17 Things Your College Packing List Won't Mention

17 Things Your College Packing List Won't Mention

Think of these as life hacks for easing your college experience.

You've gotten your acceptance letter to college. It's exciting! Congrats! You're probably already dreaming about what it'll be like, who you'll meet, and most importantly, what you're going to need. Which is where I'm coming in.

Chances are your college will send you some kind of packing list to give you an idea of what main things to bring. But what they won't list is the small things that will make your experience that much smoother.

1. Sneakers

Vans and Converse are great, but you're going to want a pair of athletic sneakers. With all the walking you're going to be doing around (and off) campus, your feet will thank you for the proper support.

2. Lanyard

These are super handy for keeping your keys and student ID on you. It's also harder to leave your keys and ID in your room when they're attached to something brightly colored/patterned.

3. Headphones

College gets loud. You will always need a functioning pair of headphones or earbuds. And pack a backup just in case your main pair breaks or is lost. (Life happens.)

4. Extra sheets and towels

You're not going to be able to wash these very often, so it's advisable to bring extras.

5. Water bottle

It's easier to have a reusable water bottle than plastic ones (and it's better for the environment!).

6. Snacks

These are necessary for those midnight munchies, study snacks, social hangs, and whenever you don't feel like leaving your dorm to get food.

7. Brita filter

This is more preference than necessity, but I've heard other college students sing praises of having a Brita filter.

8. Plastic drawers

These are so helpful in keeping your things together and are great space savers. They also make moving easier. Check out these wheeled drawers from Target!

9. Throw blanket

Be sure to bring a cozy blanket with you. It'll be great for cold days and make those Netflix binge sessions (read: avoiding homework) feel amazing. I have a similar blanket to this Amazon one, and it's the snuggliest thing ever.

10. Extension cord

With all the things you're going to need plugged in, and a limited amount of outlets, this will be insanely helpful.

11. Shower caddy

Hit up your local Target because unless you're in a suite, it's communal bathrooms for you, and you can't leave your shower things there like at home. Also: be sure to wash this every so often to get rid of buildup and avoid mold.

12. Shower shoes

Communal bathrooms can get pretty gross. You'll thank me for this one.

13. Entertainment

Bring a few books and movies with you. A break from Netflix will eventually be necessary, as shocking as that sounds.

14. First aid kit and medications

Make sure to bring some Ibuprofen, cold medicine, and Band-Aids. Save any trips to the health center for more serious needs.

15. A long charger cord

While an extension cord should help with this problem, it can't hurt to have a longer charger cord just in case. (Plus it's a good backup if your usual charger breaks.)

16. Keurig/coffee maker

Some colleges don't allow these in student rooms, so find out beforehand. This, like the Brita filter, isn't necessary, but it is handy if you live off coffee. And as a college student, that's going to happen.

17. Printer

I cannot stress this one enough. Even in our digital age, many professors prefer things to be handed in physically. And with all the classes you're going to take, and all the assignments, there's going to be a lot of printing. Most campuses have printers around, but charge per page. Make the investment and get a printer that will last you long beyond college.

Cover Image Credit: Deb Greengold

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

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A Open Letter To Everyone

Be the positive change, even if it's anonymous.


Dear Whoever,

I know that you don't know who I am, nor do I know who you are. That being said, it is by complete chance that you are reading my letter. I want to let you know right here, that everything I say to you I mean wholeheartedly.

I want you to know that you are worth it! You are more than worth it and that you should never give up on your dreams. Dreams are what keep us alive and keep us inspired to push on through the hard days. I know how tough it can become to keep going, believe me I know. But I want you to push on through. I hope all is well with you currently, but if not, it will get better. I know that sometimes hope is all we have carrying us, but hope will win. I know things will get better, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will not make it through.

I mean it when I tell you that I believe in you. I truly do believe in you and everything that you can accomplish. I want to offer you some advice: Let go of the past. Yes, the past is beneficial for us to learn from, but it is not the present. Learn from the past, look towards the future, but always remember to live in the present. I know it is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but trust me, you are not alone.

Also, more advice from me to you is to make amends. If anyone has wronged you, make amends. If the wrongs cannot be righted, then forgive and move on. You will be happier in the end. Reconnect with old friends and mend any broken family. I know this time of year can be a burden to some. I know that I used to dread this time of year. But, take it from one who has let far too many people go and let too many times slip through his fingers. Seize the moment and be happy!

I now challenge you to write your own letter, may it be just one or a couple. Address it as I have or as "Dear Friend," and write something nice and positive. It can be handwritten or typed, and then fold it up and leave it somewhere for someone new to find. Challenge them to do the same, and so on and so forth. Be the positive change that we all so desperately need. I believe in you!

All the best,


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