I became grateful for the stuffed animal sea turtle that my dad had packed in my backpack for me on the way out of the house that morning. I became thankful for all the blankets from home that my mom suggested I bring. For the handmade pillowcases from my grandma and the eucalyptus candle from my family friends.
They made me feel like it was okay to sleep that night and start my first year at college, my first year away from home. Now almost three years later I am still grateful for all of those items and they are always in the first box packed.
Now I'm going to be wishing everyone a good academic year!