10 College Essentials You Didn’t Know You Need

It’s back to school time, and for those of you returning to your campuses for the second, third and fourth (congrats, seniors!) times around, heading back to school should be a walk in the park for you.

But for those of you newcomers, you have a lot to learn about living in a college dorm room. You’re all pretty smart, so there’s no need to go over the basics. But when I was a college freshman, there were a few things that no one seemed to mention before I left for school. You know, like the fact that freshman dorms tend to be the width of my arm span, or that there would be ZERO privacy with the communal bathrooms and the roommate whose bed is literally an arm’s length away from mine.

Never fear, we’re preparing you all with the college dorm essentials you’ll need:

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  1. Naya says:

    Careful, those MREs are SUPER high in calories! Because they're meant for soldiers who are exerting a lot of energy, they need a lot of calories. So just be wary not to eat too much of it!

    1. Palmyra says:

      There are civilian versions of MREs with lower (not diet) calorie counts.

  2. Deb says:

    Maybe it's just at your school, but at Penn State, the food is generally pretty tasty!

  3. sam says:

    all of these are wrong

  4. […] It’s probably time you start thinking about school. College Candy helps you with your packing list so you can survive your roommates and have fun this […]

  5. Casey says:

    Ear plugs completely solved my insomnia problem in college.

  6. Mike says:

    Becuz my mattress was WW2 vintage, I needed a sheet of plywood to fit under the mattress lest my back give up on me entirely

  7. kay says:

    Don't forget flip-flops for the shower

  8. ANM says:

    most of these are great! I'd forgo the annoying alarm clock though, your roomate will probably appreciate it more than you know…especially since your schedules probably won't be identical and nothing sucks more than being awakened for an 8am class that you aren't even enrolled in!

  9. cmz says:

    I have to say.. some of my best hookups happened on that twin xl bed. You’d be surprised how creative you can get with such little space

  10. Mary Riewer says:

    Warning on MRE's which I got to enjoy courtesy of Hurricane Ike. The are packed with more calories than the average body can absorb which can lead to minor surprise embarassments at the most inopertune times. MKR

  11. gracie says:

    opinions and notes from someone else who's been through this, based on my experience:
    1. yes. i didn't really even need to disinfect that much, but my room got dusty really fast and it was way easier than going all the way to the bathroom and wetting and wringing a paper towel.
    2. it's much more space-efficient to loft your bed and store big bins or even your whole dresser under there.
    3. i just use my phone as my alarm – if I set it to vibrate and keep it under my pillow, it wakes me up without waking my roommate. but if i have something super important in the morning, I'll just turn the volume on and keep it right by my pillow. I like to keep my phone by my bed anyway, so I didn't bother buying a whole new alarm clock.
    4. I guess I was blessed to live in a quieter area of the dorm with a roommate who went to sleep early, but I can imagine this being pretty useful. A sleeping mask too, if your roommate is up cramming and has to keep the light on.
    5. personally, my roommate was (and is) my best friend, and if I had come to school with a curtain like that it would have been kind of alienating. if you all mutually decide later on that you need one, great, but I wouldn't assume that you're going to hate your roommate right away.
    6. agreed, but not necessarily because of snooping roommates, but for a forgetful roommate who doesn't lock the door, or keeping valuables in your room over school breaks, or general peace of mind. my room had a little cabinet with a loop you could put a lock through, which made it super convenient. it's also nice to have for the lockers at the gym!
    7. definitely raid your old dress-up closet, I found myself wishing I had brought the most random things I never would have guessed. But costume parties are also a great excuse to bond with your hallmates by swapping or shopping for clothes, so don't stress if you don't have the perfect day-glo rave outfit or whatever.
    8. my dorm food was actually pretty good, and I never got stomach problems from it. it is a good idea to bring a basic medical kit with stuff like this in it though, so you won't have to trek off to student health or the drugstore if you're sick in bed.
    9. you'll obviously need bedding, but don't be so sure you won't hook up here. let's just say make sure your bedding is easily washable.
    10. obviously you'll get tired of dining hall food, but I usually went for frozen dinners/easy mac/ramen/takeout when I couldn't take it anymore. this stuff looks a little…excessive.

    and some things i would add: a husband pillow for reading in bed (and turning a bed against a wall into an impromptu couch), and several surge protectors/power strips – you will have many more electronic devices than you initially anticipate.

  12. guest says:

    Here are some more recommendations, courtesy of NextGen Journal http://nextgenjournal.com/2011/08/frantic-freshme

  13. Chelsey says:

    #2 – might want to wait until you see your dorm first, the one I moved into didn't have any space under the bed (but did have built-in drawers).

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