What you don't need at college

13 Things To Leave At Home This Semester

My guide of what not to bring to school with you this year.

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Freshman year is scary and exciting in every way imaginable, and the same goes for packing and planning your new dorm. The first year is probably the year you overpack the most. Although this list might not save you, hopefully, it limits how much you bring.

1. DVDs

With all the different streaming services (and student discounts) available, there's really no need for these. I personally brought a bunch but took them home after the first semester. If there's a couple you want to bring go ahead, but limit it to 2 or 3.

2. High School Memorabilia

Okay, I'm not saying "don't bring anything" because it was a very recent and big time of your life. For instance, bring some pictures of your friends and family, but don't go overboard, just your favorites. However, you don't need to bring your senior day posters, diploma, graduation cap, and yearbook. Trust me you don't want to be known as the kids who peaked in high school.

Personally, I brought a couple pictures and a (very comfortable) softball sweatshirt. You're going to share stories from home, but nobody's going to know those people or places so it's not the same. Also, you'll be making so many new memories anyways.

3. Books

These are definitely something you can bring…but be REALISTIC. You have to know yourself. After you've done a ton of reading for classes and are exhausted, are you going to read a book?

Also, don't pull a "me" and leave the book you never finished on top of your dresser under your bed when you move out. (The book happened to be the one I asked for and got for Christmas…oops.)

4. Every T-shirt and Sweatshirt You Own

When it comes to clothes in college, you have to be realistic. There's a limited amount of space in your dorm, so if there are things you can leave at home you should.

First is the t-shirts, you're going to get a ton more at school. Also sweatshirts, you don't really need that many. They're bulky and take up space, so maybe limit it to your favorite two. Again you'll probably get a couple more at school anyways.

5. A Ton of Blankets

I brought two of my favorite throw blankets, but one stayed in my closet all year. The heating is on high all year (well, when it's cold at least) and my bedding with one extra blanket was fine enough for me. The other one just took up a bunch of space.

6. Knick Knacks/Desk Decorations

I'm all for the wall decorations. Honestly, bring as many as you can fit, but try to keep the decorations on the wall. Once you see the limited amount of space you have you'll understand. However, you might have room for one or two other things.

I had a picture holder in the shape of the letter A, a Syracuse orange stress ball and a little 'Cuse craft I made at camp on the shelf on my desk. I did collect a few other things over the course of the year, but the wall is where most of my decorations (posters, canvases, a calendar, pictures, etc.) were.

7. Nail Polish

As someone who tends to feel naked without a coat of nail polish on, this is hard to admit. Trust me, I'm not saying don't bring any, I'm saying don't bring as much as me. I brought about 20 bottles (and had just as much if not more at home) but used maybe half of them…and only occasionally.

For me, I found I was either too busy to paint them, too lazy to wait for them to dry, or would just forget. Also, there might have been some FOMO making skip the painting if I'm being honest. This year I'm limiting it to my favorite polishes only.

8. Clothes You're Never Going to Wear

Let's face it, if you haven't worn them in forever you're not going to start now.

9. Big Pieces of Furniture

The school is going to provide you with pretty much everything you need. Everything from the bed to the desk chair and a fridge (depending on your school) is already going to be there.

The only thing I brought with me was an ottoman, for more storage and seating, and a rolling cart with drawers, again for storage and to act as a bedside table. Most schools list online what is included in the dorm rooms, so make sure you do your research.

10. Kitchen Appliances

There's going to be cafes and coffee shops all around campus and beverages available in the dining hall, but the convenience of a coffee maker is a personal choice (or one you make with your roommate). Anyways, most dorms aren't going to allow things like waffle makers, mini grills, kettles etc. It's probably smarter to leave them at home, than risk an RA confiscating them. Again make sure to do your research because some schools provide certain things.

11. A Printer

Sure it might be convenient, but is it convenient enough to have to replace the ink and be the person everyone comes to when they need something printed? If you bring one, trust me your friends will find out and want to use it. Also not every home printer can print double-sided and who wants to waste paper?

12. A Full Length Mirror

Most dorms already have one and let's be honest where are you gonna put the second one? But again this is why it's important to figure out what the school provides.

13. An Oil Diffuser

This is something that you need to check with your roommate on first. Scented oils can really affect people differently, so it's safer to check than waste your money bringing one. Not to mention, depending on how strong it is, you need to keep it away from your dorm's fire alarm since those alarms tend to be extra sensitive.

I know I sound like a broken record, but when packing everything for college the main thing to remember is to be REALISTIC. You have a very limited amount of space and your year will be much better if you use the space efficiently. This list is a good place to start, but make sure you do research specific to your school and dorm for the most accurate information.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs / Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out RedBubble for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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College Made Me Feel Like I Can't Have Free Time

Every second that I do have free, I feel like I need to be working on some type of homework.

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There's no doubt that college is taxing on most student's mental health. You get to the point where you feel stressed about even breathing. I have hit the point where I feel like I'm permanently affected by the stress that I've dealt with this semester.

I used to have so much free time. Even in my other semesters, I had time to hang out with my friends, work, and even be lazy when I wanted to be.

I was still a good student, I got all my assignments done on time and I worked hard on them, but I never really had an overwhelming workload.

That is, until this semester. I got to a point where work was overwhelming, I was working longer hours than I was used to, and having to spend every second that I wasn't in class or at work doing homework, whether it was just lengthy math problems or writing multiple essays or scripts.

After months of being in this habit, when my workload from both work and school died down and I actually had free time, I didn't know what to do with myself.

When my friends were busy and I just wanted a relaxing day at home, since I felt like I deserved it, I would try to just lay down and rest, either reading a good book or catching up on all the shows that my stress had caused me to miss.

But there was always a voice in the back of my head reminding me of every upcoming assignment. I would start thinking about the essay due the next week, or a test that I could be studying for ahead of time.

That voice kept telling me I was being unproductive and wasting my time if I wasn't getting ahead on school work when I finally had the time.

And so I'm still in a position, at the end of the semester, where I feel like I'm wasting my time every time I lay down and just want to take a nap because I'm exhausted from running between work and school. I'm trying to fight myself and tell myself that I am allowed to be lazy for at least a little bit, and I don't need to be constantly working.

Hopefully, that voice wins over, especially with summer coming up. With all of the free time, I'll have since I won't have to stress about school, hopefully, I'll be able to better balance my busy days with my lazy days.

I know this is probably an issue for many college students who are overwhelmed with everything that they have to do. Hopefully, summer break is a nice break for all of us and it gives us the chance to get the free time that we all deserve for surviving this semester, and the school year overall.

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