Packing for college is a mind-racking process - especially if it's your first year since you are probably unsure of what is really needed. The best way to conquer this process is by making lists or have a list that is separated into categories.
One thing any freshman must remember is that you will more than likely have a roommate. Dorms equal small and shared space, so the bare necessities for daily survival is top priority.
The best way to organize this is by splitting the list into categories such as bed, desk and bathroom. Check with the school to see if they extra long beds or regular size beds. Bedding sets are easy and more cost effective. Decorative pillows are not a necessity. Other things such as alarm clocks, bed-side lamps and extra blankets fall into this category. At least one extra blanket is always helpful, especially in the winter.
The bathroom will be an interesting experience. Rather than having a bathroom you will share with your family or even one of your own, you will instead have a community bathroom. Depending on the location, four people or 30 people could share this bathroom. The bathroom might only be cleaned once a day or week by janitors.
Either way, three of the biggest things you'll need for the community bathroom include: a shower caddy, flip flops or some type of shower shoes and a robe or really big towels. A shower caddy is very important, especially if you have to commute to the shower down the hall. It holds everything you need for the trip.
If the residents are lucky, the showers are cleaned daily, but there are still dozens of other feet and bodies that are using those same showers. The shower shoes help with the grossness of this.
Finally, a robe or very large towel make trips to the shower easier. Whether you are getting dressed or undressed in the shower stall, it is not the easiest or most comfortable thing, especially when your clothes get wet.
And lastly, there's the matter of your desk.
Walking into college, everyone has this high expectation for him or herself, that he or she will study at a desk, when they are not in the library of course, and will not study on the floor or in the bed. Everybody walking into college, whether it is the first year or last year, has had this expectation. In the end, the bed is the most comfortable place to read or to fall asleep in, only to wake up hours later with all of your study materials on the floor and highlighter stains on your sheets.
When it comes to your desk and all things related, be practical. Will you have a notebook or binder for every class or just one big one? These are things you will decide after the first week of class. Also, realize that you will use your desk as a table - and by table, I mean you will eat meals there. It will become a catch all.
One final thing - when it comes to books, it is cheaper to get the ISBN number off the school's website or to call the bookstore and ask for it, rather than buying them at the bookstore.
Even though your first time packing to go away for college can be overwhelming, it doesn't have to be as complicated as that calculus class you signed up for.
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.